Just checking in. Sometimes, it’s just nice to know that other people are alive, and breathing, and struggling, just as you are; or, if you happen to be having a good time with your life, enjoying it, sucking the marrow out of existence and whatnot, then kudos to you, I say: you have found some measure of happiness in a world not designed for fostering it.
A lot of the time the struggle, for me at least, is just not getting angry at the things happening in the world, because getting angry whilst sitting in my room does nothing whatsoever. I get angry at everything: companies who choose profit over people, exploitation in developing countries, racism, sexism; and even the less life-and-death situation things, like the lack of diversity in Hollywood and on Australian television, or how people who have lots of money tend to just keep it all to themselves.
Actually, that last one irritates me immensely. The current economic equality that exists across nations is disgusting. Clearly our planet contains enough resources to feed everyone, yet there are a few money-grubbing groups of people, mostly centered in first-world nations, who hold most of the wealth, and in those countries, a tiny 1% of the population hold MOST of the wealth, while the rest of us are “wage slaves”, having to trade hours of our lives for a roof over our heads while some CEO lounges in his holiday home, drinking wine.
Really, the complete lack of compassion and selfishness of some people is unbelievable; I want to reach out, across space, and wring each and everyone of their necks, though doubtless that would do little in convincing them to donate some of their cash. If I were the owner of $60 billion dollars, I would donate practically all of it – because, honestly, how much money do you need? What use is there, in buying objects, and transitory, physical pleasures?
For my part, all I need to be happy is a room of my own, water, cheap yet nutritious food, shelter, some blank books and pencils, and a laptop and an internet connection. That is it. Obviously in some countries this is considered an unprecedented luxury, but in first-world countries, where people often eat out and like to spend money on clothes, it is a pittance. But as a writer, I, like many people, need very little money to be happy. Instead, I prefer to devote my time and energy to creating Art, rather than, well, pretty necklaces or flashy cars.
Unfortunately, if the consumption of our society is anything to go by, this view is not shared by the majority of people. I think there is a lack of understanding of the link between happiness and money – that is, it’s a poor one. Anything that money can buy will only bring you fleeting happiness. It has been found that once household incomes exceed $75,000 a year (which, for me, who lives in a low-income household, is already astonishingly high), happiness does not increase relative to salary.
What does bring people happiness, however, is devoting their lives and times to work, to whatever makes their hearts light up, putting in the hours and the grind until you create or make or do something you are proud of. Ultimately, the end goal isn’t to be the person who is surrounded by luxuries when they die, but the one who can pass away with a smile on their face, knowing they have lived a life well-lived. Time, in the end, is true wealth: You have only one life to spend.
Often the urge comes upon me to just somehow reach out my hands and shake up everyone in society, scream in their faces, jolt them out of their stupor: You only have one life! Spend it doing things you enjoy, rather than buying things! It’s better to get a job that pays less but makes you happy, than a job that pays a good deal but makes you miserable. Do you, or do you not, understand this central principle of existence? To spend your life doing what you hate, just so you can keep a roof over your head, food in the fridge, and keep on doing what you hate, is stupid.
Unless you will starve and become homeless, try to find a job that you enjoy – that’s the only way of beating the capitalist system we are in, by making a profit out of what we love. Do not be one of those people who only live for the hours after work, or the weekends, and dread waking up for the morning commute on Mondays, because life is too short for that. A job is something that eats away a good portion of your life. Factoring in the time you take eating, sleeping and excreting, there are not many days left to make your one little life count.
Whatever you have bubbling in your heart, whatever you want to see exist in the world, be it a book or a social movement, go for it. You have nothing to lose. After all, we are all going to die, one day, and people care little if you fail or succeed, so what is stopping you? If it’s fear or doubt, banish them, treat them like ghosts overstaying their welcome at your house – unholy beast, be gone!
For it doesn’t matter how scared you are, it doesn’t matter how hard you work, it doesn’t matter how many times you fail, it doesn’t matter how hard your life is or what you have been through, in the end, all that matters, to you, and to everyone else in the world, is what you do. The end result. People do not care if a bridge was built with love or joy, or using blood and sweat and tears, with the odd body or two crammed in there to bolster the foundations – all they care about is that they can cross the bridge, to get to the other side, and that you did that for them.
So go make your bridges; they will stand and exist far longer than you will, help far more people than you will simply by staying in a job you hate and therefore probably do poorly, or at least halfheartedly. Plus, they look pretty damn nice when the sunlight hits them, don’t they?