I went to the dentist today. Such appointments are often fraught with anxiety for many patients. It is an experience which, unfortunately, is associated with pain and stress. There are those who would rather put it off, to avoid the discomfort. It’s a curious thing, and a matter of some irony that people avoid imminent pain at the cost of greater pain in the future.

There’s something very human about this thought process, and it permeates much of our society. In case you were wondering, my teeth are fine. I’ve been gifted with naturally good dental health in life. However, my dentist did point out that there is evidence that I’ve been grinding my teeth.

It’s something I’ve caught myself doing several times. I could be doing it for several minutes before I even realise and the thing is – it really ruins your teeth like nothing else. I can’t remember how long I’ve been doing it for. It’s hard to put a start date on something so subconscious.

But I’ve been doing it. I’ve been aware of it, so I must be doing it often enough. It seems to often happen when I look at my phone. When I read articles online, for example.

Interestingly enough, my stress levels have been far lower recently. For the past five months at least, I’ve been quite healthy and level headed. It’s been easy to take care of myself and I’ve generally been quite industrious with my writing too.

I’ve been more aware of what’s occurring in the world, though. It’s painful to notice the terrible crimes committed by democratic governments. We are told to believe that we’re living in freedom in the modern age. Perhaps that’s mostly true, relative to say, a hundred, two hundred years ago.

But it’s not enough to say that people should be satisfied with comparisons. I’m unsatisfied with being told I should be grateful about how much better I apparently have it than previous generations.

It’s not enough. Democracy and freedom are bought only with constant vigilance and constant dissatisfaction. The moment a society is content to rest on its laurels is when decadence begins to rot it away from the inside.

I’m told that my generation complains too much, or that we’re too ungrateful, or that we should work harder or do more. I can’t help but see the things that are wrong and be upset by them. The daily grind for me is not difficulty with my job, with my family, with anything else like that, but daily feeling helpless to right the wrongs of the world.

Because the people responsible for these things, in the government and in the corporate sector, are completely beyond the reach of people such as myself. I can stand here and rage about the atrocities committed on Nauru by my government, or by the Trump administration in the United States, but there is nothing I can do.

That’s the true daily grind. It’s the reason I’m stressed enough to grind my teeth without being miserable with my life. That’s the paradigm that people in my generation in this country inhabit.

Perhaps this doesn’t quite resonate with you so well. I certainly know I could ramble on a lot further, as I did for a recent essay writing competition that I mentioned.

This isn’t the most uplifting of my blog posts. I usually try to give a good message at the end, or provide some uplifting lesson. I’ll give it a go.

The most important thing we can do, and the greatest gift we have in a democratic society, is the right to vote. If you’re not happy with the people responsible for this action, then vote. That is how you escape the daily grind. That is how you do something about the world. That is how you give your country a chance to change… for the better.