As Orange County residents, we are particularly spoiled. We live in a luxurious setting, filled to the brim with extravagant lifestyles and beautiful surroundings. Our roads are constantly being re-paved to avoid those pesky potholes that would surely prove to be detrimental to the alignment on our fancy new BMWs. As a whole, we have little to be concerned about except which pair of Marc Jacobs heels we are going to wear tomorrow.
The rest of the world views Orange County as a truly glamorous place, thanks to television shows that focus solely on the pre-teen drama found in the upscale high schools that overlook the local beaches. Our parking lots look more like luxury car showrooms, and even a simple trip to the grocery store is a fashion show displaying the latest trends.
We are a privileged group, yet despite all we are blessed with, we rarely seem to appreciate anything. There seem to be more stressed-out and angry people in Orange County than anywhere else. Road rage runs rampant on the 73 toll road, and children at the mall shop on the verge of tears because their parents put a $500 limit on their credit cards. These are petty trials, insignificant and unworthy of our precious brain waves. Sure, it is awful when a rhinestone falls off of your jewel-encrusted cell phone, and the design that was once a sparkly pink crown now resembles an inbred Stegosaurus, but it’s just a cell phone. There never should have been any Swarvoski crystals there in the first place, regardless of what the invisible “Hot or Not” judging panel that everyone seems to listen to has declared about cellular devices.
We just care about too many worthless things, when there is plenty to worry about outside of our warm and safe OC bubble. There are people, real live humans, that live elsewhere and have far less than we do, yet have a higher quality of life. Could it be possible that you truly can be happy in the world without having a little dog that you can carry around in your designer purse? It really is a little distracting when the woman in front of you at the grocery checkout has a purse that pants, whines, and yelps when prodded.
But caring about the world is hard work. It requires escaping our day-to-day lives and not retreating to the intoxicating comfort of what we already know is safe and secure. We are fascinated with ourselves, enthralled with all of the glittering aspects of our greasy and over-stuffed lives. It seems easiest just to succumb to the insanity of our own minds, letting our thoughts and personal views take over and wipe out the real world like a plague, leaving only the facets of our minds that we deem worthy. While this behavior is enticing, it leads to a sort of self-centered insanity commonly found in the patients that reside in white-walled hospitals, set deep in the woods for clarity, mental healing, and a peaceful environment beyond the sharp barbed-wire fences. We can avoid that fate.
Just because we live lavish OC lifestyles does not make us any lesser of people than other locations in the world. We are incredible beings, but our minds are just clouded with what we think is important, rather than filling our heads with issues that we actually should be concerned about. A large majority of us don’t even have jobs, and still rely on our parents for weekly allowances so we can go shopping with our posse, loitering at the local malls and wreaking havoc in the Nordstrom dressing rooms. We mope and groan about having to settle for a used Range Rover rather than a shiny new one, despite the price of gasoline, but who cares when your parents pay for your gas card? These are juvenile quandaries, frequented by young and naive high school students, not by cultured and intelligent college students.
It is time for us to grow up and start giving a care about the rest of the world, and yes, there is a world beyond the city limits of Mission Viejo.
There are other countries to see, history to study, and cultures to experience. So many people in the world live dramatically different lives than we do, and we will never get a good view of this if we keep running up and down Oso Parkway with our OC blinders strapped securely to our heads.
It is time for us to change our reputation and prove that we aren’t as spoiled as MTV portrays. Getting a good look at the world we live in can help us to change the way we see ours and maybe make a difference. We are the next generation, and it is about time we started making the future something to look forward to, rather than a world controlled by text messaging and Facebook wall posts. We were born with the ability to think and reason, and instead of fritting away that gift on senseless decisions, we can make a conscious effort to explore and learn how the human race makes it through the day outside of our precious OC bubble.