Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I wrote in my last blog about 100 extra calories a day adding ten pounds a year to your weight. As I’ve grappled with my own self-indulgence, I’ve been struck by how it relates to other articles I’ve read recently.

Did you know that over half of the world’s population exists on one bowl of rice a year? I read that last summer when gas and grain shot up. We forget as Americans how quickly we’ve shifted from surviving at near starvation levels to an absolute orgy of options. Choices abound, not only in food, but in other commodities.

Recently, there were reports of a band of parents writing to toy manufacturers to pull back on their advertising. They explained they couldn’t afford the toys their children wanted, had a very hard time saying ‘no,’ and wanted the toy people to help them by not thrusting tantalizing commercials for frequent viewing.

Haven’t the last few years been an exercise in indulgence? Whether we’re talking about food, homes, or toys, we’ve allowed ourselves to get caught up in a feeding frenzy of “I want, therefore I deserve.” Of course, we have an economic system that is based on feeding our constant desire to indulge at every whim. Americans work more hours per capita than any other group of people. We live in heightened state of stress to make money to feed the python of consumerism. We suffer from obesity and other lifestyle related ailments because we haven’t learned to say no.

Where do we go from here? One thing is clear, we can’t continue on this path. Our bodies are ill, children spoiled and our spirit is broken. We have an increased chasm between the haves and the have-nots, but everyone can be in debt to pretend they have it all. No one knows what the next couple of years are going to bring. One thing is for sure, we shouldn’t return to our old ways. We need to find another way of defining success, and what it means to be a proud people.

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