On Stress

Please take a moment and list your top three stressors…

If you’re anything like most Americans your top stressor may very well be:  Money.

We, as a species have been stressing over money ever since we were first able to make heads and tails of the concept known as inequality.  So, for those that have money; they find themselves stressing out about maintaining their money and/or acquiring more money.  And they will do whatever it takes to not lose money.  Those with money may also stress over the guilt they feel for living so lushly while they are fully aware of the poverty that is going on underneath their noses.

Of course, those without money are constantly stressing over how to get the next amount to buy their next meal.  They are hardly stressed out about acquiring more wealth since they know they don’t need it.  But instead they see money as a necessary evil and often a hindrance to having their basic needs met.

Money is consistently identified as the single biggest cause of conflict in marriages.  The second biggest is sex.

Now if we simply removed money from our culture then we would be left with sex for the conflict to center on.  I don’t see much wrong with that…

So, why do we continue to keep money around us if it is such a source of stress?  Do we really enjoy being uncomfortable about it all the time?  Perhaps I generalize, but I can speak for myself when I say that I’ve been fueled by the idea of acquiring money all my life.  And my culture had enabled me to maintain the motivation until a few years ago when I stopped believing in the usefulness/helpfulness of money.

So lets free ourselves from this burden!  We can try it together for a year.  If we gave it a test spin the world would come to a screeching half.  This is a good thing.  We could stop consuming like crazy people.  We could all systematically and rationally re-examine our values together.  Our elected “leaders” should guide us in this direction rather than pursuing further economic “fixes,” “cuts,” or “stimuli.”

I’ve been considering my stress level quite a bit lately.  I definitely believe in having a useful amount of stress.  Just enough to keep me existentially angst-ish.  But I’ve definitely brought more stress into my life with this revolution.

My personal need to be true to myself has dictated that I finally stop going with the flow of culture.  So, in a sense, I feel like a fish swimming upstream.  It is a very different state of being than my “go-with-the-flow” previous mentality.  I have revolted against this flow and am in process of discovering my world in a new and exciting way.  This has been a celebratory process for me, and cathartic.  But it has also created stress since it requires that I refuse to rationalize the injustice and inequality of our societal status quo.

My other major stressors in life right now are my school obligations.  I seriously considered dropping out as I came to a realization about my current feelings for school.  But I only have 5 more weeks left.  So I’m not going to be investing much effort in my papers.  They can fail me if they want and prove my point about power structures.  The point being that power structures don’t forgive.

Of course there are consequences for my actions, so if I slack too much they’ll be justified in failing me!  So, concerning the remainder of my school – I will be seeking the “goldilocks zone” of slacking…

2 comments on “On Stress

  1. shenanitim says:

    Money is the root to it all. I want to say that Rousseau once said the secret with money is to have enough so that you don’t need to worry, but not so much that you obsess over it. (I.e. the “don’t become Dennis Miller” rule. Though it probably wasn’t Rousseau, or I’m remembering the quote terribly wrong.) I convinced myself very young that I’d never be rich, so I live within my means, have cheap pleasures, and have enough left over to help out my friends if and when they need it. That’s all I think one should ask for.

    • I agree.

      But I would say that money is the root of nothing. And the love of money is, indeed, the root of all evil.

      Anyway, thanks for the comment – that Rousseau idea sounds familiar. It’s definitely something that I’ve applied to my life.

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