Bucket List, Kindness and Love

What has happened to the world?

Cyber bullying people into death has become an acceptable way of being for hate mongers who troll pages of suicided teens who felt they had no way out, no one in the world left to talk to despite the great connectivity electronically which I refer to as “the greatest divide.”

Road rage and huffing puffing folks in line ups are rapidly rising while bucket list brags are proliferating so it is as though anyone who does not travel anywhere exotic or does not own anything worth kajillions is also worth nothing.  Is it any wonder people are becoming so irritable? What could we possibly do to discount human existence more than what we are already doing?

Only yesterday, I asked amid a group of women I was gathered with to learn more about managing my challenges in life, “Why are we always talking about kindness and paying it forward? I am so sick of these over-used terms. When I was a kid, kindness was the norm. No discussion required. If a neighbour needed something, you responded. If you needed something, a neighbour responded.  We didn’t have to talk about kindness and keep reminding the world what it was.”

This led me to thinking about those darn Christmas Brag Letters and Bucket lists. Big shiny happy photos all over Facebook can often leave one feeling as though the very realities they must endure are wrong and they are therefore, wrong for having to endure/survive their real life challenges. Why are we allowing this? Where has all the love and support gone.  Can we not find another term other than bucket list? Such as “my dream?” Not everyone has the same dreams.

For some, eating today will be a dream come true.

For others, a warm place to sleep tonight will be a dream realized.

For those fighting illness, physical or mental challenges, getting through another day is a gift.

For those who know they are leaving this world soon, another minute with a loved one is a gift.

Why does road rage and daily rudness not only exist but multiply daily in a world where we all KNOW better since the age of five. Okay, maybe not all of us know better. But once we know better, we can do better.

Or so one would hope.

Jails are bursting at the seams,  the mental health facilities are closing daily and funding for human assistance is constantly being cut. Is it any wonder humans are losing their ability to be humane? If it’s okay for governments, funders, etc to deny those who most need help, then it must be okay for the rest of us to ignore the homeless woman who was chucked out of a mental facility and begs us for some change because she hasn’t the mental capacity to take care of herself and there is no longer a safe place for her to live because there is not money enough for housing in an assistance check let alone for a month’s groceries. If she knows enough to apply for assistance or is connected to an advocacy group that might help her do so.

Personally, I want us to reach a point in the world where we can ban cyber bullying and even school ground “guards.” Yes, they do have them, I nearly applied once but my then husband feared I would get physically hurt, and truth told, so was I but I wanted to try to teach kids how to make peace between themselves instead of joining the wave of angst ridden misdirected hatreds that seems so easy to ride. Until, because of it, someone has again died.

Even then, some find it necessary to spew their misdirected hatreds out as if this is an acceptable behavioral mode for any human being. Or toward any other human being. It is so not.

There is only one thing I know to do to achieve the world I long to know again.

Ghandi said it best: “Be the change you want to see.”

Therefore, you will never hear me say the words bucket list in reference to my own latest indulgence, nor will you ever hear me say pay it forward. Nor will I ever require mentioning the word kindness.

In my Christmas news, I once mentioned menopause and a cousin said, “only you would write about that in a Christmas news letter.” I took it as a compliment.

As I did when my mom told me I am eccentric.  So glad I am.  At least I am not a mean spirited, cyber-bullying, unkind, bucket list focused, pay it forward nasty type of eccentric. But that’s not eccentric anyway. That is just downright mean.

What this leads me to wondering is how did we get this way and how do those people feel inside?

Getting this way seems to be the result of what many dubbed the great WWW (world wide internet) where “being connected” was the marketing phrase. Oh sure. We are all so connected now. We go “lmao” on Facebook and don’t even phone anyone anymore. We accept seeing photos and remarks on Facebook as sufficient social interaction because we can no longer be bothered to drive ten minutes as we did two years ago to see them. We pick up calls on cell phones while already engaged in conversation with another human being. We cannot go anywhere without the cell phone attached.

Recently I was looking for a pay phone and guess what.  Couldn’t find one. Gave up and drove home.

Recently because I fell asleep talking to someone on the cell phone, I thought I bundled it up in my bedding and washed it. At first I panicked.

Then I became calm, even grateful and laughed. So what. I can live without it for a while. Then, when I found it on the floor later, I was both relieved and saddened.  Shit, I thought, I’m still tied to this thing.

