Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Grinches without their meds

I spent my tween and teen years in an affluent area in Southern California that is routinely mocked by the media for its shallowness and skewed priorities. I quickly became a product of the mental environment around me and fell easily into the role of material girl and label baby.

When I graduated from high school I did not get a car.... that's because I got a shiny new Italian sports car the day I turned 16.  Instead, I received a summer-long trip to Europe as a graduation gift.  A number of school friends thought I was crazy to miss all the parties of our last pre-college Summer together in order to go globe-trotting.  
That was the beginning of my realization that in some way I yearned for more out of life than could be found in the Louis Vuitton section of Neiman Marcus.  I wanted quality.... of thought, not just footwear.

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To date, that rite-of-passage trip has been the single most beneficial gift I have ever been blessed with.  The travel to ten or so different countries, with different languages, customs and (at the time) currencies opened up my thinking in ways I never knew were possible.  I returned a changed girl.  It has taken many additional years and trips to internal third worlds, but after completing several major spiritual treks, I believe I finally have my priorities straight and now understand what life is about, and what it is not.

The frustrated tweeters who feel 'dissed' by their benefactors, whose posts are included in the screenshots featured here, represent what I hope is a minority sector of society's youth. Of course, we are all responsible for defining our own priorities, but I can't help but wonder how many of the attitudes expressed in those ungrateful tweets are a by-product of the environment in which these people live, whether in their families, schools, or just as part of a consumerist society.

How can we combat and cure such misguided, unhealthy, odious attitudes?  I may not be able to sit each of these individuals down to chat with them about the meaning of life, but I can do my best to set an example of gratitude and self-worth.  And if I do my job well enough, perhaps I will inspire someone to do a little soul searching of their own so that they may find the rich rewards of prioritizing things like random kindness, patience, and giving to others less fortunate. And what a gift should they find that in so doing their heart grows a size... or three.

I am very thankful for what I 'got' this Christmas, which in my case was not 'stuff', but opportunities to express a spirit of giving from a heart overflowing with love and gratitude. And I hope to score even more of such treasure next year.

joyously yours...





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