I just finished the most intense and profound elliptical session I have done in some time. Likely it was because of the constant stream of pandemic updates, the intensity of nearing the end of my workout time, or the very loud music. Whatever, I drifted off to a very deep place in my thoughts that filled me with emotion and I just had to share.
I always intended this new blog to be an outlet for me to share the things I learned as a retired old guy from the newest, whipper snapper generation. They’ve created and easily adapted to the new ways of doing things and I didn’t want to be left behind. I still believe they have so much to teach me. However, today I am using this post to share a lesson I learned from reflecting on my younger self and didn’t really realize…until today!
During my career, I worked in marketing and enjoyed the challenge of every part of that job! Throughout my career I always knew deep down that anything I was marketing was not life or death-it was just “stuff”. I believed we all had free choice when deciding to buy or not, so it seemed perfectly fine. Essentially all marketing will encourage people to believe a product or event is an important, valuable and necessary addition to their lives. Marketing professionals use various tools to connect your inner most emotion to owning a specific product. Marketing is very successful if you either feel like you NEED it or HAVE to have it! Better yet, if you worry you’ll miss out on something that will be super important to your life. That, of course, is by design, and the point. Normally it’s not a big deal for me. Well, until now!
Each and every day, wherever you look, you are being influenced by messages from someone, something or some company! Friends will be sharing with you (consciously or unconsciously) what’s the newest addition to their life, things they just can’t do without, and you need as well. Companies are telling you, through slick marketing, that your life will NEVER be complete until you add this new, improved, updated or upgraded thing to your life. Governments in power and in opposition are trying to convince you, with carefully chosen words and partial truths, that their way of doing something is better than the other guys.
Today, while I wiped the sweat from my forehead and pushed harder to get in a few more minutes on the elliptical, I drifted off and had an epiphany….I might have been part of the problem! It might be time for all of us to rethink how we look at and react to ‘Marketing’. Maybe we need to think abut how and why we’re making our decisions and re-evaluate the priorities in our life!
There is no denying the COVID-19 pandemic is going to force change on every part of our lives. Not just from an economic way, but also socially and literally in every way we live or consume! It may force us to rethink our priorities, what we do or don’t need in our lives, and that might not be so bad! Those marketing messages trying to sell you a new bangled bracelet so you feel feminine, loved and special may not be as important as the hug your loved one gives you. Maybe the latest off road vehicle with every possible upgrade won’t get you any closer to that loved one if they’re not there. Maybe your 2000 square ft house will be just as warm, filled with laughter and smiles from those you love rather than that 70 inch TV! Do you remember how hard you worked to get those things? Do you remember how many moments you gave up to get those?
These days everyone is working so hard to have more…even those of us in retirement. The world of marketing tells us daily how important the stuff they are trying to get you to buy should be to your life. Is it really? Especially because so many have to work extra, the latest or biggest may not be what you need to be a better person! The message that it’s okay, you can do this, because you’re superhuman, is that really what matters? You can do it all! Are you? I worked in that world and still find myself falling for those messages of more, more and more!
It made me very sad when I heard about the increase of Coronavirus cases around the world. I hear about the increasing numbers of people, mostly elderly who are dying and how so many others are self isolating or quarantined. I see pictures all over social media of how everyone is panic buying the ‘essentials’ just in case. Except for the TP thing, I understand filling your pantry with essentials like food during this pandemic. That kind of purchase makes complete sense to me. Maybe take a moment today and reflect! Recognize that all around you is “stuff” you thought you needed, and question if they should be the priority in your life.
I am very blessed with all the things I have and I live very well. I would never suggest you don’t have the same opportunities or wishes! I am so grateful that every day I get to share my day with the most important person in my life…and now finally, spending more time with our families and friends. As well, No amount of “stuff” can replace the joy and happiness I get when we have those people together for our amazing Jamboree weekend. I get giddy excited to get together and share time with people who fill us full of wonderful moments just with their presence.
Today, it’s not really an understatement to say we are faced with a serious health concern! It will likely force us to change our priorities! Who gets care, who lives or who dies seemed like an impossible situation anyone would have to deal with just two months ago. I try to be an eternal optimist so I still believe it will never get that bad. This could however be the perfect time when we all take a moment to realize that the ‘stuff’ marketing is trying to sell you isn’t going to change your life as much as the people in your life. I’m sorry I tried to convince you otherwise, but maybe I can make it up to you today!
I’m so glad they invented FaceTime!
Pick up your computer or phone and Facetime someone who is important to your life and tomorrow do the same to someone else. I am going to do this, often, and I am sorry if you’re not looking your best with your bedhead when I call, but I just want to see and hear you! You look good mom!