Saturday, February 14, 2009

Six Billion Stars

It's interesting to think about the population of our planet. Six billion of us. That's a lot of people. A couple days ago I wrote about how families differ in their consumption - mostly based on their income, but sometimes based on their inclinations.

I think it's human to spend what we can. It's also human to want more; it's part of our genetic makeup that keeps us improving our chances of reproducing and continuing the species.

There's another aspect to our makeup which drives us, though - our desire to stand out - to be noticed - to be a star. It's the thing that makes some women starve themselves nearly to death so they can be photographed. It's the thing that makes some men subject themselves to repeated head injuries and trauma for the sake of scoring a winning touchdown. It's the thing that makes people gush out their innermost secrets to Maury just for a moment on TV.

The sad thing about this quest is that the moment is never enough. As soon as it's over, we want the next moment and the next. Only a few people will ever attain the kind of stardom that lasts a lifetime, and old age has a way of catching up even to them.

I'm not immune. I could care less about most "stars", but I'm insanely envious of J.K. Rowling and Angelina Jolie. I find myself getting catty about it, too; Rowling just writes for laughs, after all, and Jolie couldn't possibly be a good mother with the schedule she keeps, right?

Ouch. I wonder if there's an antidote for our desire for the spotlight? Maybe we can cultivate a desire to be one of the crowd - the crowd that's heading in the right direction.

That's how I feel about blogging, really. Yes, it would be nice to stand out. It would be nice to become a super-star of simplicity and sustainability, but really the whole point is to join in the conversation. One person can make a difference, but a whole bunch of people can make a big difference. My job is simply to chime in.

Besides, my real aspirations aren't that big. All I want is a life that includes lazy, sunny afternoons with time enough for gardening, reading a novel and shooting the breeze with good friends. That's my definition of a star-studded life.

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