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ARE YOU KIDDING ME?: Don’t do it!

I’ve just about had it with the current mindset that we must do EVERYTHING INTENSELY!

There’s a car commercial on television that’s a perfect example. It admonishes people right off the bat. I’m definitely paraphrasing here because I don’t remember squat, but it goes something like, “If you’re going to run…RUN! If you’re going to play…PLAY! If you’re going to drive…DRIVE!”

In their particular car, obviously.

It’s the same thing with a cereal commercial. “If you’re going to eat...EAT!” They’ve got serious looking actresses sprawled on the kitchen floor holding up a cereal box and dumping the flakes right down their throats, after which they wipe their mouths with their forearms, like they’re wiping up blood from a fight. There’s no need for a bowl, a table or a kitchen chair because we’re SERIOUS about EATING! And if you happen to be on the floor, then DO IT!

Give me strength.

When did iron will, perseverance and mighty effort become something to strive for when you’re sick with the flu? Think of all those cold-remedy commercials that show people running around in the rain or at the gym shaking huge coiled ropes because you’re not going to let feeling miserable stop you. You’re not a loser.

I don’t want to suck it up when I’m sick! I want to curl up in a comfy bed with several quilts over me while hubby brings me chicken soup…. or lately, in my case, ick-pea soup. If I’m sick, I owe it to myself and humanity at large, to stay hidden. I need rest and lots of fluids, not a five-kilometre race.

When did gentle things go out of fashion?

There is nothing lovelier than a meandering stroll, but have you ever tried to have one when you’re not on a country lane? It’s not going to happen, because you’re mowed down by speeding cars, 10-speed bikes, skateboards and the deadliest of all hazards, people in a hurry.

A hobby used to be painting, gardening, or knitting. Now its parachute jumping out of airplanes, base-jumping off a cliff in a wingsuit, or swimming with sharks. It’s like the world is hooked on adrenaline. Look no further than people who eat poisonous pufferfish. I don’t want to die at the best of times, but I sure don’t want to shuffle off this mortal coil while eating fish and chips.

If we weren’t constantly being told we need to do better, be better and want better things, would we be so worried about everyone else? Maybe not, but the trouble is, now we’re aware of what the whole world is doing.

Back in the old days, which I seem to yearn for, rightly or wrongly, our only concern was our neighbours’ grass. The guy next door. He was the only one we had to fret about. But now, thanks to the internet and Google and YouTube and Instagram and Pinterest, we get to see five billion lawns and can instantly see how we measure up. And when you’re comparing yourself to that many people, you’ll always come up short.

So, my solution is to stop looking, which sounds ridiculous, but maybe not. And while you’re at it, stop going so fast. Stop trying so hard. Start being sluggish. Tune into your inner sloth. Sit down when you drink a cup of tea.

Take lessons from your cat or dog. Granted, they get the zoomies from time to time, but when the day is done, they drape themselves all over you, the bed, the couch or your favourite chair, with not a care in the world.

We need to gently, softly, slowly, relax. And tell the world to take a flying leap.

Lesley Crewe is a writer living in, and loving Cape Breton. These are the meandering musings of a bored housewife whose ungrateful kids left her alone with a retired husband. Since all her pets have now died, she's very cranky. Her 11th book, Are You Kidding Me?! Chronicles of an Ordinary Life, (a collection of her various columns over the past twenty years), will be available in book stores in September 2019.

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