• Patrick McAndrew

Don’t Live Someone Else’s Make-Believe

We consume A LOT of information. From the news, to television commercials, to ads on the train or highway, to ads on Facebook or YouTube, to mindless tweets, to cat videos, to others’ personal narratives on Facebook, to each other’s selfies on Instagram, to TV shows, to delicious food, to purchasing awesome clothes, to going out for drinks, to doing this and doing that.

These aren’t necessarily bad things.  If you know me well, you know that I love delicious food.  I enjoy a good TV show and will spend some occasional time on Facebook.  All these things have the ability to provide some essence of value in our lives.  But with the rise in always-connected technology, we spend all our waking hours consuming and consuming and consuming.

We have begun consuming without even realizing it.  Boredom is a concept that barely exists anymore because we always have something to distract us, something to consume.  Our minds constantly crave for something, anything, to consume so as to relax our stressed out and overstimulated selves.  We don’t have the energy for anything else.  And while consuming is mostly mindless, I would argue that consuming consumes a lot of our time and energy.

We should start thinking critically about becoming producers.  “Producers?” you question, “Why, I’m no fancy-dancy producer!  Why, aren’t producers those who make money on such things?  I’m no producer!  I don’t want to be associate with money-hungry fiends!”  Producers are far from bad people, however.

Many of us were producers when we were kids.  We created imaginary lands while we were at play.  We had imaginary friends (or was that just me…) and we adventured to unexplored world.  We built forts and made up games and dressed ourselves into new identities.  We were producers and we conquered the world, even if our world was our bunk bed or the basement.

So what happened?  Society happened.  Growing up happened.  Through the school system, we are beaten and battered with the same ideology, and encouraged to be like one another.  Many of us are segmented into careers that do not suit our skillsets because such careers promise a larger paycheck.  While some thrive in these worlds, others wake up twenty years later to find out they are living in someone else’s make-believe.  When we are in a job we hate, it doesn’t quite feel right.  We are exploring the wrong worlds.

This is why consuming doesn’t make us happy.  We can have all of the material wealth in the world, but if you are living someone elses’ make-believe, you will be miserable.  Consuming stuff isn’t going to leave us feeling fulfilled.  We must not conform to what society asks of us.  We must adopt our childhood tendency to be a producer.

Producing something makes you fulfilled.  When we create, we feel proud, accomplished, and feel like we left some sort of impact in the world.  There are many ways to produce.  You can learn an instrument, teach your class a new lesson in a creative way, build a chair, build a business, write a play, shoot a movie, choreograph a dance, paint a picture, write a poem or song.  The limits are endless, really.  We can produce just as much as we consume, and it will leave us with a better feeling on the inside.

Consuming is nice from time to time.  I’m all about chilling out and watching a movie or getting together with friends to play games.  These things are important.  But I promise that if you reserve some time for yourself to produce something, you will feel like you ate a butterfly. AKA: You will feel happy and giggly on the inside and excited to share what you just created.

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