How often do we ask ourselves what it must be like to be in somebody else’s life, rather than the one that we are leading? It is all too easy to sit and think that the position somebody else is in is a much better place than the humdrum existence that we are leading. I guess the old favourite, maybe even clichéd saying now, would be wishing for the life style of the rich and shameless (or is that rich and famous?) just because you have had enough of being skint (brassic, potless, not a ha’penny to rub together, and lots more!). Money is a very good blinker for making us forget what actually is real and what value really is. For example, if somebody close to you dies, can you actually replace that human being with money? There just seems so much emphasis on a monetary value in society that it appears that everything we come into contact with needs to have to have a bar-code (has anyone else noticed how big the compensation culture has become?). But why not just stop for a couple of moments and ask our-selves; are these millionaires/billionaires really deep down, in their hearts and honestly happy? Can you in fact buy happiness (another cliche?)? How many of us know personally, people that are described as comfortable,( affluent, well off, he’s got a bob or two), to find that they have to pick and choose their company (friends?) very carefully, as they are constantly worried whether or not people around them are on the beg for what they can get; or if they genuinely do want to know them for who they are and not what they are? Or they may admit that their pampered lifestyle and affluence has not let them actually experience real life I.E. they have not really lived with their fellow human beings and to forge relationships, as they are far too worried that anyone getting to know them will constantly be coveting what they have. This brings to mind another age old cliché, that the person brought up with the silver spoon in their mouth is unable to perform such a simple task as making a cup (pot?) of tea for example, as they would perhaps be more at home getting the hired help to do it.
There is also another age old saying that many of us would know, which is “the grass is not greener on the other side”. It certainly may seem that way a lot of the time, especially at first glances, but we just need to take a step back and really think about some of those silly thoughts that run through our brains. Take for example police officers, professional people who get a lot of criticism, a lot of it bad sometimes. How often have you heard someone in a conversation running them down for something that is in the news? Maybe you have been the one running them down?! (I may even have done it myself occasionally!) But let us just think for a moment. What if you were a police officer and you have just been called into a man’s flat to arrest him for paedophilia? Would you be able to do your job and not get so angry that you want to kick him around the floor? I am not sure that I could myself, even knowing that violence is not the right way; after all, two wrongs do not make a right. I found that this was summed up very well some years back in an advert for the police with Chris Eubank in it and he is seen at the end wringing his hands in intense frustration and anger. Another good example is that you may be called out to an absolutely horrendous RTA, clearing the highway of mangled metal, scraping bits of bodies up off the thoroughfare and basically trying your best to restore the order that the general public have become accustomed to. Then right on the heels of such appalling duties your very next job could well be to go to the address of the next of kin, to inform them of the dire news of their loss. Again, I am not too sure if I would be able to do it, whilst still remaining detached enough to do my duty efficiently. In a room full of people discussing something like these examples I have thought of, possibly even the pub where so many debates happen, how many of us could actually do the job? It is definitely a certain type of person that is to do a job like a police officer.
I was a butcher once and met many people who did not understand how I could do that. But if it is dead already then I could handle that, it is not as if the lump of flesh can feel anything anymore. I must admit though that on my first day I wasn’t too sure as the first job I got was hanging up some offal in the fridge. It is incredibly hard to do this when you’re looking away from the ox head that just keeps staring at you! After a while though you get used to the fact that there is no life there and that it isn’t staring at you. I could not be a slaughter-man however, that would involve killing the animals; I know that I could not do that. Yet again a specialist job, destined for somebody skilled at that particular trade. They have to have a certain type of caring to make sure that the animal doesn’t die under any stress because that will have an adverse effect on the meat making it not such good quality and lowering the shelf life I.E. it will not last as long. This is also the mind set of people who eat Halal meat as they believe that if the animal is distressed in any way then they will not slaughter it.
Similarly, somebody in the nursing trade where constant caring is needed for huge numbers of different people, means that they too have this duty of care towards their charges. We all like to think of ourselves as kind, considerate and caring, but, it takes a special type of person to be able to wipe the backside of somebody that we once knew was able to do it for their self. Or to have to feed them because an accident has left that person paralyzed.
There are many more examples that we could no doubt debate and research but the most important thing to remember is that no matter how down or depressed a person may get, or even if they are just pissed off about life in general, there will always be somebody worse off than your self (another cliche!) So let’s not worry about the material stuff that is not owned, or the bloke down the road being so much more affluent than we are. Think instead about what we all possess, much more valuable (priceless?!) things like life, health, friends, family, freedom of will, a planet that sustains us (for a little while longer at least!) and most of all the ability to be able to rise against adversity when the need arises! Let’s live life…