Keeping up with the Kardashians

I’m 44 years old! Yep, 44 …and I can still remember my science teacher back in the mid 1980’s talking to our class about statistics. Mr Newland was my teachers name, he was a rather interesting character. I remember sitting in Mr Newland’s class while he taught us about statistics, and how they can play a part in our lives. I don’t remember the first part of the class, it might have had something to do with a particular boy, my hormones and a little wink 😉 But I certainly remember the second half. Tall, lanky Mr Newland was explaining to the class about how many of us won’t live to enjoy our senior years. During the lesson, we were tasked with calculating percentages regarding who would be injured in a road accident, who would succumb to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. By the end of the class I was a tad shocked. According to the statistics back in the 1980’s, less than half of our class would live long enough to enjoy our retirement years.

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As I have grown older, I have seen for myself just how those statistics played out. Breast cancer, bowel cancer, heart attacks, car accidents – over the years I have watched friends succumb to many of life’s awful diseases and tragedies. To be 44, I feel lucky – is that the best word for it? Fortunate? Maybe even blessed. 44 is still so young, but in many ways it isn’t. Media reports tell us we are living longer, but not healthier. On the Australian Bureau of Statistics website, it is documented that in 2011-12, 62.8% of Australians aged 18 years and over were overweight or obese. The information comprised of 35.3% overweight and 27.5% obese. A further 35.5% were of normal weight and 1.7% were underweight. Even though life expectancy is on the rise, so are illnesses. According to the Cancer Council of Australia, an estimated 130,470 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia this year, with that number set to rise to 150,000 by 2020. Worse still is the fact that 1 in 2 Australian men and 1 in 3 Australian women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85. Yes – 85!!

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And it isn’t just illness and disease we have to contend with. How many of us are struggling under the weight of our governments decisions. Of our own silly choices! Of our own inability to wake up and stop spending money on crap we don’t need! Australia has been titled one of the most indebted countries (for household debt) in the world. Sydney house prices soared 52.6 per cent over the past three years, with Melbourne not far behind, Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said. In Sydney, the median house price is $1,013,258, while Melbourne’s median house price is $719,486, latest Domain Group data shows.

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2016 and how many countries are in a recession? If your lucky to be living in Germany, Singapore, Canada or Australia think again. Despite the fact that none of these countries are currently ‘in the red’ on their budgets, life is still far from fabulous. Unemployment rates, cost of living, the housing market, cost of medical attention and eduction is very high, in fact it is higher than it’s ever been. And yet we are all still trying to Keep up with the Kardashians. Lavish holidays, expensive clothes, luxury cars, a house in the inner suburbs. We want it all, yet most of us cannot afford it. Did you know that there are about 16 million credit and charge accounts in Australia? Over the past 20 years the money owed has risen from just under $6 billion to almost $50 billion!! – But is that stopping anyone from trying to look like they have it all? It seems not.

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Life is so much more – no, a hell of a lot more important than Keeping up with the Kardashians. Let me ask you this, when was the last time you purchased something for yourself? And I don’t mean food, I mean a sweater, a dress, a new pair of shoes that you honestly didn’t really need? Ok, now think of this – When was the last time you and your partner went for a walk along the beach and watched the sun go down? When was the last time you and your partner sat down together and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and spent time just cuddling and talking? Our priorities are in the wrong places. I don’t mean everyone – there are some of us who can afford to splurge more than others, but most of us, most Australians are not on easy street. I just don’t understand why people feel they need to look like they have it all. It’s surprising how many people are still renting. They could have put a deposit on a home 10 years ago but they just had to live in the “best suburbs” had to have their kids in “the best private school”. They don’t even own their cars. The parents have maxed out their visas on Wayne Cooper and Stella McCartney while the kids wear Big W and Kmart. Nothing wrong with either, but it comes down to what you can afford.

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Life is to damn short to play the “I have it all” game. You don’t know if and when you will become another statistic. What good is your Collette Dinnigan gown if you’re not around to wear it?! If you do make it to your senior years, what do you want to remember? What you had hanging in your cupboard or the wonderful memories you enjoyed with your loved ones. As far as I am concerned, the Kardashians represent opulence, over the top consumption, greed and materialism. If that’s what gets your rocks off, then good for you. But I would rather cuddle up to my man at night knowing I don’t have to worry about the power being turned off. I would rather go out for dinner once a month and know we can afford it rather than charging it to the credit card because I don’t want to be seen going without. Life is too short, and its damn fickle. It’s about the wonderful moments that put those great big smiles on your face. It’s about making memories with your loved ones, enjoy it, you only get one chance.

x x x

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