On Being Human

Angy-Birds-fo-PCTalked to an old friend yesterday. We hadn’t spoken for almost 2 yrs. No particular reason. Life took over and we lost touch. The last time we spoke he told me his 45 year old wife had quit her job as a restaurant manager and was very happy to be home, fixing up their house, shopping, cooking, doing things she never had time to do when working. Two years later, she is still at home. The house is now fixed up. There are no children, and she has no other responsibilities. When I asked my friend what his wife does with her days, he told me she enjoys working out, watching TV, and she plays a lot of Angry Birds.

My mother-in-law lost her husband of 53 yrs a couple years back, a year after they closed the small business they had together for almost as long. With no business to maintain, no kids to care for, and only sparse time with grown grandchildren, I assumed she’d would find her niche in volunteering, perhaps invest time into her community, teach literacy at her local library or maybe the hospice her husband spent most of his last days in. I don’t like sick people, she told me upon inquiry. And she has no interest in teaching, anyone, anything, she insisted, clearly annoyed at my suggestions. I’ve worked my whole life. It’s my turn to do what I want. What does she do all day? At 78, and in perfect health, she plays Solitaire, or goes to plays and movies with friends and family, when they’re available, which isn’t often. Most retired folks she knows are helping their kids with the grandkids, or volunteering.

On the phone with my old friend, I intimated his wife was wasting her life. A talented professional, she has too much to give to waste time with Angry Birds, I insisted. But my friend disagreed. She enjoys her days now, no longer under constant pressure to preform, he informed me. She’s allowed to relax, after working most of her life. She’s 45 yrs old, I countered. And has been relaxing for almost 4 yrs now. So? He was perturbed by my observation. They don’t need her income. He makes enough to support them both, so no harm, right?

Wrong.

We are ALL born owing humanity for the life we have. Without those who worked hard before us, there would be no humanity at all. My mother-in-law, my friend’s wife, you or I wouldn’t exist without the hard work of those before us. From our laws to the lightbulb, we stand on the shoulders of those who contributed to the human race that provide us with the life we now enjoy.

Our system that seemingly runs itself–doesn’t. We actually have to work at making it work. And playing Solitaire or Angry Birds all day, most every day, does nothing for our society. It’s selfish and lazy. Everyday we are alive we owe each other and those who will follow us. We are ALL responsible to make the world better. Whether fighting for a worthy cause we believe in, or inventing technology to make our lives more productive, or managing a restaurant or small business, we must continually contribute to humanity for our race to survive.

Life did not begin, nor does it end with my friend’s wife, or my mother-in-law, or the tens of thousands out there wasting enormous amounts of every day of their lives playing with themselves. Lazy behavior must be compensated for by those who see beyond their own narcissistic desires, putting the burden of humanities survival on the few, instead of us ALL, which is where it must be for our race to thrive.

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