You Can Have It All… why don’t you?

God I love this woman. This column would be worth it alone for the brief examination of the subtext of that famous slogan of western culture. Commercials often use variations of "you can have it all," yet subconsciously we start to ask ourselves why we don’t have it all. Then we feel bad that we don’t have it all, that we don’t have a life, that we’re not exceptional, that we’re not beautiful, or what have you. Which then leads to widespread dissatisfaction. Which then leads to further consumption in the pursuit of having it all. And the cycle begins anew.

Are you satisfied with your life? I know I’m not, but I’m not quite sure why. I’ve noticed, though, that when I’m bored or don’t want to do the stuff I should be doing, I go shopping. I usually buy DVDs that I probably don’t need, books I could easily get at the library, or CDs I don’t need. Jeanette says, "What power have we when our leaders lie to us…no wonder we pick up the credit card and go shopping – at least when we buy things we feel we are exercising choice and control."

The choice and control thing stuck in my mind because I’ve read many times that addictions are sustained by the desire for control – you know what you’re getting and it makes you feel good. Whether you’re shopping, drinking beer, or smoking anything, Process A leads to Reaction B, and who wouldn’t choose to feel good when the alternative is to feel empty and bored? Granted, some processes are healthier than others, but there’s a kinship between all of them in that they are processes that produce predictable (and therefore comforting) results. Add to that whatever amount of chemical pleasure the process produces (be it alcohol, nicotine or just natural endorphines), and you’ve got a formula for addiction.

Typing this, I also discovered "beings" and "begins" are anagrams of each other.