TWO THINGS THE U.S. TAUGHT ME

People who never leave the US only hear the stories of people who came here because they had bad lives.  People who struggled.  Who lived with violence and war.  But if you ask me, I think most people in the world, almost anywhere, are happier and feel safer than people do here in the US.  Anyone outside of a war zone.  That’s just my opinion.

I didn’t come here for a better life.  I came here because I fell in love with someone who convinced me to move here, and I think about moving back all the time.  He keeps saying, remember how little you earned at your job, honey.  But I tell him, it was enough.  And it was relaxing.  And the whole pace was just calm and smooth.  No panic.  No fear of getting laid off, getting in trouble, getting fired.  People were just laid back, the customers would stop and talk, nobody was running.  People didn’t complain all the time.

People find out I am from the so-called “third world” and they act like, oh wow!  Lucky you for coming here!  You must have learned so much by living in this great industrialized heaven!  Like how to use electricity and climb down from the trees – okay I am being sarcastic here, but I want to be completely sincere, without trying to denigrate the great things that this country has meant to so many people.  I really do get that for some people it is a lifesaver, but not for me.  I have learned just two things here.

One, to be scared.  Two, to worry.  If you have only lived here, you don’t notice.  You guys are scared.  You are scared all the time.  Scared and worried, and never really relaxed.  Never at peace.  Never just feeling like, hey, this is enough.  There is an overall sense that you need more.  You have scarcity pictures, and you live in them all the time.  You don’t have enough.  You don’t feel like enough.

You worry about having insurance.  You worry about having a job.  You worry about having enough time.  You worry about keeping your job.  You worry about getting a house.  Then you worry about keeping the house.  Then  you worry about fixing your house.   You worry about having kids, then you have kids and you worry about your kids.  When can you relax?  When can you enjoy your life?  When can you say, enough is enough?

If you ever travel outside the US, you will notice that the people you meet, no matter how poor, are more relaxed than you.  Happier than you.  More at peace.  Enjoying their lives more, and not wasting it in worry.  They have decided that they have enough to be happy, enough to live, already.  They have decided that they are enough, and what they have is enough, and their family is enough.  They have enough!

In my country, I had a tiny apartment and a tiny salary and it was enough.  It was adequate.  And I was happy.  And I was relaxed.  And so was everybody else.  We got along.  We had enough.  So am I lucky to be here?  No.  Did I gain so much?  No.  Not from my perspective.  Because I didn’t need what I got here – stress and worry and fear.  No thank you.  I don’t need it.  I hope I can move home some day, and the first thing I will do is take a meditation class, so I can unlearn what I learned in the US.