We live in a society where we are constantly bombarded with advertisements, sales and competition. We’re always on the lookout for the next Banana Republic sale and who has the new iPad. We obsess about how skinny Eva Longoria looks in a bathing suit. We judge ourselves and others based on unattainable ideals the media portray as realistic. In reality, these standards are designed to make us mindless consumers. As long as corporations enjoy wide profit margins, they’re not going to do a damn thing about the downfall of our society.

Life is not a business transaction. Being a valuable individual is not about spending time and money accumulating material goods. It is not about saving time and money at the expense of health and happiness. Life is about attaining a balance, about having multiple human experiences as one develops; it is about constantly bettering oneself. But some individuals desire to spend their lives chasing fame and fortune. Honestly, what is wealth without the support and smiles of a loved one? Without the bonds of friendship and love, life amounts to nothing other than empty gestures and artificial relationships.

So you’re at the local Giant and instead of purchasing the organic apples that are obviously not waxed to death, you buy the cheap, toxic alternative. The only reason you do that is because it is economical. In the end, you’re spending your health rather than your riches. What will your wealth do for you when you’re ill having ingested so many poisonous pesticides and hormones? The answer is most definitely not medication. In fact, medication doesn’t cure a person of an illness. On the contrary, it only causes the illness to subside for some time, only to reappear later in another form. Saving that extra dollar at the risk of opening a gateway to a future illness is not a transaction I’m willing to make.

By becoming an individual who demoralizes others only to harass and criticize them, a person is playing by the rules established by corporations. We shouldn’t judge one another by material wealth or by physical weight. We should accept one another and weigh each other’s hearts and intentions. We should purchase food that nourishes us rather than food that harms us. We shouldn’t slave away in the office to inflate next week’s paycheck just so we can buy new Ray-Bans. By all means, buy Ray-Bans — but not at the cost of your time and well-being. We should use that extra time to build lasting relationships with our lovers and friends. Lastly, we shouldn’t ever use the fashion industry’s ideals of beauty as a standard for comparison with our own distinctiveness. The essence of this life is to find a balance that enriches our experience. I can tell you one thing is for damn sure: I don’t owe my money, time or health to Gucci, Kim Kardashian or the food industry’s vile inorganic apples.