Thanksgiving is over and I have to say, this was probably one of my favorite ones that I’ve had in years. Why? Because there was no fuss. My little family ate baked spaghetti and watched a movie – nice and simple. And that made me wonder, how many “stressful” holidays do we over-complicate and therefore end up dreading? In fact, how much of life do we end up over-complicating and thus dreading?
I was fortunate enough to have grown up when stores would shut down on Sunday. Later, they were open for just a few hours, with everything closing by 6. Though I know it had religious backing, it really did become a day of rest and of family, a day to slow down.
One of my favorite things about certain holidays, or a heavy snow day, is that everything stops. Stores shut down, life slows down, and things become quiet, allowing one to reconnect with both themselves and others with no pressure of daily demands.
Humans are not robots. We are not designed to go non-stop 24/7. Even machines cannot do this. They have to be shut-down periodically for updates, they overheat, parts wear out, and they freeze up. If machines do this, why on earth would society think humans will not?
I heard a statistic this week that there had been some 600 incidents of mass shootings in the US alone. 600. That’s astounding! And yet, too many in the country still cry out for their right to “bear arms.” I wonder, if those that feels so vehemently about having their guns would be willing to go up to a grieving mother of a 5-year-old who was murdered in school and tell them that their right to carry a gun is more important than their child’s life?
The guns are out there, you aren’t getting those back. But perhaps there are other ways to decrease the statistics. Maybe control the gun powder. We have ways to limit controlled substances, why not use a similar system to limit bullets? Drug overdose is bad, but typically, only one person is dying from that act, not 10 at a time. And yet, we have all these legal hoops and regulations to monitor controlled substances and so little with gun control.
But beyond new laws, perhaps we need to look at what is happening in society that is causing the mass shootings. As stated, we are not robots.
Though holiday breaks are wonderful, is one day a few times a year really enough? I am fortunate enough to be at a place where Thanksgiving was a two day holiday and thus allowed me a four day weekend, but it wasn’t always like that. I’ve even worked Christmas evening before simply so people can shot the next day without traces of Christmas decorations being present! So with the one day (if a person is given that) people are typically cooking, cleaning, and running from house to house to cram in valuable visits with as many people as they can before the day ends. Then the next day, they’re back at work. How was that a day to recharge your batteries?
If country wide, we went back to being closed on Sundays, people could reconnect with the family that, overall, we have become estranged with due to busy lives and crazy work schedules. People could rest, clean, do whatever they want knowing that all of society is paused for one day a week, allowing a true decompression from life. This is the big difference between days off and societal closures – nothing is encroaching on your recharge day unless you invite it.
So where am I going with all of this? I mean I’ve talked about Thanksgiving, robots, guns, and Blue Light laws after all. Well, anyone who has read a few of my pieces or talked to me, knows I ramble, but there is usually a point to the madness. Just stay with me.
We have over-complicated our lives, our society, by wanting immediate results. We want instant gratification and on-demand access because we lost the attention span to wait. The very hectic life we resent is a result of what we created. However, the age of materialism is passing – partly due to economic changes, some due to a desire for better quality of life – and with it, hopefully, not only will people slow down, but society will too. We are breaking. The mass shootings, homelessness, suicides, and drug use is a sign that humans are getting worn out, needing a re-charge, needing a disc cleanup. We can’t keep doing what we’re doing, it’s simply not working anymore – you don’t have to take my word for that, just look at the headlines.
We can’t change the world, but we can change ourselves, and if enough people do that, maybe in time global changes will result.
We can protect ourselves from breaking down by not over-complicating our life, keep it simple. How much “stuff” do we really need and does that instant gratification really last? How big of a house is necessary to provide happiness? How many cars, televisions, and other “toys” are needed to help you escape?
As we prepare to start a new year, I plan to make a list of what is necessary or wanted in my life. If something isn’t helping me achieve my goals, it needs to be removed. We do this with computers all the time, removing programs, and old, unnecessary files in order to allow our computers to operate at their fullest capacity. If we do this for electronics, shouldn’t we do this for ourselves?
The 10 Most Important Things to Simplify in Your Life