The Paradoxes of Everyday Life

In this assignment of analyzing our everyday lives over seven days, I surprisingly learned a lot about my identity, our generation’s identity and our culture’s identity. I paid close attention to my daily rituals and the objects that I come into contact with day in and day out. One of the main things I realized is that our culture and generation is obsessed with always needing to progress forward and always needing change. Repetition is often seen as the opposite of progression, which is why people often think that their mundane routines are problematic. But, in reality, it is our mundane routines precisely that define us, and the reoccurrence of them progresses us forward as we learn about our environment and ourselves. Without the repetitive, automatic routines of life nothing would be special and life would be chaos. While it is true that sometimes routines need to be broken, it is also true that the routines in life are precious. Not everyone in life can say that they can easily do those same routines that we do every single day. In reality, our every day life is not as mundane as we think.  John Lennon once said that, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.” Those passing thoughts, and daily tasks that seem inconsequential are actually the most influential to our character as a person. In my observations of everyday life I encountered many paradoxes and learned more about myself than I could have ever imagined. After all, isn’t it the continual repetition of the waves crashing against the rocks that create breath-taking sculptures in them?

At Least I Have The TV…


One of the most routine practices for the majority of Americans is that of watching TV.  Especially with technology being the center of our culture, I find myself not even noticing the number of television screens that I come into contact with during my every-day repetitions. When I decided to pay attention to the amount of TV I watch in a day, I was astounded. If someone were to ask me how much TV I watch I would immediately say that I do not consider myself to watch that much TV. I then realized that most people would also reply with that answer, even though we all do watch a lot of TV, especially compared to previous generations. It also made me realize how much I do not like the quiet, unless I am doing homework. Maybe it is the silence that scares me because it reminds me that I am alone in that moment and not doing anything important. Our society is so obsessed with having forward progression in our lives, that when I am in the quiet I feel lazy and as if I should be doing something better with my time. But why is it then that when the TV is on I feel like my time is more occupied? Especially with the Olympics going on right now, I find myself adding more TV in my daily routine, which probably means I am avoiding something…

Consumerism at its Finest

One of many trash bags

One of many trash bags

My mom likes to joke that my dad’s side of the family’s motto is “I could use that someday,” as they do not like to throw anything out. Perhaps that is why I avoid looking at the trashcan in my day-to-day life (or its because of that weird stench that none of my room mates fess up to). But, throwing stuff away is one of the tasks I do most every day. In reality, what is in one’s trash can tell a lot about their life. Like the saying “one man’s trash is another’s treasure,” the habit of throwing everything away would be astonishing to people of an earlier decade. Our society has grown into a consumer society, and we are all in the habit of consuming something and then throwing it out. Until this assignment, I never really understood how much of a consumer I was. The amount of stuff that I waste is mind-blowing. It really says a lot about how my generation thinks. Everything is so readily available to us, literally at the tips of our fingers with the Internet, that when I have had something for a week I am already over it. I constantly find myself saying that I have nothing to eat and nothing to wear, when I have a full closet, a full fridge and full trashcan. I always want to unwrap something new, and that is why I find taking out the trash a part of my daily routine way too often. I have no doubt that this will catch up with my generation in the future though.

Taking the Path Less Traveled


Robert Frost would be proud

I realized that something as simple as the route I take to class says a lot about our society and myself. Even though I have sidewalks paved out for me to get from one point on campus to another, I find myself creating my own short cuts in spite of the strategic street plans. Our society feels the need to always be moving and not wasting time, so instead of walking five extra steps around a corner, I simply cut across the carefully manicured lawn that someone else spent all morning grooming. I also find myself not waiting for the walk sign to switch from “Do not walk” to “Walk”. Yes, I admit, I am a serial jaywalker. But, then again isn’t everyone in America? We are indeed a country with little patience for things like corners and walk signs, and I am guilty of it. This idea of always being on the go is literally and figuratively foreign to other cultures. For example, in Europe they behave quite the opposite way; they are never in a rush and even have built in naptime where the whole city shuts down for a siesta. That’s probably why they are so fascinated by the hustle and bustle of New York City, and why I want to live there when I am older.

