SMOG (Small Minded Objectives & Goals)
It’s 4:30am in the middle of July, 2013 in Leon City, Mexico. My girlfriend and I are climbing the steep staircase leading to a balcony of Universidad de la Salle Bajío which overlooks the city. The cool morning air was nipping at my heels and throat, each breath like small needles in my chest. As we rounded the last flight of stairs I saw the dim light of the morning sun coming over the mountain side. I motioned to my girlfriend to hurry or we might miss the spectacle. Our methodical walking quickly became a jog of excitement all the while more and more of the city came into view. Our hands reach the railing at the same time almost as if planned and we both gasp at the beauty of the horizon. But as the sun peeked over the mountains beauty took on another form. There was a thick layer of fog over the city blocking much of the concrete jungle from view. I turned to Andrea and asked, “How could there be so much fog over the city if Leon is so dry?” Without even hesitating and while still staring deep into the morning sun she responded “That’s not fog hunny, that’s pollution”. It wasn’t the answer that startled me so much as the quickness of her response and the relatively normalistic way she said it as if it was just the way things were. I being from the state of Oregon, had never before seen SMOG in real life. Oregon has some of the cleanest air in the United States and it’s something I alway took for granted. The city below me looked like any normal Foggy morning in Oregon but that’s the thing about deception, you never know you’re in it until somebody else shows you a different perspective. Until light or “truth” shines on your conditions you have no real way of knowing rather you’re breathing in clean morning air or something more sinister.
This image is still ingrained in my head, a metaphorical truth that has stuck with me all these years. A warning to always be aware of my surroundings and to never accept life on face value. As I’ve grown older and more experienced in life I’ve noticed a disturbing truth which is that many people, possibly the majority.. have no idea they are metaphorically breathing in polluted air in the way they live their lives. Their perception of life and meaning are darkened by conventional truths. When 84% of the population lives in Urban areas you have to ask yourself if those conventional truths are there for your benefit or are they there to keep you from climbing that staircase to a new and elevated viewpoint. I say that as if it were all planned by some malevolent being but believe me I know that’s not the case.. I am no conspiracy theorist. The truth is that Society as a whole has created a comfortable existence with the advance of technology and information. We as a species no longer revolve around survival. We have been freed to pursue a more meaningful path.
I hope that you as a reader are starting to intuitively understand the similarities between polluted air and a comfortable existence. Life without change and growth is a life that’s slowly dying. We must challenge ourselves daily to be better, to go further, to overcome our own roadblocks. We must compare ourselves to who we were yesterday, not to those around us we view enviously. You HAVE to stop thinking small. You MUST build for yourself ever larger Goals and Objectives if you are going to live life above the SMOG. So the next time you catch yourself staring into a screen looking for that next dopamine hit, remember this story, and remember that there’s more to life than you are aware. Just look at it from a different perspective and be inspired by what you see.