Have you ever listened to the answer to a question someone gives like; how many states are in the nation, or what state borders with what, or how many people make up congress, who is this person or (… just fill in the blank) and watched as their response is met with a blank stare or an embarrassing laugh and shrug of the shoulders? We immediately lash out with comments like “How could you not know that?” or “I can’t believe there are such idiots out there!” Why do I bring this up? Because, that would have been me in the past. I would have been the one shrugging my shoulders with an “I haven’t a clue” response. I was what you could call “hedonist” - one who focuses on things that are pleasurable to themselves - ignoring anything negative, depressing and the like. My world revolved around what pleased me. Not in a narcissistic all about me way – in a hedonistic way. I hated negativity and so I chose to distance myself with all things I perceived to be negative. Unfortunately, this seems to have begun in grade school and continued on into my adult life as well. My attention was solely on things and people who made me happy or felt good – like I said all things pleasurable. What this meant was, I didn’t listen to the news on the radio or TV, and I definitely didn’t read newspapers – all filled with negative and depressing information – death, crime, disasters and politics. For me, it was work, lunch, dinner, social gatherings, social media, and entertainment; like movies (even when others saw a political tone - I usually missed it), in other words, my life was all about things fun and happy-happy joy-joy. In fact, even when I voted, it was more for pleasure. I didn’t know the issues, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was me receiving that red, white and blue “I Voted” sticker so I could proudly displace it on my lapel and have the pleasure of receiving the “atta boy” acknowledgements from everyone that saw it (pretty pathetic huh?)
This pattern of hedonism continued until slowly my eyes began to open to what was actually going on around me. Weather disasters were becoming a reality opposed to just warnings. Prices for consumer products (including shoes and handbags), continued to escalate, threats to our Country were increasing and politicians seemed to be more focused on the lobbyists perks what making good laws.
I now have a lot of catching up to do. And I have a long way to go. But now my focus is on learning as much as possible and trying to catch up. I am not in the least bit ashamed that I don’t know something. After all how can you learn with your head stuck in the sand, right? I ask a lot of questions too. And if I don’t understand the answer, I ask more – yes even at the risk of ridicule and the dreaded … “You don’t know that?” In fact, I’ll even ask for people to talk to me like I was a fifth-grader – which for me may have been right around the point in my life that I put learning aside for more pleasurable things like, recess, wearing light pink lip gloss and talking to boys.
So when you hear a response from someone that makes you cringe, try to remember that there are far more people out there that have had their heads in the sand oblivious to what was going on around them. And, just possibly they may be purposefully avoiding world events, politics, and preparing for weather disasters simply because they have been hedonistic for so long and are now ashamed to admit they may not know something.
The bottom line, people don’t like to feel stupid or to be made to feel stupid by others for things they don’t know. Like me in the past, this could equate to negativity. So, when talking about preparedness try to share things and topics in small concise doses. If questions are asked, remember some people are just wiping the sand out of their eyes from having their heads underground for so long - so be patient. Remember, it’s all about education.
- Survivor Jane
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