Oh well.  I know one thing for sure. I am going to be much more selective about what I do on this thing.

I will never have to discuss kindness because I am just going to be the change I want to see.

Wherever I see bullying, I will speak up, speak out and speak against it. I will not engage in further communication to escalate the exchange, merely say my peace and move on.

I may even do a Christmas newsletter on one of my blog sites this year and you can all rest assured it will have nothing of the years achievements, exotic destination locales or my latest material acquisitions.

Of course, this is partially due to the fact that I haven’t achieved a lot lately. Wait. Today may be the day…

But then I haven’t travelled outside Canada or the US either so it won’t have any travel journaling either. Wait. I do travel. All over the humanitarian globe and back. Almost daily. But I don’t need to tell you about that. It’s just what I think and try to contribute to.

It is a sad statement in my opinion, that society contributes to the million dollar industry of gossip and reality tv shows while missing out on their very own minutes.  This reflection of social psychology gives me cause for great concern about where our values are going. Wait. Where we are LETTING them go.

Me?

I am neither letting go of my values nor being sold any by others. I just want everyone to remember what really matters in this world.

It’s easy to assume a lot about others we know nothing of or assume we know things we do not know.

Instead of concluding and assuming, let’s start asking one another questions. Let’s dig deeper, find out what one another is all about. Never mind electronic presence. Those are virtual billboards. Let’s find out what is behind the billboard.

Feel free to climb inside my mind on my pages anytime you want. Wait. I think you just did J

Thanks kindly for joining me today for a writing sprint of 30 minutes. I do this with eye drops and wearing sunglasses because of a nasty eye infection. But I couldn’t help joining in on the writing sprint a Facebook community I belong to just challenged us with. While I abhor the negating and devaluing I have witnessed and experienced personally online,  I do appreciate and love those wonderful connections I have made. Ignoring anything negative is akin to enabling it to continue, very frustrating for one who is suffering at all. Aren’t we here to cheer one another on through our REAL life challenges? I don’t need help filling my bucket list, having fun or acquiring stuff. I do need validation that I am a human being experiencing REAL life challenges that don’t go away just because a blind or cruel eye is turned on them.  So I do not throw the baby out with the bath water at all. Rather, I ask what are YOU all about? I don’t need to see your stuff, your travels, I don’t speak stuff.

Thomas Carlyle said, “Not what I have but what I do is my kingdom.” Who ARE you? How do you walk in the world?

I walk tall. I speak “soul.” Direct.

© JAM 2012Nov7

24 thoughts on “Bucket List, Kindness and Love

  1. You said a shopping-basket full, Jan, right from the heart and straight from the hip. I’m going to take a slightly contrary view, bear with me…

    If this year I receive a ‘Christmas letter’ from someone and I notice they’re proud of an achievement, no matter how small and no matter how big, I’m going to rejoice with them.

    If anyone says ‘pay it forward’ in my hearing, I’m going to remember that the good old saying ‘ What goes round comes round’ has been with us since long before my time, and I’ll bet someone got sick of hearing it during the first decade it was coined. I’ll remember that I can’t re-kindle a fire by refusing to light a match, and that if I want people to re-establish community and commonality the worst thing I can do is withhold reminders of it.

    Bless you for ringing your bell.

    M

    • I get you. You are a good ride leader. I know sugar is sweeter than vinegar alright. Your words don’t strike me as contrary so much as thoughtful which makes me think. And what I think of is the number of people doing exactly what you say… online… every single day… in a far more public venue than on the street… people ignore their own relations or spout cruel things out for all the world to see. I think ignoring anyone in any kind of suffering situation is akin to saying “I just don’t care about you” or “I care more about myself than I do you” but that’s just me. My point was and is that I can tolerate whatever form others use to communicate but when it gets lopsided as everything does in our human classism elitist thinking worlds… I really detest it. Do only the rich deserve the sun and all of that, I guess.Thanks for dropping this here. You always make me think. And you know how I like to do that, lol :)

      • I like to let you know that there is at least as much uphill work ‘en danceuse’ as there is freewheeling downhill, and if you rock your shoulders not enough energy is getting to the pedals.

