Parting words of wisdom (or folly)

Mike Davies, Editor-in-Chief Ω

As we come to the close of another publishing year here at The Omega, I would like to impart with you a few words on what I have learned this year that may help you as you move forward on your adventure — if you’d be so kind to indulge me for a moment. Wow. That sounded super pretentious. Sorry.

Life isn’t fair.

This isn’t something I’ve only recently learned, but certainly was a theory that was further reinforced over the past eight months or so. Whether it was being assigned group projects I wanted no part in, attending classes I wasn’t learning anything in or having to go into my office when there was a football game on I really wanted to watch, this year was once again full of things I had to do.

I balanced the fact that life isn’t fair by taking time periodically to find things I wanted to do — and did them. It didn’t make the things I had to do more likeable and on occasion I really had to force them into times that weren’t really long enough, but they made me a bit less jaded at the world during the time I was engaged with them.

The world will seem less unfair if you realize that it doesn’t owe you anything.

Take responsibility for your life and put some effort in. When things don’t go your way, it doesn’t do anyone any good to whine about it (in fact it probably annoys the people around you), but if you look at what went wrong and learn from it, maybe it won’t happen next time.

It might be, even under closer examination, that whatever went wrong was not your fault.

Maybe someone in administration didn’t forward the paperwork along when they should have. Maybe you were minding your own business driving through an intersection and someone ran a red light and smashed up your car. Whatever the situation was, it’s ultimately up to you as to how you deal with it. Maybe you hound the powers that be to do their jobs properly next time instead of just waiting for them to act. Maybe you take a different route to school now because you know that idiots don’t leave themselves enough time to get places and traffic is high at that intersection leading to a higher overall number of those people in that location at any given time.

Be proactive. It will leave you in a less-whiney situation and make your friends happier too.

People are inherently good.

For years I have felt the opposite. When I look around at all the destruction and injustice in the world, I have often wondered if humanity wasn’t, overall, pretty terrible. This year the needle went back to the centre and kept moving — if only a small amount.

I see people standing up for these injustices and social destruction more and more. I don’t know whether they’ve been doing it all along and I’ve just started to take notice, but the uproar over things like pipeline and mining proposals, tuition rates (in Quebec, anyway), worker’s rights and prejudicial attitudes towards sexual orientation heartens me as we move forward as a society.

The fact that we still need to take on all of these things is abhorrent — but the fact that we’re doing it gives me hope.

People are also inherently lazy (and cheap).

This might sound like a contradiction, but I think the evidence bears this out.

While many gather to protest injustices and stand up for what they believe, they will generally only do so when and where it is convenient for them.

You sure see a lot of “Share this photo to tell (insert official person’s name) we won’t stand for this!” on Facebook these days. I can’t tell you how many “go to our site and sign our petition” emails I receive in a month. There’s a whole lot of half-assed complaining about situations going on.

How many people, on the other hand, will be withdrawing all of their money and refusing to do their banking with RBC because of the recent exposing of their hiring of temporary foreign workers to replace Canadians in order to become more cost-effective?

How many people refuse to shop at Walmart because they manage to keep their prices so low by importing mass quantities of cheaply made product from regions with dubious employment standards?

I have a feeling RBC will again manage to claim profits in the billions of dollars next quarter and we all know that Walmart is doing okay financially.

I don’t have solutions for these things. I don’t bank with RBC. If I did, I certainly wouldn’t be anymore — but it’s not like they’d care, because they make their money off people with a ton of money, and those people likely respect them for their actions towards cost-effectiveness and I can’t afford not to shop at Walmart for some things.

My point is that if you’re going to complain about these things, you should be willing to take effective action, as well.

Otherwise you just seem whiney and remember that stuff a few hundred words ago about being whiney?

So, I guess that’s all the room I have for this week (I’m already taking some of Rocca’s space, probably).

If you’re here over the summer, watch for our monthly editions on the racks around the middle of each month and if you’re back next fall semester you’ll be hearing from me again.

If not, I wish you all the best as you go forth into the world. I hope I’ve maybe given you some wisdom — either today or in a previous edition — and you leave here to challenge the status quo and strive to make life better for everyone.

editor@truomega.ca

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2 thoughts on “Parting words of wisdom (or folly)

  1. #1. Life IS fair…unless you have the mistaken belief that the world revolves around you! Life is a gift – how you use it and embrace it initiates the “fairness”.
    #2. Yes, people are inherently good and that has nothing to do with whether or not they will stand outside in the rain and yell about a mine or a pipeline or a store who doesn’t treat its employees well. It has to do with quietly living life the best way they can; helping others, treating others (our world, animals, etc) with respect, kindness and fairness.
    #3. Real social activism and change have been going on for centuries…look around at the women and people of colour with whom you are likely working right now. Those changes didn’t happen because someone passed on an email or “liked” something on Facebook. Hippies may have been hippies and Black Panthers may have been social radicals but they were also world changers. Birth control, marriage of mixed races, the sexual revolution, peace, respect for nature…etc. You are likely quite young but you can still look back and learn a good deal about how and why positive changes happen. I mean really, are you an uneducated serf working in your ruler’s field in order to earn a scrap of bread? No, I thought not.
    #4. “I can’t afford not to shop at Walmart for some things.” – seriously?? You call them out but then use that cop out? Either you shop there and condone the treatment of their employees and those of the manufacturers they use or you shop elsewhere and pay that 3 cents extra to buy your shampoo and put them out of business!

    My parting words of wisdom: Expand – look beyond what is right in front of you…the person who runs into you in the intersection is likely just as unhappy about the inconvenience, pain, expense as you are. The world and it’s people will continue to change – assist it in positive change and continue to lead others in that direction; just don’t forget to learn from those who came before (we may just have some wisdom too).

    • Laurel,

      I believe we’re pretty much on the same page here. Your arguments #1 and #2 I thought I’d covered with the whole “Life doesn’t owe you anything” section (at least I tried to…perhaps unsuccessfully). I like the way you phrased “mistaken belief that the world revolves around you,” as that is exactly what I was trying to get at. Your argument #3 is also exactly what I was trying to say by encouraging people to stop half-assing their desire for social change by posting on social media or whining to each other and instead engage in a productive way, as you correctly point out has been done in the past and some continue to do. As for #4 (Walmart), I’m not talking about a 3 cent difference in shampoo prices (and let’s be honest, it’s more than that, anyway), and that complaint was somewhat unclear (and for that I apologize). I don’t think I’m condoning their business practices when I save $100 on a barbeque or $50 on a bookshelf or office chair, when I’m doing that to make my own limited resources go as far as they can for my family. I feel it would be irresponsible of me to spend more than I have to in order for my family to live comfortably. Yes, some would say we don’t need that barbeque, bookshelf or office chair, but that’s a different argument for a different time.

      Thank you for engaging in the discussion in a positive way.

      Mike

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