As the year winds down, I’m starting to get reflective. I think that’s a healthy thing – from time to time, we need to take stock in our lives and make some changes. We’re not perfect human beings, so we can always strive to be better.
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is how angry I get at certain things, for really no reason. As a result, I tend to annoy people and turn them off. Even though I’m a pretty positive person, I am going to work hard to push myself to be better and more accepting of my lot in life (and others’ lots as well).
It’s going to be hard, but here are the things I’m just going to let go of in 2013:
1. Apple Products
And boy, this is going to be the toughest one. Here’s the thing: I don’t fault Apple for doing what works. They’ve marketed themselves brilliantly and they’ve done incredible business. What I fault is the notion that they’re the only quality product out there, and this insane culture that’s been created where we live blog whenever somebody in their company farts, or hailing “a sharper-looking screen” as technological innovation. They’re not perfect, their products aren’t perfect, and in my opinion, they are very overpriced. We have an economy that is crashing, everyone’s complaining about being broke, and yet average, middle-class people are dropping $2,000 on a computer because they like to Photoshop stuff. Chances are, you need a computer that can run a web browser. That’s it, and you can get one a lot cheaper.
How will I let go of the rage? I’m going to avoid the hype wherever and whenever I can. On top of that, I’m just going to not bother. It’s the equivalent of going “cold turkey”: unless someone directly asks my opinion, I’ll keep my mouth shut. Oh, and I’m going to avoid the comments section of tech blogs like the plague.
I will also remind myself that Apple is but a company, and no company lasts forever. They will falter and they will fail at something, and then a new company will dominate the landscape. It will only be a matter of time.
This was the year that broke me. In my opinion, citizens of this great nation spend more time arguing and talking about what the government should or shouldn’t do than they spend their time actually getting crap done in life. This country would be much better off if we ignored the government, rendered it irrelevant in a lot of areas of life, and did our own thing. We rely too much on it as it is. The bipartisan bickering this year reached new highs, and while I am always proud to go to the polls as an American citizen, this year I felt very apathetic watching the election results. We’ve turned politicians into celebrities, and it’s not a good thing. Add to that the bickering over gun control and other issues, and we find that we are looking to the government to fix problems with our people. That ain’t cool, guys. We need to listen to each other, connect with each other, and pay attention to our personal relationships.
I’m not a Republican. I’m not a Democrat. I’m not really a Libertarian. I’m an American. I care about our people. I want to do what’s best, and in my opinion, what’s best is for us to fix our lives on a smaller scale. Each situation needs to be handled differently, and no one law change is going to fix this country or its people. So let’s stop pointing fingers and taking sides, and let’s work together again.
How will I let go of the rage? Dismiss political topics in conversation if I can. Again, avoid giving my opinion unless asked (except when it comes to certain issues on this blog). Fortunately, I’m a Christian, and I believe that God is going to still watch over this country regardless of who is in charge, so I will focus on that peace whenever possible.
There’s a lot to dislike about Facebook, and it bubbles over from time to time. They change their “privacy” policies like I change shirts, people on Facebook fall for the stupidest pranks and scams in the world, and everybody’s asking me to putz around on some game or app instead of actually living in the real world.
How will I let go of the rage? I’m only using Facebook to keep in touch with people I genuinely want to keep in touch with. I won’t look at “friends” like currency. I’ll trim my friends list from time to time and people will just have to deal with it. I’ll hide and block certain people I don’t want to hear from. I’ll block app requests.
4. How other people spend their money
I’ve already started working on this one. It also ties into my rage with Apple. “Can you believe [insert friend’s name here] spent $blahblahblah on that house/car/computer/phone?” Yeah, they’re making stupid decisions with their money. But you know what? It doesn’t affect me. So why do I care anymore?
How will I let go of the rage? Unless somebody is coming to me for financial advice, I’m not going to bother. If they want to live their lives in debt, that’s fine. My finances are far from perfect. I have my own issues to deal with. I’m going to focus on fixing those problems.
5. How other people raise their kids
In my completely-inexperienced opinion, over half of American parents are raising monsters. They’re babying their kids, never letting them learn things like pain, discomfort, hunger, and just not getting what you want. They’re not learning about life, which means they grow up spoiled, with a skewed vision of the world. It’s a recipe for disaster. Then they go on Facebook and complain about why their kids don’t eat/sleep/behave. It’s because they let the kid run the house. If you love your children, you need to let them be unhappy sometimes. They’ll be better off for it.
