The National on CBC and there was a segment about how technology is affecting children’s brains. At one point, a researcher said that empathy — the ability to feel other people’s pain — is partially developed while we daydream, and since children are so often connected to screens, they spend very little time daydreaming, and thus, may be a less empathetic generation. The reporter, at one point, asked a small group of grade six children how much time they spend daydreaming each day. One girl said, “About 30 seconds,” and another girl said — and check this out, you guys — she’s in grade six — “I don’t have any time to daydream. I’m so busy. I’m always on the go.”
And a part of my brain clicked and sighed and thought, “Oh, wow, she’s been socialized in a culture that nearly equates productivity with sainthood and is repeating phrases she’s been hearing from her parents and teachers and in the media and that makes sense,” but on the other hand, my insides got all bunched up and I felt so incredibly sad, and upset, and powerless.
One of my biggest goals in life — and surely I’m not alone in thinking this — is to be straight up happy. I don’t know what I want to do in twenty years, ten years, five years — jesus, you guys, I don’t even know where I’m going to be living as of May 1st — but I do know that I want to wake up and be like, “Yeah, okay, cool. I like this life. I like the people that are in it. I feel meaningful.”
I have been incredibly lucky in life, and feel like I have the right to complain never. (Which, obviously, doesn’t stop me from doing it — have you seen half of the posts on my dumb blawg?) I’ve gone to Europe a couple times, and each time, I say the same thing every dumb tourist wearing sun screen and carrying a Rick Steves book says every single time — it’s so refreshing. People live here. People are more relaxed. People enjoy their lives more. People will take the time out of their days to stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens and sit in a green metal chair and take off their shoes and have lunch and sunbathe and it’s cool. No one’s checking their watch. I’m typing this and hating myself at the same time, because it’s so cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason. Ugh.
Anyway — the few times that I’ve been over in Europe, I’ve thought to myself, this is what I want. Peacefulness. Happiness. The ability to enjoy a day, a meal, a breeze, and to just chill the fuck out.
But then I come back here and it’s like I toss that mentality out the window after day two and I am back into my regular hyper tornado self. I’m constantly stressed out about grades and my GPA, what my future will look like, am I studying enough, will this help my career in the future, should I work out more, let’s eat more vegetables, I shouldn’t spend so much money, I should save, I want to be a grown up, oh fuck my license expires in August and I need to pass my driver’s test, hey I want to have health benefits when I’m older, oh my god I should probably see the dentist, how much does the dentist cost, can I cut my bangs myself without spending money and without looking like Edward Scissorhands did my hair, am I being proper enough, am I being creative enough, should I do more yoga, I need to do my taxes, oh fuck is that my credit card statement in the mail, let’s just pretend we didn’t see it.
It’s like, on one hand, I hate that I am this way — but I can’t seem to live any other way. I just wonder if anyone else ever feels trapped and unable to not live in turbo-mode. Unable to not think of life in terms of achievements and goals and productivity. I feel like I constantly need to have my shit together, and I feel like very rarely is that ever actually happening. I feel like a hyper child that ate a cup of sugar and is zipping around like a little hurricane, constantly worrying about the future and shit like that. I don’t know.
I guess I’m just really bummed out because of what that little grade six girl said, because it’s exactly how I feel, all the time. I don’t think I felt that way in grade six, but I certainly do now — and I just, I guess I just wish I could legitimately live my life without feeling so fucking busy and stressed all the time. Without feeling guilty for chilling out. I don’t know, that’s all.