Appreciating Relativeness

I’m often annoyed by many things.  My pet peeves include anal retentive people, bad breath, #nobigdeal, and the list goes on.  Today though I’m going to focus on people’s tendency to say things or like things when in comparison it’s hard to really understand unless you walked in that person’s shoes.  I know, that last sentence was confusing, so let me explain.

Now I don’t know if it’s just me, but my mom is one of those people that often tells me how I should appreciate what I have because many other people in the world are living below poverty, are born with incurable diseases or physical disabilities, and just basically don’t have the spending power that I tend to abuse.  An easy example is pointing out to the people in Africa as their economy and technology isn’t as developed as compared to other developed countries.  As much as I can see her point, (and she grew up differently than I did so that makes her have a different perspective) the thing is it’s an unfair standard for me to measure up against because we live in different ways.  It’s like comparing the speed of an airplane to a car, the standards to measure these two cannot be compared directly just because they are both modes of transportation.  For example, I grew up with affluent kids.  My problems include how to be cool, how to get good grades, and how to look good.  Yes I have first world problems, but this is my life and these problems are what is concerning me right now.  In unfortunate parts of the world, their problems may be how to get food, how to stay warm, how to get money, and in fact how to stay out of war or violence going on in the territory.  I’m not saying that I’m just going what the fuck to these problems, I know it’s tough for these people and I am genuinely wishing the best for them, and in fact I’ve donated to charities to help these people, but to say that I shouldn’t spend so much because other people don’t even have the luxury for 1 US dollar to spend per day isn’t a justifiable comparison.  My basic standards of living are met and as humans, nothing will satisfy us; we will always have some problems to solve or some wants to be met, and in my affluent background and first world problems, what concerns me most at the current moment is how do I attract the girl I like or how I could persuade my parents to buy me a better car.  It’s hard for me to understand what it’s like to be in famine, poor, and in desperation when in all likelihood the probability of something like that happening to my life all of a sudden is low and the fact that I’m not experiencing right now makes me unable to ‘feel’ what it’s like to be poor.  I can appreciate, but that’s all I can do.  Instead, you could tell me someone who is in the same affluent background who has a better car than me did so by working her way to get the money and that I shouldn’t rely on my parents’ money, I think that makes a much better argument and a better comparison.

So what really ticks me off sometimes is that people laud for the riches and the celebrities for modestly spending.  I mean I’m happy for those modest spenders as well.  But it seems that some people applaud them because they spend the minimum; I don’t think that really is the right attitude here.  What I’m happy for those people is that they spend according to their means.  If you’re rich and you can buy lamborghinis without being bankrupt and don’t act all showy off about it then by all means I’m happy for you, life’s too short not to have some fun anyway.  Again the point of emphasis here is relativeness; we should be appreciating someone for spending below their means, not because someone is famous or rich and spending very little.


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