Saturday, April 25, 2009

Happy Little Life

The truth of it is, I don't want to travel to Europe or have great and fantastic adventures. Right now, I am happy to have my little house, with my little family, my little people, and a whole bunch of love. Sure, I wouldn't turn down tickets to say, Hawaii, or say, Las Vegas, but I won't be auditioning for The Amazing Race soon. Or ever. I do see what is happening in the rest of the world; war, violence, abject poverty, starvation, famine, genocide, sickness, the list goes on. It is because I see what goes on that I want to just have my happy little life. I definitely don't have my head buried in the sand.

Well, ok, let me beat you to it and call myself on my bullsh*t. Like most of the First World, if it's not happening right in front of me, then it doesn't affect my life. You start to think about what is happening in other less fortunate countries, and the problem seems so immense that where do you even start? There is only so much money a person in this economy (and boy are we feeling this downturn) can give to charity. Who has time for letter writing to politicians with three little kids? Would I give up my time to spearhead an effort to enhance awareness? Selfishly, I wouldn't. I think most everyone is aware of the problems, for example, in Third World Africa, but very few people are doing anything about it. I give those people all my respect.

Even focusing closer to home, in Canada, doesn't change anything. Did you know that there are Native reservations that are comparable to Third World living conditions? Or the percentage of homeless people who are mentally ill is on the rise, due to the shut down of facilities for the mentally ill and the lack of public housing? Old folks starving to death because they can't afford to eat. I am not rushing out to raise the hue and cry. Why? Because it's not right in front of me. Or maybe it is, and I have the blinders on. I also think it's easier to say, 'It's the government's responsiblity to take care of it's people.' Which is true. We all pay taxes for roads and buildings and social safety nets designed to protect the most vulnerable of our population. Why does so much fall through the cracks? Not enough money, not enough social workers, not enough advocates, not enough time, not enough 'everything'.

I don't know if I'm way off base here, but it seems to me (based on what my mother told me) that years ago neighbors took care of each other. Someone checked on the old lady down the street once in a while, or watched a neighbor's kids in an emergency. Undoubtedly, said Good Samaritans immediately burned up the phone lines once they got back home to gossip about how that old lady's daughter never visited (tsk tsk) or the mother of those kids was a terrible housekeeper (for shame!). Kind of like a little social safety net. Of course, this doesn't even touch on the other stuff I mentioned; reservations and mentally ill folk. I think perhaps those are the government's responsiblities, but they must be kept at the forefront by the people. But not this person, apparently.

I am SO LUCKY to have this happy little life that I ought to pay it forward (karma-wise) somehow. No, I don't have time for petitioning, letter writing, picketing, organizing a protest, volunteering, advocating, etc. What do I have time for?


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