Putting life into perspective (stop bitching)

Every now and then we are all guilty of it. We will start to complain about this or that and the various things that piss us off in life. For example: My gripe right now is the fact that I have to deal with construction noise which is just part and parcel of living in Da Nang, Vietnam. There always seems to be some level of construction noise emanating from the neighborhood, no matter where it is that you live. Even though there is no demand for housing due to the complete collapse of tourism in the touristy area that I live in, there are more and more condo buildings going up on a daily basis.

I complain about this in my own head, to my friends, and to my family who live in various countries around the world... then I went on a bike ride the other day to get over the stress of being in such a noisy environment and things got put into perspective or put in check, if you will.


I went down a random riverside road that according to everyone that I know, nobody ever really travels towards because there is "nothing down there." Well, there was a road and almost no traffic so this is actually quite ideal as far as poking about on a bicycle is concerned and I found this.

These are fish farms according to my Vietnamese friends and the netting and the floats as well as the sheet-metal housing is where a small group of people live 24 hours a day. They have very little in the way of technology, and the only way for them to get on or off their "property" is to take a canoe ride over to the shore and get onto a ramshackle motorbike to go procure supplies.

These people are desperately poor and while I am over at my seaview condo complaining about someone hammering away all the live long day, these people will live their entire lives considering what it is that I complain about as if it was a dream that could never be accomplished because they are destined for a life of destitution for all of their lives.


This is how a large majority of people in Vietnam and most of the countries in the world's population lives. They survive on a couple of dollars a day and I won't even look at a potential teaching contract unless they are paying over $12 an hour. If I were to be able to talk to the people in these poor conditions about how I am unwilling to work for ONE HOUR for what they likely make in several days they would probably tear up and not understand why I would turn down such a novel opportunity.

If they were to hear that my completely air conditioned condo with a view of the sea is something that I complain about because there is some noise next door they might want to slap me because they almost certainly deal with much more real issues such as having potable water and the ability to use an actual toilet.

I think that all of us could use a little bit of perspective in our lives and realize exactly how good we have it every now and then because this one bike ride really put my life into check. As I biked home on my bicycle (which I also complain about constantly) and parked it in my garage at my condo that has a security guard 24 hours a day I really started to realize that maybe it is time for me to stop complaining about stuff that doesn't matter at all. Maybe it is time for me instead to lend a helping hand and see what I can do to help these people out of the abject poverty that they are destined to live in their entire lives.

Maybe it is time for me to stop being such a little


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