There are some topics that have been looming on my mind, and I'm sure I could write lengthy op-eds for each one, however for now, I'm just going to pose them as questions for you to ponder, and if you feel so inclined, I'd love for you can follow-up with a comment:
1. Is there anything I can do to address the homelessness issue in my city/country/the world? I was at the grocery store today, about to put away my cart when a man came up to me and asked if I wanted some help. At first, I was very pleased and was thinking to myself that humanity is sometimes so beautifully surprising, when I got over my split-second of naivety, to realize that the man was just wanting my cart so he could score my dollar from the link chain. I was totally disappointed but further, thoroughly confused; should I give the man my dollar? It probably mean't way more to him than it did to me. But at the same time, I thought to myself, I had worked all day when I would have way rather sat out in the sun lounging which is surely what this man did... so why should I give it to him? Am I being insensitive to that fact that I have probably had more opportunities come my way in the past year than this man will have in his whole life, so just give him the friggen dollar?
Okay, so that was more explanation than question, but, once I get on a roll….
2. Do people seriously think that we have successfully achieved gender equality? I was very shocked when I recently had a conversation with someone I respect and consider very knowledgeable, to hear him say that men and women are treated equally. I'm reading a great book (Lean In for Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg - seriously: men, women - get your hands on a copy!) which states that for the 195 independent countries, only 19 are lead by women, and only 23 of the CEO's of the Fortune 500 companies, are women. Shocking?? Seriously, are you shocked, or thinking "yeah, that sounds about right?" I'm not entirely sure how to pinpoint my emotions when I hear that. On one hand, I'm shocked and totally disappointed, but on the other, I know full-heartedly, despite certain individuals stating that I'm loony, that I definitely experience inequality in the workplace - all women do! And it may not be external inequalities, but as Sheryl Sandberg states, it's internal inequalities; women thinking to themselves that they are not worthy of sitting at "the table" with the men, even though it's not necessarily the men pointing that out. Do you think it's true that men are judged on their potential, whereas women are judged based on their achievements? Sandberg states that the solution is simply stated, perhaps not so simply achieved: more women in power.
3. I was just reviewing the Sunshine list for my city from March, 2014 - check it out!! What do you think about these salaries, which are all upwards of $100K? I almost feel weird about discussing salaries like this; income is such a taboo topic, but really, it's out in the open for the public to see, so let's discuss! After all, every single one of these salaries is paid for by OUR tax dollars - how does this make you feel? In efforts to remove the personal, because let's face it, this list is of NAMES, in our small city… that's personal! Let's just think about the people as job positions… do you agree that those positions are compensated fairly? Should a police officer make over $120K per year? Should a principal of an elementary school make $120K per year? Should a manager of a health program make 120K per year? Should a judge make over 200K per year? Do you think there should be a wage cap, to address the wage gap, regardless of how educated or stressful your chosen profession might be?
4. I've been caught up on defining the meaning of life lately, well okay, probably not just lately, but for the last say, 20 years of my life actually! And.. well, I haven't really come up with much of an answer. I read, then watched the movie "The Fault in Our Stars" (and half-way through it yelled out to my mother "why did I ever stop reading teen-fiction?!" Seriously, I know why I did - thought there were so many non-fiction works to fill my brain with instead, and also thought I was developing an unrealistic concept of reality! Ha - still think that's true!) Anyway, one of the main character has a fear of oblivion, which I can kind of relate to… how about you? It's strange though because since reading "Lean In for Graduates", I've become aware of the negative connotation associated with ambitiousness for women. It's not explicitly negative, but if you were to call a women any of the synonyms for ambitious, such as determined (which I was referred to as in the last month and was completely torn up over - so offended!) it could certainly be considered an insult, opposed to a definite compliment if the recipient were male. Comments?? The reason I consider this is because in order to leave a significant mark on society, one must be determined enough, with enough resolve and perseverance to complete whatever it is that they're eventually going to get credit for. What impact do you wish to leave on the world?
5. Is there a fine line between self-improvement and self-acceptance? How do you know when you've reached it?
6. What does success mean to you? Again, is it about touching society? Making it onto the sunshine list? Or simply being content?
7. I think I'm having a power/career path/success/future complex… how about you?
8. Do people pay more attention to the prospect of wealth and money, than they do to quality of life? I've been loosely following the pipeline developments in Canada and am a bit miffed that people are weighing the economic benefits with the risk potential… shouldn't it be a no-brainer that our natural environment must be protected, no matter what? We have been experiencing the effects of global warming for the past 15-20 years? And yet people are still considering the economy and prospective monetary gains ahead of the environment?
9. Where and when did the concept of "pets" become introduced? Even though several people have described me as "not really an animal person", I've come to the understanding that I'm quite the opposite - I'm definitely an animal person - I adore and respect animals and therefore, I am not a pet person; why should we as humans be the masters and owners of another animal? What right do we have to own the dogs and cats we call our pets? After watching several documentaries including Food Inc. and Fork over Knives, and reading several books including Skinny Bitch and The Kind Diet, I have flirted with a vegetarian/vegan diet for the past six years. How do people continue living in an ignorant state of mind with regards to where their food is coming from? Are people not curious? Our food is literally what you are - you become your food… this is fascinating, no?… yet judging by the Standard American Diet, it would seem as though the majority of people have no clue about where their food comes from. Do most people just choose to not become educated on the matter? Or is there truly a lack of exposure and information about the farming and factory practises? This is and will probably forever be mind-boggling to me: how did our society get to the place it is right now?? Where were the policy makers when fast and processed food became the norm?? I'm most certainly addicted to sugar, which is apparently more addictive than heroin - who can I blame?!!
10. Would life be better if we didn't keep track of time? Obviously there are so good uses for time, like bus schedules and appointments, but ultimately, would life be better without it? I feel like there would be a lot less pressures and stressors in the world. Also, the concept of age would be completely thrown out the window, which might be nice… because then you could live the age you feel, not the age you are! There are so many factors when determining your entire existence including your maturity, cognition, biology, spirituality, and yet we turn a subjective completeness into something objective, like a number… what for? What purpose does age serve?