Do you appreciate how good you’ve got it?
To be clear i'm not talking about unappreciation in the sense of someone failing to say thankyou when you've gone out of your way to do something for them, although that is a massive dick move... no, i'm talking about appreciation in a much bigger sense than that. Specifically i'm referring to the enormous difference between the first and third worlds and how some of us appreciate coming from the former while others simply don't realise how lucky they are. I can't think of a bigger blessing than that of being born and raised in a place that isn't poverty stricken, war torn and riddled with disease. A place where crime and terror isn't a routine part of life and whose people have prospects, clean water and a promising future. You don't need a Harvard degree to know that these places exist in the world... where 'president' stands for money, not responsibilty and where the only 'governing' leaders do is that of their own finances (because a solid gold toilet bowl is every mans necessity) in these parts of the world starving people cling desperately to hope while their 'leaders' live a lavish life. These people are dying because it's now winter and there's no grass left to eat, yet i hear people complaining about the price of petrol in Australia?! do they not realise how lucky they are to hold the skill of driving let alone own a car? never mnd having money to put petrol in it!
So if we all know that these places exist, that there are parts of the world and people who are much worse off than ourselves then why do so many of us complain about what we have? do you know how many times i've seen a status on facebook written by one of my fellow Aussies complaining about our rights and our freedom? it makes me feel more embarrased and enraged than anything else ever has and probably ever will. I'm going to quote you a status that i read the other day, word for word this is what it said - "why is the Australian government ignoring it's people? why are they killing our culture? why are they trying to change our freedoms? why are we being forced into assimilation of another ideology? why are you not standing up and protecting the people? why?" - that's what it said, no joke! i had to re-read the first line just to be sure that i hadn't read "North Korea" but nope my eyes hadn't decieved me, this was definately a status complaining about the 'hardships' of living in Australia...
If you're a traveller like myself or even if you're not a traveller and are just generally a worldly and appreciative person you will have reacted in much the same manner as i did when i read that - mouth agape in utter disbelief, quickly turning to anger and frustration at the ignorance of some people. Was this a joke? surely there doesn't exist a person on the planet who actually believes they have it tough living in such a privileged country as the land down under?
But alas, it was for real. So the question stands, why do some of us count our blessings everyday while others who come from the same place whine and complain about not having enough? i'm no professional, but i think it probably has alot to do with how much experience ourside of our home towns and home countries that we have, travel opens our eyes. I don't think simply reading about the way less fortunate people live or seeing it on tv is enough, it seems necessary that we see such undesirable circumtances up close with our very own eyes in order to really appreciate our own privileged circumstance. This was definately the case for myself. Through my own authentic experiences travelling across the globe my perspectives have changed enormously. Before this i had never once complained about life in Australia, i have always been aware of how lucky i am to call a place like that home. But nonetheless even when you don't think your eyes can be opened further, even when you consider yourself to be as humble and grateful as you could possibly be, travelling to less privileged parts of the globe will always stretch your awareness further. You become more giving, more kind, more understanding, more compassionate and more grateful of your own circumstances. Even if it's only a little bit, travel will always push you towards a higher awareness. And if you visit enough underprivileged parts of the world you will be left without an ounce of selfishness left in you. All of a sudden everyday is a good day and no difficulty is that bad anymore.
So if there is anybody reading this who is lucky enough to live in the first world but believes they are hard done by, please consider this;
No matter how undesirable our circumstances might seem to us, they are somebody else's dream.
Have you ever been resigned to catching and eating insects to survive because you don't have a single cent to buy food with and nobody to help you? i didn't think so. That $3.00 loaf of bread you bought earlier, grumbling because the price has gone up would be the equivalent of lobster mornay to millions of desperately hungry people. Have you ever had to build a 'house' out of carboard boxes and mud to give yourself a little bit of shelter? I didn't think so. That two bed, water tight flat you live in with running water and electricity which you've always thought was much too small would be a mansion in the eyes of so many, to them your house is an unattainable dream. Have you ever been faced with the 'problem' of running out of space to store your things? Of course you have. There are millions of people out there who even if they did have space they'd have nothing to fill it with, that 'problem' of yours is a fantasy to them. Have you ever been desperate for a drink of water for days on end? I didn't think so. You'd just get one from the tap or buy one from a store right? but have you ever appreciated that luxury? having easily accessible and clean drinking water would be like winning the lottery to millions who are less privileged than yourself.
The moral of the story? - be grateful for what you have. Remember that a bad day to you would be the best day ever to someone else. And my advice, if you haven't already, travel! it's unbelievably enriching to learn about and experience more than just one part of the world.
Over & out x