Oh the pressure! It’s bad enough that we have to stay young, look skinny, be trendy and professionally successful. But it’s all supposed to be meaningful and for a “life purpose” too? Who has time to have good hair AND care about other people? The good news is that you can appear to be values-driven to the point where people admire you for it, even when you don’t give a hoot. Here’s how to look like you have a meaningful life:
Post a sad picture.
Put a picture of a sad looking puppy on your screensaver or paste a clip of an article about the plight of street puppies on your cubicle wall. Make up a speculative fact to affirm the dire future: “If people don’t spay and neuter their pets now, by 2020 there will be 1.9 billion homeless dead puppies.” Think sad photo plus exaggerated fact equals I’m an amazing human being.
Cry at the news.
Baby dies, refugees starving, another café bombing. And you are on deadline to decide whether to go with the smiley or hungry emoji for the employee potluck notice! God, and now you have to be brought down by world tragedy? Who has time? So, look up from your computer and make eye contact with someone and say things like “I know, it’s awful.” “Those poor people.” “I don’t know how they live with it.” They don’t, they’re dead, but no one will see the illogic if you end with a sigh and a sniffle
Wear a “cause” t-shirt on casual Friday.
First off, let’s thank the breast cancer fanatics for the fact that simply wearing the color pink screams “look, I care!” If, god forbid, you actually got roped by a friend into doing one of those 5 or 10k kind of things, order your shirt 2 sizes too small or have it tailored so that it will actually look good on you at the office.
Set your phone alerts to LOUD.
Whenever an alert comes in for Likes on the selfie you posted on Instagram of your #nightout, stop everything you are doing, hold your hand out to pause conversation, get a serious concerned look on your face and say, “hold on, it’s an alert from Save the Whales. They’re rescuing a baby-whale-in-need. Can you imagine? It would have died!” Whatever organization or cause you choose, use words like “rescue,” “in-need” and “would have died.” After a reasonable moment, relax and lower your hand, and say “Shwooh—looks like he’s going to make it.” Be sure not to laugh at the actual posts you are reading.
Appropriate other people’s stories.
In addition to knowing exactly how many children the Duggar’s have you can get great stories from sources like People Magazine to share as examples. You will never have done the things like those in People’s “Heroes Among Us” and “Why I Give Back” columns, but by association you will appear to care, such as: “Did you hear about the 10 year old in Oregon who raised over $100,000 to send books to school-children in Brazil? So amazing!” These examples show compassion but are done by people who are either too old or too young to actually have a life.
Subtly undermine others.
You will never win by outright criticizing someone who has built a Montessori school in an inner-city neighborhood or who has rescued pets in Thailand after natural disasters. But you can get people to think less of them with statements like, “It’s so amazing that they volunteer so much time to such a worthy cause. It’s no wonder they don’t have time for a relationship.” Or, “I hope they make time for their own kids while they are helping all of those other kids.” Making others look bad makes you look better.
And now you have a meaningful life.
So, go look good and have fun. Good news, by the time you actually care about having real meaning in your life, you’ll know exactly how to act.