When you think of just about any happy person, they have an interest. Of course many of these interest, especially at the high school level can be destructive, there is something that people are really involved with.
But as time moves on, admittedly people get involved in fewer and fewer things. From intellectual study, to getting drunk in bars, people settle down and do less. This is not, however, to say that people should not have areas of interest when they get older. In fact, it's really necessary to maintain any sort of healthy lifestyle.
In the case of my parents I've been thinking. I wondered why they were always angry, always bitter, and always mad at me. I think what it comes down to is neither of my parents do anything as an interest. My friends parents do cool stuff. They get involved, they laugh, they go to the gun range, they go to Starbucks and read, they go to a play. They for god's sake golf, play tennis, etc. Although admittedly I do not have a firm grasp on how these people operate their lives, it is safe to say they all have something they are fairly passionate about. After a hard day at work they come home and do something. Some parents play video games. Some parents play board games. Some go for walks. My parents do none of the above.
Thinking in terms of what my parents do, it is indeed a bit depressing. My dad listens to various NPR podcasts while running, coaches my brother's soccer team (he knows next to nothing about soccer and does it out of a feeling of duty rather than interest) and then reads the anti-planner blog ( http://ti.org/antiplanner/ ).
My mom watches TV, does stuff around the house, helps my grandma, and complains. Complains about everything. Politics, the fall of western society, my homework scores. She walks every morning with an eccentric liberal neighbor who makes her angry all the time. Then she blames her wait gain on her thyroid. She also drinks quite a lot of non-alcoholic beer. Oh yeah. What a fun beverage. Box wine is #2 on her list.
But the defining factor is neither of my parents have friends. Not really in each other. The romantic date is far away from reality. My mom has very few friends. None live closeby. When we moved she made no new friends. Then she complains about how my grandma doesn't.
My dad really has no friends. He seems to talk about this lorry lady that my mom gets pissed about for some reason. He hates his job. He comes home, my parents yell at each other, my dad MUST GET 8 HOURS OF SLEEP OR HE WILL DIE, and they repeat.
This all came up when I realized my parents might be compensating a bit. My mom was complaining about how I don't get out enough. But I got invited to a birthday party that lasts until 1am. It'll be a fairly tame affair, I think. Probably wilder than anything I've been to, but that's saying nothing. And they said unequivocally no, without looking into it. My parents would have much better lives if they could learn to stop stressing, spend a bit of their money to have menial things like taxes done (mom could go back to work as UCSF graduate pharmacist and make more than my dad) and HAVE FUN.
Get out of the house. Do stuff you find fun. Be friends without offending people.
I really feel sorry for my parents. Their lives must be pretty damn boring.
The Average American
I go to an above average school. My teachers are above average. My area's wealth is way above average.
I go into Gov class yesterday. We talk about demographics. And holy shit, people are stupid. But there's more.
I've been on the AP track all 4 years. In terms of demographics there are tons of Asians and Indians, especially in math and science courses, and white me is certainly an outlier. But I never realized how stupid the average person was, how little they understood about the world, and how little they put in. Furthermore, I never understood just what kind of activities these people did.
I was unable to get AP English (probably a good think lol) I am in regular English 12. There are some people who don't try, but they stay in there and get As and at least finish stuff. And then there are people that don't. Practically nobody is in Calc AB. I get surrounded for help on everything.
But the problem with this picture, is if people cannot distinguish between their they're and there, cannot recall what sine is, and still be in the top 5% of High School students with an Outstanding API and high test scores, something is fucked up.
In a discussion with my highly international (and anti-nanny-state as he frames myself) econ teacher, we brought up http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2094427-1,00.html . He had lived in South Korea for a couple years.
While he could not clearly advocate that system over ours, we began to discuss how the heck we'd be global competitively. While parents in Korea dished out big money for tutors, and Korean exchange students asked "why is there not more hw" while counterparts groan in discuss (with English as a foreign language for these people...) something is screwed up.
People ask why America is in decline. It's education. And it's not all this "blah no child left behind shit" It's a huge cultural misperception. You don't do shit in America, you get a reasonable result.
I hate to break it to the populace, but there isn't much manual labor in the US right now. Construction industry is where it was. And now where is that?
As my chem teacher brought up "few people knew that if you lost 50k on a house, and you resold it, often times that was larger than your down payment; you can't make ends meet"
The general American populace is in fact unemployable. Recently we've seen a shift back towards America for manufacturing (says ABC news), and I would believe it. As we finally see the masses of India and China get educated, these two groups of people who see education as a way out of their problems will, unless something is done, simply roll over the united states. They won't complain about wage, they'll do better work for less.
My overall thought is that somebody needs to say "the american dream doesn't come to you: I know there is the 99%, but it really isn't all the fault of the 99%." College educated individuals don't have much unemployment; even high school grads aren't that bad off.
So give a shit. No candidate will run on the "the populace of the USA is unemployable, lazy, and destined to failure" ticket. But it's looking increasingly likely that will happen.
He advised, that if I wanted a career in business, to get the heck overseas and into Asia. Maybe he's right.