My life is, in all truth, just another one. I’m no more or less important than anyone on the planet, except that I stand below those who, historically, have made admirable social progress toward the betterment of humankind.
I’m totally ordinary. That word is overused these days, because everyone who has an iPhone or a computer has “realized” how ordinary they are, but are pretending still to be extra-ordinary and are reaching for something more. There’s a lot of exploration into what seems very basic, such as learning how to feed a family in a visually appealing way, with a spice of humor and a dash of day-to-day troubles tossed onto a very lengthy photo-filled food blog, or carefully curating an idealized world of whimsy within Tumblr or Instagram. In a few years, we’ll look back on all this self-discovery manifested through social media and think how far we’ve come. We’ll have surpassed the me-centric attitudes and have zeroed back into reality: the rest of the world is still hurting and it will not matter how many exceptional recipes we’d discovered or what ambitious, Etsy-qualified trades our friends picked up.
I’m not complaining. I enjoy supporting my friends and family members who are making beautiful goods or sharing with me perfectly framed, creatively filtered pictures that cause me to sigh in pleasure. I dream of doing something for myself that will make me believe I have as much purpose as I assume they must think about themselves. But, looking at the these pretty things alongside everything else in the world I live in, I am disgusted by the general consumerism that causes me to doubt the meaning of having any career unless it saves lives – regardless of my desire to tell stories and capture beautiful things. I hear news about 44,000 people living in the county of Los Angeles – in tents. Or, the 1 in 4 children who are “food insecure” in the same region. And I imagine that the mass of aesthetic pursuits are going to fade away into something else.
No one ever said that living comfortably is a bad thing. I just wonder how long it’s going to last for those who are lucky enough to have it now.
Being ordinary, unfortunately bored with my lifestyle, and curious – while I have this pessimistic mindset – about what my future will be, I’m going to spend the next few days reflecting back on my childhood. As they say, write what you know. I really only know my own life.