You don’t have to live in Sarnia long enough to know that there isn’t a whole lot to do. After you eat fries under the bridge, and then take a look at the beach (and if you’re lucky it will be summer and you can go for a swim) you are pretty much out of options. So what do we all do? Well normally, a lot of us got in trouble a lot. We would throw water balloons, do pranks, drive fast or sing songs on street corners; and that was just for us youth group types. Anyone else basically partied; and they partied hard. Booze, drugs, sex…you know the drill, it was all part of the regular lifestyle of most Sarnia teenagers, young adults and funny enough most adults. If you live in Sarnia you are probably connected to someone in the high school years who has died or been severely injured because of drinking related accidents, I know quite a few myself, probably around ten of them total in the last few years.
Basically a huge negative for Sarnia is that people have a lot of time and not a lot to do. It might be why festivals are big hits in Sarnia. Bayfest brings in over forty thousand usually every summer (this year with Aerosmith and Def Leopard), then we have Riverfest and Ribfest and Art Walk and Gospel by the Bay (haha, yes that’s right) and the list never ends. It keeps people occupied on the weekend and in controlled drinking environments.
A good majority of the people I knew from high school are still doing the same thing as they did in high school. Work something meaningless during the day and work towards the weekend. You will have a hard time hanging out with people if you aren’t a big drinker, because most activities usually include getting smashed and then doing anything next on the list. I think we have just resorted to drinking because really there is not a lot to do, and that is our creative response; not a whole lot to do looks a lot more exciting with a buzz.
At the same time, (I think this is true for probably ever city) work comes first. We’d rather work overtime then spend time with our family. We’d rather work 40 hours a week then spend 20 of those hours doing something we love. We love to work, because we love our stuff. We love to work because we love living in our nice comfy houses. We love to work because well, work means success and we love to be successful. We have lots of time here in Sarnia, (we are on the same 24 hour clock as everyone else for you Americans), yet I find that we spend it funny (as do I most cities). Working seems to occupy most of it, and then the time that we do get off we spend on the bottle or at some party. Now I realize that parties are great because of the social environments, and so maybe I’m wrong and these parties are just people building relationships. I’d like to hope I’m wrong, but I fear I’m not, I’ve been to these parties, and most relationships are built on talking about the last time there was a great party.
So here in Sarnia, we live to work and work to party and gather stuff. We’re not off to a great start. Maybe we should all just sit back a little and question where our time goes. Do we really need to work as much as we do? Do we really need to spend as much time as we do somehow pursuing more and more money? Do we really need more money so we can have more things or so we have enough to retire? What else could we do with our time? If we took 10-15 hours a week that we should be working and put it towards something else, what would that be? Do we even know? What are we working towards? Retirement? Could there be something that we work towards? Is financial stability our goal? What does that even look like or does it change every five years? Or maybe out partying our last party is the goal? Where does that leave us?
A lot of questions I’m left with when I think about how us Sarnians use our time. A lot of questions I’m left with when I think about how we don’t use our time. Hopefully I can come against this, but the pressure is on.