I was writing yesterday about progress, not perfection. Specifically when it comes to working out. The American idea is to push harder, do it faster, and pay for it afterwards. Americans are weirdly proud of breaking themselves for some nebulous outcome. We see it in the jobs area, too. We’ve actually had to introduce the phrase ‘work-life balance’ because too many people were worknig too hard. We have the laughably-named ‘right to work’ ethos, too. Meaning that you can be fired for any reason as long as it’s not discriminatory in a very limited way in all states but one. Montana. That’s it. That’s the only state that can’t fire you at will.
It’s annoying as fuck when Europeans/British people on Ask A Manager bring up how much better employment is over there. We know! Believe me, wo know! Yes, it sucks that our healthcare is tied to our employment. Yes, it sucks that you can be fired for any reason that isn’t discriminatory (in the legal sense) without a warning–unless you have a union!–and yes, people are expected to work insane hours in many fields with little reward.
Many people are livinng paycheck to paycheck and are drowning in debt. And yet, they still think America is the best country ever. There are many good things about America. I can say that now, though I never would have said it twenty years ago.
I remember 9-11. I was in the Bay area at the time. In the months after, we had an outpouring of love and support from the world. Which we promptly squandered with jingoism, going on the attack, and, well, returning the terrorism. In America, I felt as if i couldn’t point out that it made sense that Middle Easterners would be upset with us. I did not want to put out am American flag, but I didn’t feel comfortable saying that, either.
I have never understood ‘My team is better than yours’ in any of its forms. Or rather, I understand it, but I can’t get on board with it. It’s becasue I see people as individuals. In addition, I don’t see anything as completely good or completely bad. That’s why my mother and I have this eternal argument going on. She gets frustrated with me when I point out the negatives in whatever tradition she’s bringing up. She said in exasperation, “Something isn’t bad just because it’s a traidition!” I retorted, “It doesn’t mean it’s good, either.”
That’s a strength of mine–and a flaw. I look at everything on its own (but, yes, placing it in context as well). And I question everything. I am the ‘well, actually’ person, even though I try to keep it to a bare minimum. don’t bust it out all the time, but I’m sure I annoy people when I don’t mean to. I just can’t help what I see.
That took me a long time to realize. I see things that other people don’t. That’s part of empathy, too. I feel things other people don’t feel. I had to learn to mask that when it wasn’t welcome–which was 90% of the time.