First things first. I’m not quite sure what I’m gonna be reflecting on just yet. But here’s one thing I can guarantee; by the time I finish writing this article, I would have put some substance around the topic. Also it’s 2pm in Dublin and I’ve had a glass or two of cheap wine. It is quite cold out here today, so I figured I’ll have some red wine instead of a coffee or hot chocolate. Just like every responsible adult who has got their shit together should.
It’s Christmas season again – that time of the year when we gather around with our loved ones and celebrate the symbolic birth of Christ. … Yeah Right. I will not preach what I don’t practise. Anyone truly honest with themselves knows that Christmas is only time of the year where you’re actively looking to get fat without anyone judging you.
I gain 2-3 kilos every Christmas season and lose that weight as soon as January and the bills come through. Every fucking time :D. This year, just like the others, I am looking forward to receiving the same presents I get every year. It is part of the fun. But may lightning kindly strike down anyone who gets me a pair of socks this year.
Anyway, for the sake of a shorter article, I will talk about two things:
I live in Dublin and though it is not particularly cold this year, I am still dumbstruck at the number of people sleeping rough in the streets during this Christmas season. Locals. A few have died out there in the cold with no one to help them. Stuff like this always has me thinking about a lot of things, especially our capacity as humans to show compassion, and our even greater capacity to suppress that compassion. I am speaking for myself because I am guilty. I have seen a lot of people in dire situations and chosen to ignore and walk by. This is not due to a sense of superiority. Subconsciously, I have convinced myself that I cannot save everyone. I also try to justify not helping someone sleeping rough on the streets through any number of means.
I would think to myself, ‘Well I can help her with a couch to stay for the night, a warm cup of coffee or a euro or two – as I have done often. It may be a relief for them now. Some may even consider it an act of kindness. But how much does that really help in changing their situation for the better? What happens after the money is spent? What happens when that comfort of a night’s sleeping space is over?’ Many a time, I think about the proverbial ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’
So I ask myself if my ‘help’ is really worth shit if I don’t try to get that person off the streets permanently. Even sometimes, I think to myself, ‘Well, I’m a foreign national in this country. And that has never stopped me from overcoming hurdles that may prevent me from affording my most basic needs. What’s your excuse?’. But after spending time talking to more people in the last two years, I realised that you never truly know people’s circumstances until you have a heart to heart conversation with them.
We shouldn’t seek self gratification when helping others. But when I impact someone in a positive way that helps them make progress, be it directly or indirectly, I cannot help but feel a tinge of satisfaction within myself. Despite the fact that I do not consider myself successful yet and still on the journey to where I really want to be in life, I always understand that there are people out there with faaaar bigger problems than my own.
That is why I am always grateful for the little I have, and the life I am currently living. My definition of success is simple; Pure Happiness. Finding lasting love (which I haven’t really been doing to be honest :D), being self-sufficient, financially stable, able to travel the world and affording the same for my loved ones is my definition of happiness.
Our impact on the lives of others might be insignificant. But should that really stop me as a human being from helping a brother or sister in need? I don’t think so. I never seek out to change the world, because chances are the world might just change me. It’s fucked. But I believe a simple act like helping a neighbour, one at a time, can make a difference. No matter how small.
Modern Society & Technology.
We are all living in a time when prices and the costs of living are extremely high. I don’t want to get into the Economics of inflation. But some of the biggest financial problems faced by young people in developed countries today include transport, housing, and bloody education. Yet, wages are not inflating nearly enough to meet those price increases. Most people work just so they can pay their bills. And then repeat that same process every single month. No room for savings, no room to afford or enjoy the simple things that make us happy. Simply because we cannot afford them.
Usually, older people would say, ‘ You young people have it so much easier. Because back in our days, we had it much harder.’ But in real terms right now, that is factually not true, as each euro earned today affords much less than it did 20 or 30 years ago. We also have leaps in technology such as the Internet and WiFi that make inter-connection easier. Easy and quick digital connection makes this big blue planet seem like a small village. But let’s be honest, most of us use our phones to do everything else but connect with one another. A lot of other factors such as increasing political correctness, travel restrictions, the increasing threat of terrorism and vast amounts of media misinformation can account for why I’ve come across a lot of people in modern society that I consider insensible and ignorant.
I’m no genius, but I appreciate a bit of sensibility and common sense. We are living in the most advanced time in human history, yet it bothers me that there are more smart phones out there than smart people.
Previously, as long as you were nice to me, I was nice to you. It was that simple. Now, being just nice is not enough for me. Being nice and also sensible is where it’s at. Because I’ve come across a lot of nice people that just happen to say some very ignorant things… consistently. It kills me to think that less people read these days or that the desire to learn new things is lost. I’m especially guilty as well because I know how much time I’ve spent on Youtube and social media doing nothing. Yet these same platforms have ridiculous amounts of educational and self-improvement content readily available for FREE. I claim I have no time to connect with most of my loved ones but I conveniently have time to check on the latest memes at 4am. (Let’s be honest, memes are awesome :D).
Okay. I think I need to stop here or I’ll just keep on lamenting about a lot of social issues without providing any real solutions. The Hypocrisy :D. Besides I also need to prepare for work.
But despite everything, let us all try to connect with more people over this Christmas season. Old contacts as well as new ones and wish them a very merry Christmas. I wish you all a very lovely Xmas and a prosperous new year. Keep aiming for greater heights, and let no one tell you that you cannot attain true happiness. Love your neighbour, but love the person in the mirror even more.