Yep, so I’m a bit of a flighty bird. You can tell, ’cause I never finished that last post on our honeymoon. Let this summarise the rest for you: It pretty much ruled.
Well, you know, I’m pretty busy with all the stuff I’ve got on. You know, just, like, such a go-getter. Honestly, between Tiny Tower and Tiny Village and my new Hatchi, I don’t know where I find the time to do anything else!
Seriously though, not having a job or any commitments or really anything that requires me to think leaves me with a lot of time to, well, think. I guess I’m becoming a bit of an at-home philosopher, thinking deep thoughts without any education or research to back them up. “But that’s okay,” I say to myself, “all the original philosophers we still draw from today didn’t know any of the junk we know now. I’m literally as qualified as they are to think things.”
And that’s the story of how being unemployed put me on par with Plato.
In my ample free time, though, I do tend to take on what I’ve just dubbed “mind-projects”, that usually just involve holding something in my mind for a long period of time and coming back to think about it frequently and/or applying new knowledge to it, or old knowledge that I’d never considered related before.
That was pretty rambly, but it’s a good way to think of things in new and different ways. Anyway, I hope you followed, I’m not very good at explaining ideas that have thus far only existed in my mind.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom. Freedom of choice, freedom from slavery, freedom to do whatever comes naturally. And I realised that, despite what people might think, there is very little freedom in today’s world. I only have my own world-view to draw on, here. I’m not going to pretend I know what it’s like being a man, woman or child in a third world country, for example. It seems to me though, that there are a lot of restrictions on a society that claims to believe in freedom.
Of course, it goes without saying that some, even a lot of these restrictions are in place for a good reason. Things like, I dunno, laws. Laws are primarily in place to protect you or someone like you, so you learn to respect those.
Now, call me a hippie-communist if you will, but I think the daily grind, the 9-5 attitude is one of the biggest restrictions. It’s hugely necessary in a capitalist world, so don’t think I’m putting any of you down. I guess I’ve just been given a new perspective on the whole thing since Tim and I went through a, thankfully temporary, bout of being cripplingly poor.
It comes down to money, like it always does. In a capitalist society you need money to live. Live in the sense of surviving and in the sense of thriving. So you work to get money. Someone, somewhere decided that it was normal to work during the day. I guess that makes sense. So to function in the world, you get a 9-5. Now, theoretically that 9-5 is less than a third of your week. In a 24-hour cycle, 8 hours working, 8 hours sleeping, you still have 8 hours to play with, right?
Well, no. Not really. Once to take into account the commute to and from work, preparing meals for you and/or your family, hygiene and maintenence, not to mention the half-hour to an hour of exercise they want you to get everyday, you’re looking at more like 4 hours. That’s your recreational time cut in HALF. But they’re all things you need to do.
So finally you sit down in front of the telly with your other half, dog or cat happily snoozing on your feet thinking, “Man, life can’t get much better than this!” Until you fall asleep, because you’re fucking exhausted from all the other shit you need to do.
But it goes even further than that! It’s not even just about the money. Sure, it’s a large part of it. But as someone who is living in a house with my husband who is working full-time while I am not, let me tell you, there is a huge societal pressure to get back to work.
As we’ve become poorer and I’ve become more and more aware of the fact that I’m not working, it’s become clearer to me just how much the world judges you by what you do. Particularly around Christmas time, when there are a lot of parties and a lot of people you don’t know, I would have literally nothing to break the ice with, because I don’t have a job. Or worse, I would become some sort of freak-show, because I wasn’t working. “Oh, you don’t work? Oh. Weird. Why’s that?” Then I have to explain the whole long story about why I’m not working, a lot of which is pretty personal, and I don’t want to have to explain to strangers.
It occurred to me the other day how weird it is that, not that long ago, not only would it have been acceptable for a woman not to be working, but expected. Now, feminism has flipped on it’s head, and I’m still not accorded a choice, it’s expected that a woman will work as long and hard as her husband. That’s okay! That’s totally valid. Don’t get me wrong, woo feminism.
I just feel like, without a job, I don’t have an identity. So there’s the instinctive pressure to join a society of people where we’re all working toward the same or similar goals, we all think the boss is a tool or the clients are jerks.
So we’ve lost the freedom to make THAT choice.
I guess all these thoughts of freedom have to do with a new D&D campaign I’ve been running. It’s sort of an open world type thing, so I’ve been trying to let my players do literally whatever they want. I’ve also been doing a lot of reading about the world they’re playing in, and the book will talk about a particular race’s “fierce and individualistic nature and their desire to forge their own path in the world.”
I read that and I think absently to myself, “Man, I wish I could do that.”
“… … …Wait a second. Why can’t I?” And then I stare into space for a minute thinking of all the restrictions.
Since we got back from the UK, I feel I’ve been bitten by the travel bug. I see the world around me and think, “I know these roads. I’ve been here before. I want to be somewhere new.”
But there are so many obstacles. Financial. Emotional. Psychological, not least.
I don’t know what I want to do with my life. But I know I want it to be with Tim, and I know that I want it to be everywhere. But at the moment, I can’t even get out of the house. I don’t have the freedom to go to the Galleria and see a movie if the whim strikes me, because I don’t have a car to drive there, and I don’t have the money to pay for it even if I did. Sure, Tim could drive me, and he could pay for everything. But what if he’s busy? Sick? Doesn’t want to go? I don’t have the ability to make that choice if I want to.
So I stay at home and play videogames all day. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good life. But it’s not what I want.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is probably why I’m depressed and anxious. And you know, it just spirals from there. Why don’t I do something about these things? Well, there are more obstacles aren’t there, more financial and psychological ones. Why don’t you do something about those? Well, I’m trying, but you try climbing a mountain without any gear.
Yep, I didn’t mean this to turn into a rant about me. Just kind of ended up that way. And now I’m going to stop, before I depress myself out of doing anything today! At least I’m self-aware enough to know when enough is enough.
6 thoughts on “A rant.”
There’s a cool quote from Tolstoy about this, ” Money is a new form of slavery, and distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal – that there is no human relation between master and slave.”
I totally get what you’re saying. I feel trapped by the structure I feel like my life *should* have that I can’t manage to maintain. I don’t know what to do about it, I just know that trying to make myself fit that mould, and my constant failure to do so makes me unhappy.
Oh Tolstoy, you always know what to say. But yes! Exactly! This!
So yeah! My first instinct is to try and say something that will help, as you know, because… well I guess that’s just what I want to do. But there’s not really anything I can think of and you’re not really asking for help in any case. But I am glad you always want to stay with me, and I will always support you while you figure out what you want to do. I love you very much!
I’d maybe forgotten a bit how smart you are (oops :P)
It makes perfect sense how/why you feel this way. Society does put a lot of pressure on you to get out there when you are unemployed. It pretty much pushed me to re-begin my studies, but try not to let it control you too much. Make the decision you want to make to get the result you want. Fuck everything else! 😛
We’re all behind you and will support you whatever you do, but the most important thing is that you want to do it. Do it for you.
Miss you. See you in a few days!
I think you’ve met me all of about once or twice, but I’m the mother of the adorable baby from the video. I went through a few years of being a depressed, unemployed recluse before deciding to be an animator, living with my then de facto partner, and thinking a lot. I know exactly how you feel! If you ever want to hang out with me and the cute one (now a toddler and learning to talk), just say the word!
I just wanted to say thank you for your blog post. I wish we weren’t so far away from each other so I didn’t feel so helpless and unable to hang out with you and cuddle you all the time. I know you’re brilliant and I think his post just goes to show it…Plato? Pah! What am amateur!
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