Welcome to Small Talk. This weekly column will provide opinionated pieces on every lifestyle topic imaginable, with particular emphasis on those that are trending now. I do my research, provide the facts, and give my opinion – you decide the rest.
How do we know what is trending now? What should the phrase mean to us? These are questions I have been asked many times; this week I am attempting to answer them and give you a sense of what future posts will be like.
Put simply, I believe that what is trending now is anything that we often find ourselves thinking about or obsessing over, consciously or subconsciously. It is the image we try to fit, and it is the mold into which we try to form ourselves. It is the life that we believe we are supposed to live. What is trending now for you may not necessarily be what is trending now for me — everyone is different. This is what makes the human race beautiful. We all come from differing backgrounds that share differing beliefs. We have different goals, dreams, and passions, but we also experience the same emotions and strive for the same happiness. This simple fact is our greatest strength, but also our greatest weakness. We are the same on a subconscious level, now separated by time and technology, and thus distanced from that truth. We are evolutionarily programmed to follow each other’s example, but what if we are all living the wrong way?
Deep down, everyone knows they want to follow their dreams and passions. We want to experience happiness through doing what we love. These dreams and passions are inherently good things. Unfortunately, I think many people have fallen into a trap set by our capitalist society. This trap goes by many names, the most common of which is greed. We are forced to follow a certain formula to “succeed” in life by those who profit from it. We go to school, get jobs, pay our taxes, and die. We buy into the artificial, material happiness that is bought with money, and in the process we forget what we love and what we should value the most: each other. It becomes a difficult task to distinguish between what we want to believe, and what we are told to believe, especially when everyone buys into the same system. What choice do we have but to get jobs and make money so that we may live comfortable and happy lives? Is this anything better than modern day slavery, justified by the fact that we are paid? The average person is more concerned with money, looks, and power than they are with anything else, and I am guilty of it just as much as the next man. I would love a $100,000 car. I love to go out and get new clothes. I would love to win the lottery. The problem with these things is that no matter how much we get, we always want more. But no matter how much stuff we obtain, no matter how much wealth we accumulate, we will never be able to buy what we are truly searching for: happiness.
No one is perfect. I do not want to pretend like I am above anyone, or that my ideas are the solution to all of the world’s problems, but I challenge you to ask yourself this simple question: when is the last time you thought for yourself? When you really start to look inside, you may realize that there is more engrained within your subconscious than you could have imagined — how to live, what to want, who to like. We cannot change society by running away from it, but we can have an impact by continuing to show people what is wrong. It is likely that there will always be a government and a media and an economy, at least in our lifetime. Choosing not to participate won’t change anything, because an overwhelming majority of people will continue to buy into this system. Choosing to find ways around conventional methods, choosing to open people’s eyes, and choosing to change people’s perspectives is the only way that we can collectively move forward in a manner that is not detrimental to the very things that make us human.
I urge you to find ways to play the game in order to change the game. If you don’t like the way the government or media is being run, then run for office yourself, or make others aware of inefficiencies. Spread knowledge instead of apathy. Participate in organizations that make the world a better place, and spread awareness and love in your daily lives. Stop placing so much value in what life is “supposed” to look like. Stop placing so much value in material possessions, and stop spending so much of your short life worrying about whether or not you are living the “right” way. Do what you love to do, do what feels right, love one another, and decide what is “trending now” for yourself.
There are no simple answers, but it is my hope that posts such as these will spark the same interest and deliberation in others. Specific topics are coming. Until then, take care –