In my last article, Are You Entitled?, I spoke of a common self-centered outlook that seems so popular these days. I have received a number of emails from people stating that they have no choice but to "take care of number one", lest nobody else do it.
I get that we need to take proper care of ourselves and of our physical and mental wellbeing, but whatever happened to "It takes a village or "No man is an island? Have we forgotten that we can not do it on our own in life? What about a look toward the heavens, to a higher power? Isn't there something in all of us that realizes that we are better when we partner with others in this wondrous existence called life?
So why do many of us think we're better off by alienating others out of our scene? Where did we learn that was a good idea? It's almost like we are the reality show contestant; on a mission to win the race, and do it all by our lonesome. Could it be that we're living our own reality show, or maybe even emulating those ‘reality stars' we see on television?
The topic of reality television came up over dinner with friends and my Sainted Father not to long ago. Turns out at age 74, even he's watched the A-List New York; recalling controversial bad boy and model wannabe, Austin Armacost. "Great drama", he said. Even my Besti chimed in for Snooki and the gang on the Jersey Shore; indicating that they emulate the real-to-life activity of today's youth.
Could it be that we would love the attention of others so much that we use any tool we can to raise awareness of ourselves? Having bottle service at a club, for example, can be a fun treat. Most think of it as a special occasion where friends can join in celebration and conversation over great service and tasty libations. Has anyone else noticed that it's now more of a seen-and-be-seen in social mores? Snag the most expensive bag; (via going into debt) buy the biggest car; or walk the red carpet. It can all be quite alluring. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing erroneous with having nice things and living life to the fullest. I just happen to think it should be balanced with a degree of charity and compassion for others.
Ask most young people today, what they want to be and many will respond with, famous. I guess one can understand that. You get nice things; can travel the world; go to great parties; and meet Rosie. Who wouldn't want that? When all is said and done, however, it's who you love and who loves you that really matters. (My opinion) One of my mentors used to say "At the end of the day, when you lay your head on the pillow; you've got to be happy with you and the choices you've made".
I believe he is right! I also believe this world lacks true mentors, instead looking toward the example of folks in the movies or on television. This reality can't be that real. Now, don't get me wrong, I love a silly show watching others getting in to and out of jams, or winning the contest. They are an hour of mental chilling out. I just don't think these are the folks we should always want to be like.
Did you have a mentor; someone who looked after you and lead by example? Do you know someone that you could be a mentor to? My pal Trevor is that for me. He hails from my hometown; studies at IIT, has a terrific boyfriend, and is always one with questions. I see so much potential in him. There is great compassion and desire to be better. If my taking an interest in his wellbeing and personal growth helps him in the smallest bit, then I am blessed and he's better for it.
I'm pretty sure Trev doesn't expect this attitude and commitment from me. (His Sainted Mom does!) As far as he's concerned, I'm his old pal Bill from Seattle. But when hard weeks hit, or he's meeting the boyfriend's parents for the first time; I'm the one he knows he can text. I'm certainly nobody special, just somebody available. Who can you be this for? I learned this reality from my mentors and Trevor will teach this availability by his example.
So, with the quasi-example that is Snooki, what on earth are we to expect out of the real world? I've not had the opportunity to meet Snooki. I can't say she's a bad person. I'm sure there are a lot of fun things about her. I also have to mention that Austin was one sweet guy and we had a blast the night we met in Chicago. I just have to ask, if this is the state of our future, and these are the role models and mentors of our potential; will we ever know what is real or what is fabricated? It's a open secret that most of the reality shows are produced to the point of hype rather than honesty. They don't seem to capture character; they capture craziness. That isn't real.
I've known Ronnie Kroell for a long time. I knew him before "Make Me a Super Model", Playgirl, or the movie "Eating Out: Drama Camp. I know his heart. I know his desire to impact others. I know his drive to challenge people. I know that more than anything he wants to make a difference in this world. I know this because of the years of friendship we've shared.
Be with Ron for more than five minutes and you'll run into this philosophy. It's what has propelled him in the decisions he's made. One of my favorite things about him is his ability to have a lot of fun and the skill to make the most of every 'difference making' moment. He also holds great potential to be and do even better. He's also one to seek mentorship and to be a mentor. I'm pretty sure he takes this more seriously than anything else. He is grateful for the countless investment people have shown him and goes out of his way to pay it forward.
Now, this isn't meant to be an I-love-Ronnie article. I merely want to convey how much I respect and believe in him; to express that not all ‘reality stars' are unable to be a role model. Ultimately, we must choose the best examples to follow and emulate. We too should strive to be good characters in this life-vision. It may sound corny, but at the end of the day, we can lay our heads on the pillow and be prideful of impacting others and the difference made.