Our kids roll their eyes whenever we start talking about our “poor me” stories from a typical middle-class childhood. For example: “I had to wait for 30 minutes to take the public transport which already arrived at my stop so full that I literally had to squeeze onto the first step and then be squished in by the mob behind me. Packed like sardines. or “Packed like idlis in a lunch box”. I had to walk 10 kms to school (wait, that was OUR parent’s poor me story).
We have an endless list of everything that is wrong with the world today. All of us gossip in length about the bane of today. But what about the boon of today? We are seeing unprecedented health, wealth, peace (yes statistically speaking) and a convenient lifestyle that we couldn’t have even imagined a few decades ago. We have seen a revolution in the way we live in the past couple of decades.
And as I see it, today the greatest boon is the freedom of choice. If you want to gain knowledge, there are enough open educational sources and all you need to do is invest the time. All you need is passion to seek out those avenues.
If you cannot afford a gym or a personal trainer, you can have access to free online sessions that you can use to build a stronger body. If you want to eat healthier, there are countless resources which will give you the knowledge on what is clean eating along with the background research if you have the time and inclination to seek that out. If you further want to be monitored or motivated, there are unlimited support groups on social media and app trackers who give you a badge of honour for meditating continuously for a week or for tracks literally every ounce you eat giving it points and goals to be achieved.
Today, despite everything going on around the world, I feel the world is more inclusive, more positive, more aware of discrimination, more aware of the gap between the haves and the have-nots, more aware of our accumulation mania… much more than before.
Being in the employ of others was the standard aspiration for most middle class. ‘Business’ was considered risky. A ‘government job’ was considered the platinum standard of job satisfaction and security. Today, the world has opened up. People quitting their jobs, trying their hands at startups, running parallel gigs in music, blogging, YouTubing and exploring their passions. Life has become a lot more multi-dimensional and provides a gazillion opportunities to enrich yourself. People who always dreamed of being authors are able to self-publish or blog. There are myriad ways to put yourself out there. The emerging world of stand-up comedy was unheard off when we were growing up. Telling jokes for a livelihood? What is that?
Today, people are “trying” to be more supportive of each other. They have understood the power of networking and investing in relationships. The Theory Y of human behaviour has gained the upper hand. Leaders are today not so much as people who achieve numbers but people who can inspire people to give their best. Those who are able to motivate are seen as greater achievers than those who micro manage.
Now more than ever, what we want to do seems to be within our control. The boon of today is the freedom to do what you want to do unfettered. As long as you are open to dealing with the consequences, the world seems to be welcoming you with open arms.