Upon leaving a friend's fancy baby reception (istiqbal) at a hospital; my friend, M, makes a comment about how the Kuwaiti society has become materialistic and "shinsawi? ba3ad...".
She said, there's really nothing to do about it and you have to play along.
Although that sentiment is not new, I find that the people who make such statements are often justifying their excessive behavior*.
Putting a stop to the "let's top that" attitude takes some effort and gumption.
A long conversation followed about society, materialism, and our role in it but these are my thoughts:
We create our own realities, live our own lives.
"We" are not "chithee". You are.
(1) We choose our social circles.
Although we don't choose our family, we do have some say in our social circles. If it bothers you so much, or you're trying to get out of it, don't be around people who are self-obsessed and materialistic. (I'm not saying its easy...I'm saying its possible.)
(2) We choose to care.
Very few people actually deeply care about what we do, wear, etc. They need a topic to discuss. People won't care that you didn't have a fancy baby reception at a hospital, they don't want to worry about inconveniencing their selves by having to visit you at home. Some might talk because they have nothing better to do.
The problem is that regardless of how strong or mild the social pressure is, we don't want to have to deal with it. We don't want to stand up for what we believe for a single second.
Isn't that why we end up with a crazy hospital bill (that has little to do with the medical care we received)? To have other people come in dressed to the nines only hours after having a life-altering experience, choosing to spend that precious time away from our babies and partners?
Isn't that why we buy cars that take up a big chunk of our monthly income? To prove that we have money to other people. God forbid we actually live within or below our means. That would mean we're middle class .
And I truly apologize for this statement but if your parents are rich and you have a crazy expensive car that you can't buy on your own, then you're a mooch.
Today's lesson: Quit complaining. This is a mess of our own making. Let's work on fixing it.
*She recently bought a car worth around KD 25,000. She makes around KD 600 per month. Her car note's around KD 250. And complains about being penniless before the end of the month.