How will I let go of the rage? It’s their problem, not mine. If they complain enough about their kids on Facebook, I’ll hide them. In the meantime, I’m boning up on how to raise a kid properly and paying attention to what these parents are doing wrong so that when, Lord willing, my wife and I finally have a kid, we’ll know what to do.
6. Other people’s success
“How come I’ve been struggling for 5 years to do [blank] and then [other guy] just shows up and is a success already? I’ve been around longer!” This is common for a lot of people. It seems like, just because somebody is making more money than you, you have to start resenting them. Heck, our whole political system seems to be built around that idea. I fall into that trap all too often myself.
How will I let go of the rage? By remembering two things: 1) There is not a finite amount of success in the world. Just because they’re successful doesn’t mean you can’t be. 2) They’re successful because, likely, they did the grunt work that you haven’t been doing. Roll up your sleeves and get back to it.
7. Seriously, other people
We’ve grown accustomed to sharing our business with everybody, so everyone knows everything. It’s getting old. I’m tired of getting worked up over stuff that doesn’t affect me.
How will I let go of the rage? Not only will I try to avoid hearing about every little detail of a person’s life, I will also stop sharing mine. People don’t need to know about every discussion and argument I have with my wife. That’s what makes a marriage special – the things that you share just between the two of you. I’m going to focus more on making my life better and removing myself from situations where people are pissing me off and I have no control over it.
8. Pop music
Gangnam style is dumb. Nicki Minaj/Ke$ha/Lady Gaga/Kanye West are all stupid, they make crappy music, and they’re just whores for attention. Every song on the radio sounds like club music or hip-hop. Auto tune.
How will I let go of the rage? I’m going to work more exclusively in Pandora, where I can find new music related to genres I like. I’m not going to watch a whole lot of TV because that’s where these idiots get their exposure. I’m turning off the radio.
People have ruined the mustache, and I love the mustache. Vampires are stupid and I don’t really “get” the zombie thing. There’s an app for everything except for avoiding pointless apps.
How will I let go of the rage? By looking at how I live my life and making independent decisions on how to be better. I’ll choose my entertainment based on what I like and not on what everybody else is talking about. I don’t need to partake in every conversation going on.
10. Expensive stuff
Why would I spend $90 on a dress shirt? Isn’t that pretentious? I don’t want to spend $100 on a pair of shoes! Uh-uh, I’m not dropping $1000 on a kitchen table, either. It seems like everybody wants to slap a brand name on something and then charge you an arm and a leg for it.
How will I let go of the rage? Look at the quality of these items. Remember that $20 dress shirt you bought? The collar looks grungy and worn out already, and it’s only been a year. And those $40 shoes you wore to the Packer game last Sunday? They let in so much water that your feet were wrinkled and numb before you even got to your seats. And that few hundred bucks you spent on your kitchen table two years ago? Two chairs are already busted on it. While not all expensive stuff is worth the money, it’s time to start looking at the quality of these items and investing in stuff that will last.
They made us miss our flight by ten minutes. They treated us really poorly at the airport. They drove us to near-insanity for hours. They also cost us two days of our vacation and about $1000 in wasted money. It is directly their fault that our finances are completely upside down right now.
How will I let go of the rage? “Hey Tom, are you complaining that much about getting to see some of the best sights in Europe over two and a half weeks? You know, that once-in-a-lifetime, 7-city trip that most of us will never get to do?” I got to have some experiences that I will never forget and pictures that I will be showing my children and grandchildren some day. Maybe I should just shut my mouth. Besides that, we made it out alive, and we have a captivating and entertaining “vacation disaster” story that we can tell until we’re dead.
12. Exercise and eating healthy
Cooking can be a lot of work sometimes. Exercise is really inconvenient and time consuming. I’m tired of having to do it all the time. It makes me whiny. All I want to do is sit on the couch and watch TV.
How will I let go of the rage? Remember last night? You hadn’t exercised for 5 days and you couldn’t fall asleep for hours. You know how you have IBS? Eating garbage aggravates that, makes you miserable, sucks away your energy and your focus, and renders you useless. Hey, doing this stuff is uncomfortable, but maybe it’s more uncomfortable to not do these things every day…
Notice a pattern?
In order to be a less angry version of myself in 2013, I’m going to focus on what I’m doing instead of what others are doing. I’m going to keep my head in my own business and work on things that I can control and spend less time thinking about situations that I can’t control.
The world can be a better place, but instead of trying to fix everyone else, I need to fix me. If everybody would just do that, I think we’d all be much happier.
What about you? Is there any kind of rage you want to let go of? Share it in the comments!