      • Wherever an imbalance exists, I lose my ability to cope with it without saying so. As in all the positive shit in the world is oozing out on social pages along with hate mongering messages but when you are enduring real life crises, nobody even acknowledges it anymore. It’s as though you only exist within the parameters of what THEY think you should and if you dare venture outside the lines, you will be punished: ie ignored and passed over for someone more fun with something more fun to say something more fun to share. Real life is not always fun. Why is sharing it so verboten? It doesn’t make it go away. Yes, to the phrases. It’s like over played songs on the radio. I change the station. History does repeat itself. And you do give me great reminders to pedal onward and upward. No matter what. I recently said this elsewhere so it’s been on my mind a while: Not that I wouldn’t travel elsewhere or haven’t traveled in any other mode especially with a trusted companion, but I don’t have any great needy yearning within me to fulfill a “bucket list” destroying what air we have left with great jet streams of poison just to indulge myself. In fact, I dislike that term “bucket list.” Immensely. It’s just another form of pressure for many in our already angst ridden (evidenced by all the short fuses, road rage, cyber bullying, irritability and lack of social skills, common courtesies) society where many – unseen or unspoken of in elitist conversation save for the do-gooder talk – may never even be able to do more than make “eating some food today” a priority. Excess anything breeds excess sense of entitlement is what I have observed. Would that many could strike two or three things off their “bucket lists” and put those funds toward helping those less fortunate. Wait. Maybe that should be FIRST on ALL “bucket lists.” Gee, then I may even start to like that over employed asinine term, lol. M, what I think got me here was co-owning four houses, having a life I thought was fairly stable to having no stability in any sector, relationship, friendship, family (close relatives, not my darling cousins, some nieces and nephews), finances, health, grief, loss, etc. Then a born “silver spooner” says to me one day: “I bet you didn’t expect to find yourself in this position at this stage of life.” What I wanted to say to her was: This too could happen to you. No one has a guarantee of even the next minute so I get the concept of ‘bucket list’ and achievement, I just detest imbalance of any sort where THAT and THOSE who agree with it all continue with blinders on to any harsh realities others endure by no hand or intent of their own. Who the hell would choose to be in a rental, penniless, battling systemic issues, struggling with health issues whilst going through court (takes so long) to get what is only fair and right after all the decades you gave and gave some more, hoping for goodness and never got any. It’s a sore spot for me, I know, being negated, devalued and undermined. It was how I grew up and what I married. I feel like all of my life people have assumed so much about me when it took me all of my life to just reach this spot so how could THEY possibly know a thing from their assumptions. Ohwell. Dancing uphill. Still. Thanks to you. Looking forward to the downhill days. There has to be some, doesn’t there? lol Pedaling on in good company, love our community here. It’s the only solid thing in my world right now, the only thing I look forward to and rely on. Everything else is so false, loosy goosy, hidden agendaed. And no, I’m not paranoid. But if these abuses persist, I may become so, lol. And I don’t mean any of YOU here in this community. May the Gods bless you all for throwing me a life preserver in the midst of the cruelest oceanic turbulence I’ve ever navigated all by myself. xo

  2. “It’s easy to assume a lot about others we know nothing of or assume we know things we do not know.” True! And out of those assumptions comes all kinds of trouble because we often assume the worse possible intention. Sometimes we’re right; often we’re not.

    I just keep reminding myself to stay present and alert to what I’m feeling and thinking, then I keep setting my internal “reset” button so I can assess the person or situation with new, clear eyes. :)

    • Clear eyes, yes. You have a pair of the very clearest eyes I have ever known. Not just because they are beautifully so but also the way in which you SEE things. Thanks, Lorna. Much love xo

  3. Your mother called you eccentric. You have plenty of character, and that is not a fault. As to bullying, cyber ot otherwise. It fills me with sadness and anger. In this context I am glad you mentioned Ghandi. “Be the change you want to be”. He has always been a heroic figure to me, although he was so humble and yet certain in his attitude

  4. Wow. Hard words, but good words, Janice (Janis? I’m sorry if I’ve misspelled your name.) You’ve inspired me to be more kind and maybe go out of my way to visit a friend soon. I seem to remember saying something previously about how disconnected we are in contrast to how connected we are. It made more sense when I said it before. :-)

    • Yes you did make good sense, I think we are all noticing it. There’s a book on it but I haven’t got the title yet. We probably could have written it, lol. Janice is me or Janis (always loved Joplin :) so I am not offended at all. I used to sing like her too but I don’t think I can anymore, lol. So glad you found inspiration in my thirty minute straight writing challenge. It was just what wanted to get out of my head at the time of the challenge :) In loving kindness may we go always :) Thanks for yours here today, Jeff.

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