Attn: Cannot Drive Without Corrective Lenses


Sorry Audrey, but I wear them better

Another mundane task that I take part in, on most mornings, is that of putting in my contacts. And, if you couldn’t of guessed this from my previous observations about my life, yes I do wear disposable contacts. I put my contacts in every morning in between brushing my teeth and combing my hair, unless I am having a lazy morning and opt out for my glasses (which seem to be the majority of days recently). I definitely, without a doubt, take my contacts and glasses for granted. I realize that that sentence was repetitive but I did that for emphasis, because I would almost literally be blind without my glasses. I have no idea what people of previous era’s did without them. If I existed 200 years ago I would only see blobs of color… that sounds miserable. My contacts allow me to notice the details in life. I distinctly remember the first time I got glasses and put them on and realized that trees do indeed have leaves. No wonder my art teacher never understood why I drew trees the way I did. But starting today I am vouching to really wear my lenses, and by that I mean notice everything around me and not take my vision for granted.

“They Didn’t Just Grow Legs and Walk Away”

Although, I remain convinced that it is possible

Although, I remain convinced that it is possible

One thing that shouldn’t be something that I had to think twice about, but did, was the fact that objects cannot move on their own. When you step back and think about it, it’s a strange concept. I say this because part of my daily routine is trying to find my keys. Even though I swear I always put them in the same place, for some reason as soon as I am about to walk out the door I cannot find them. My roommates always laugh when I walk out the door only to walk back in and say, “Wait, where are my keys?” Objects cannot move unless we physically grab them and place them somewhere else. As much as I wish the world were Toy Story and things came to life, they don’t and I have no one to blame but myself for always misplacing my keys. This has showed me that so much of what I do is subconscious. I walk in the door and throw things in random places and immediately am thinking of what my next task will be. I never take the time to come in to my apartment and smell the roses (literally since they are everywhere after Valentines Day) or appreciate what I am privileged enough to come home to. Our culture almost makes it shameful for our generation to want to be home; we should be out experiencing the world while we are young. Perhaps that is why I can never find my keys; they are trying to tell me something.

Always Watching


Cameras are similar to TV in our lives in that we do not realize how present they are. Not only are they attached to everyone’s phones so that your friends can capture every embarrassing moment that happens to you, but they are also in the corner of every room for security. One thing I have noticed about our culture is how rare trust in strangers is. It’s not surprising since every time we turn on the news there is a new story of a random shooting or some other tragedy, but it is sad that we can no longer trust strangers. So much so, that even when a random man is walking towards me in the parking lot I tighten up and prepare for a fight, when he simply is just walking to his car and says “Hello” as he passes by.  Shame on me for doubting him before even knowing him. So gone are the days of children walking to school by themselves, because all that comes to mind now is an episode of NCIS where the child was kidnapped and never seen again. I pity our generation for not trusting anyone.

These Shoes Were Made for Walking?


For my last observation I decided to examine an object that women wear very often even though if you were to take an x-ray of the position of their foot in the object you would cringe in pain. Have any guesses what this object is? That’s right, the infamous high heel. Sad but true that the high heel is apart of many women’s daily routine. My mom wears them every day to work and I usually wear them every time I go out at night. Why though? While we technically do have a choice, when every other girl is wearing heels and you are not, you look out of place. That’s not to say that there haven’t been nights that I have worn boots out, but those nights are highly outnumbered by the nights I wear heels out instead. Rain or shine, if you are driving down route one when students are going out, you will without a doubt see almost every girl wearing heels.  When I thought about this part of my nightly “going-out” routine, I realized the influence that the power of groups has on us. It is way easier to go with the decision of the group, than to stand on your own. We all have an unconscious drive to identify with a group. Why do I wear heels out you ask? Because everyone else does. I am not sure how I feel about realizing the power that others have over me, but I would say it’s a combination of good and bad feelings. Sure there are power in numbers, but there is also power in the ability to be independent.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s