Forty years ago, Gary Trudeau published what is now a classic Doonesbury cartoon in which he poked fun at the American penchant for conspicuous consumption. In the comic, a newly adopted Vietnamese baby looks at the huge plate of food served by her American parents and thinks, “This is positively obscene!” The equivalent response to excess today falls into the general category of #FirstWorldProblems.
Americans are taught to believe that more is better. And we spend way too much time thinking about what we don’t have. Of course, a quick look around reveals the truth — we have too much of almost everything. We have so much personal stuff that we need more room in which to store it. We have so many contacts in our social network that we don’t have time to truly connect with any of them. We have so many apps on so many different devices that we don’t know how half of them work. And we have so many demands on our time — work, social media, entertainment options, family obligations — that we have a hard time focusing on any one thing.
Perhaps instead of dwelling on what we don’t have, we should concentrate on trying to make what we do have the best that it can be. Make the most of what we’ve got. Who knows? We may discover lost treasure in the corner of the attic, in a stack of dusty books, or even in the voice of an old friend.
Bob Priest-Heck is president and COO of Freeman. Follow Bob on Twitter @bpriestheck.