Adult Reality Check 101  

Maxed out but still living large!

Maxed out, taxed out, lay-offs, a slow economy, it doesn’t matter to some families who won’t withdraw from life’s meaningless materialistic marathon.

Lotteries and windfalls have changed how society envisions life, and not necessarily for the better. Fortune and financial security used to have to be earned and worked at. In today’s society, any one of us with a dollar has a chance to have it all.

The what if? “Wouldn’t it be nice” became a normal way of thinking for many. And in some cases this affects how we live.

Many people carry a discontent with their life, a dis-satisfaction with what they own, and a sense of despondency with where they’re going. Their cars, homes and toys are no longer satisfactory; they’re not the stuff that dreams are made of.

Sadly, with easy credit available to many people, some have chosen to create their own little windfalls.

Yet for many decades our dreams, expectations and lifestyles were planned within realistic parameters.

You went to school, got a job, got married and budgeted accordingly. The life you lead, the trophies you acquired, were a result of the effort you put in. Unless you were blessed with some special talent that might take you farther; an athlete, an actor, a musician, no-one ever expected wealth overnight.

But what happens when the lottery doesn’t deliver? When the windfalls don’t come? When the material stuff, the grand MacMansion, the luxury automobiles, the boats and toys, doesn’t come quick enough?

Many take the easy road, and take chances with their future, resorting to credit or home equity loans to build a kingdom of fabricated facades.

Society has lost clear sight of what really brings happiness with a deluge of indulgent living ideals fed to us through the media. People have come to feel they just deserve and are entitled to riches, that the aspired high life can be lived today and worked for tomorrow.

And unfortunately, this fails miserably to impress anyone, but does teach our children a very troubling mentality. The new cars, the over-sized homes, they mean nothing in the era of easy credit. Today’s status symbols can be owned by anyone with credit availability.

Historically one would see the doctor, lawyer or business man owning such trophies.  Today, it can be blue collar, white collar, and even part-time worker, all living large and with little regard to their future.

And then, the egotistical spending whims of parents become behavior modeling examples for our children. Many parents demonstrate weak values and narcissistic tendencies and just can’t say no to their children’s material wants.

And like any other parental possession, the kids need to be as hip and happening as the house, cool as the car, and having only the best toys. Parents actually believe their kids can make them look prosperous, to neighbours, peers and teachers, as if their children’s appearance equates directly to healthy successful parenting.

Walking, talking, trophies, that have learned appearances and living for today is more important that earning and saving for tomorrow.

And worse, because many parents haven’t taken the time to mentor their children, and set good examples with money management, the children see a series of pitiful examples of parental monetary irresponsibility, and realize that why should they be responsible, when their own parents are so weak-minded, they can’t even say no to themselves.

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About the Author

Jeff Hunkin is a 47-year-old Community Service Worker working with autistically challenged male adults in Vernon. The son of a retired Edmonton city policeman, Hunkin was raised and educated in both BC and Alberta. Hunkin continued his studies of the Human experience for over 10 years, in 7 provinces, 3 states, 15 cities and at least a 100 postal codes.

At times he has known the privilege of materialistic wealth and at others lived in a world of harsh poverty.  He has loved and lost more than most people see in a lifetime, he has been a free, happy and unbridled spirit, yet for a period of time, imprisoned within the depths of depression, all the while studying and observing the human experience unfold before him.

Hunkin's subjects are the very topics we usually discuss in our staff rooms, coffee shops or dinner parties. For whatever reason; being fear-based, being politically correct, or just no mainstream media theatres of discussion, these subjects rarely see the ink of print. HER side, his side, their side, your side, you may not like it, but someone will. Hunkin will take it, talk about it, run with it, roll with it, and see where it takes us all.

If you want to contact Jeff Hunkin about this week's column please e-mail - [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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