I work in a drive through take away store and today while handing out change, I dropped 5 cents so it feel to the ground, out of reach of me but the customer could have opened his door and bend to retrieve it. He just shrugged and said it didn’t matter, drove off and left it on the ground.
It got me thinking, what is the valueI of 5 cents (the australian equivalent of a penny, as it is our smallest coin)?
These days, you can’t buy anything for five cents but you can’t buy anything without it. Five cents short for a bus ticket means walking and having 45cents ain’t getting you a 50cent cone anywhere. It,ah seem small and insignificant but it has a purpose and a value.
Now, at the rate I’m on, every 15 seconds I work I earn 5 cents.
15 seconds might not seem like a long time if your working for 8 hours, or in an exam or generally busy. But take a moment to time 15 seconds sitting in science watching the clock and you realise how long I really is.
15 seconds could be saying I love you and hearing it back. Laughing for 15 seconds is meaningful. Kissing for 15 seconds feels endless. It’s the time it takes for my phone to start up and I do more than just sit and wait for it. I may be impatient but it means I value the worth of 15 seconds.
If he dropped a dollar, would he would have picked it up? Where do you draw the line? Is 20 cents worth it? Or 50? Or does it have to be round and gold to make the effort?
Why can we never get enough?
Perfection. The impossible dream that everybody is chasing after. Everyone aspires to get that perfect body, have that perfect girlfriend (or boyfriend) and live in a perfect house with perfect views and perfect living conditions. We are so drawn to that ideal perception of flawlessness that we will do almost anything to get it. We work our butts off trying to earn a 6 digit income per annum, we work out in the gym to get that highly acclaimed 6 pack abs that turns everyone one, and we work into the late hours of the night trying to prepare for the 6 hour jobs that we have the next day. All that trouble for the idea of perfection. Why are we so drawn to the idea of perfection?
Think about it. We are exposed to many different types of people in our lives. Skinny, fat, short, tall. You name it, nature got it. Then we look at the posters on the billboards of Madison Avenue in New York city, and we have perfection flashed right in front of our faces. Picture perfect model this. Picture perfect model that. Everywhere we go, we see the portrayal of perfection. Then when we go to work, we are forced to be perfect, where our bosses expect nothing less than perfect from our jobs. And when we return, we switch on the television and BAM. Reality TV, more advertisements and dramas that keeps reminding us of this Utopian ideal. We can not escape this plague that is terrorizing us.
We can never get enough. When we watch certain portrayals of perfection on television, we are instantly reminded of the shortfalls of our lives. We are too fat, too sloppily dressed, too ugly. We begin to compare ourselves with the perfection we see. Then we start wanting. We ask for more. We spend money, trying to attain that level of perfection we see in the advertisements without realizing that that is the exact same reaction the advertisers want to ellicit from us. Not only did we inadvertently fall into their trap, we also soon realize that there is not much difference since we last looked at ourselves.
So while it is human to strive for perfection (which is rather stupid, since it is impossible to attain), we do need to exercise our desires with caution. Always be wary your needs and wants, and don’t act on impulse. Exercise restrain whenever possible. And, as cliche’ as this may sound, always be happy with who you are. If nobody sees that, then so be it. Don’t try to please others. Please nobody, but yourself. That is the true route to happiness.