|…and there were skylarks singing, too!|
…although it may not be the sort you can take to the bank. Someone at the United Nations has been brave enough to suggest there might be other ways of measuring a country’s wealth beyond balance sheets. You can read the Daily Telegraph’s take on the story; Lollipops, washing machines and sleeping patterns show a nation’s true wealth here.
I have a terrible Daily Mail habit, checking the online headlines every morning before work. I stick to the main pages, but it’s impossible to miss the dozens of famous faces featuring alongside the more serious news items. Most of them are famous simply for being famous, and what good does it do them? Our celebrity culture builds people up, only to knock them down again. A woman might become a national heroine for the way she looks, then five minutes later will be rubbished for daring to go out to the supermarket without makeup. What sort of a country do we live in, when a person’s appearance and size of their bank balance is seen to be more important than their happiness? When images of lavish lifestyles are the only things we see on line and in the press, day after day, it’s no wonder may people feel dissatisfied and resentful of the old nine-to-five. But we’re only fed the images the media choose to give us. It’s a highly distorted view. I’m willing to bet that at least 99% of us worry about money, and know what it’s like to struggle to pay the bills. Children brought up on a diet of “reality” shows (many of which are scripted, directed and otherwise faked, anyway) will have a skewed idea of what real life is like. It’s setting them up for a whole lot of disappointment and disillusion.
|One of mine. Probably.|
We’re always looking to improve ourselves, our lot and our position in life. It’s part of being human. But be honest – once our basic needs for food, clean water, shelter, sanitation and health care are met, everything else is pure gravy. Yesterday the sun shone and the birds were singing. I felt better than I’ve felt for months, and sat in the garden doing nothing except listening to the laying hens cackling and watching my bees escorting their new queen on her first mating flight. None of that cost me a penny, yet I wouldn’t have swapped places with Queen Elizabeth herself. Incidentally, the life of a Royal looks far better than it lives. Exchanging personal privacy for unimaginable wealth is a step too far, in my opinion. Last week I skipped church, just to spend more time in the garden. The Defender Of The Faith would never get away with that one!
There’s nothing wrong with working hard, and trying to improve your family’s living standards. But as well as waking up and smelling the coffee, why not try kicking back and listening to the birds once in a while?