True Life: I have nothing to complain about

True Life: I have nothing to complain about

by Drew RiebhoffLifestyles Editor

While I sit and attempt to thaw from the Arctic freeze that has settled over campus, I stare at the Mount Everest of homework that sits before me – chapters to read, texts to analyze and papers to research for – I can’t help but bitterly think my life sucks.

I begin to ponder all the things that seem to be wrong with my life: the dating game I consistently lose, the car I drive that has no front bumper, my bank account that never seems to have money in it and the list continues.

And as I begin to get comfy on my big ‘ol pitty pot, I remember that while I have all these things apparently going wrong with my post-adolescent life, the only tragic part of my life is that it isn’t.

I remember that while I’m still freezing while wearing my Abercrombie and Fitch pea coat, sweater and thermal, there are kids freezing on the streets only wearing jeans and a sweater some kind soul gave them.

While I’m starving because there’s not leftovers in the refrigerator and I’m too lazy to spend five minutes and make Top Ramen, there are families in Africa starving because the last meal they shared was a bowl of rice, split between five of them.

I get too caught up in all my “poor me’s” to realize that I am actually A-OK.

Sure, there are the “sad day” weekends when I have to scrounge through my car and desk for loose change and gather up all the empty beer cans I can find to get enough money to buy a case of “Natty Light.”

But, at least I’m doing it at a college that I’m able to afford thanks to student loans and financial aid. I will eventually get that bachelor’s degree that is one day going to get me a well-paying job.

I forget about the privileges I have as a man.

That it’s 99.9 percent certain when I enter the real work force my salary will be higher than my co-worker with the exact same competency, just because I have a penis and she has a vagina. Or that when walking the dark streets of the city the thought of rape doesn’t even cross my mind. It’s the only fear in my friend’s mind as she walks back to her car after a late night at her job as a waitress.

I’ve volunteered at homeless shelters and food pantries. I’ve seen what it’s really like to have nothing. I feel bad and realize I need to be more grateful about things, and I am, but it lasts one, maybe two days. Then I’m back to being my ungrateful, American, youthful self.

I get upset when my room is too cold, annoyed when the bathroom has no toilet paper, and I think it’s unfair that at the age of 20, I’m not allowed to legally drink. Meanwhile, men my age in Darfur are more concerned with the fact that every day, they are watching their sisters and mothers get raped and beaten while their home is destroyed by a raging militant group supported by the government.

I got mad at mom and dad as a kid when they grounded me for doing something I shouldn’t have. I thought they were unfair child abusers, when in actuality, I could have had a childhood like Dave Pelzer, whose mother routinely beat him, forced him to live in a cold basement and “accidentally” stabbed him because he didn’t wash the dishes in time.

After hearing story after story about the people in Darfur, children like David and people who really have no homes, I sometimes wish that maybe I could have a legitimate tragic event happen to me, and no, I’m not a morbid, masochistic freak. But maybe then I would actually realize what I have and be grateful for it.

Yes, I have the homework, empty bank account, and at times, annoying parents who remind me that I need to stay out of trouble. I get down when I have no one to party with on the weekends or when the GAP doesn’t have my size in the coat I wanted. But really, these events that rate nine or 10 on the Drew-o-meter scale of importance, rate at about a -20 on the scale of life.

So really, in the end, while it may seem pretty tragic that I have to get up at 7 a.m. to make it to my 8 o-clock class every Tuesday and Thursday, the truly tragic part is that I think it is.