Many poets, bards, writers, bands and entertainers over the years have written about the way society or the powers that be dictate(s) how one lives their life. George Orwell’s 1984 or Manic Street Preachers’ A Design For Life are good examples of this. There are set guidelines in life that you’re expected to fulfill or be deemed as a failure of a person, regardless of how clever or talented you may actually be, a system that tests you and let’s you know how much of a disaster you are if you fail to meet these requirements. I have become completely disillusioned with this whole system and no longer strive to just be successful just like everyone else, I’d rather do something that makes me happy.
Rage Against the Machine’s famous Killing In the Name Of is a song that encapsulates perfectly my rage against this. From the moment we are old enough to learn reading and writing, we are frequently told that we will fail in society if we don’t meet required standards, that you MUST be able to spell ‘neighbourhood’ by Year 3 or your prospects of a good high school place seem distant. It is drilled into us that life is all about results (what some will grow up to realise actually translates to as ‘profit’) and that we must be ready to instantly assimilate into this world of ruthless Capitalism or face total annihilation. It has taken me a while to realise this but my question is why? Why do we have no choice (yeah we’re told we have a choice over our future but there really isn’t huge choice in reality unless you meet the pre-determined requirements) right from the start? We HAVE to produce or be left behind. The idea of doing 40 years of a job I hate makes no sense to me whatsoever, I don’t have a huge choice over that but I’m equally not hugely bothered about that either by the way, I’ve accepted that reality. There is leeway but not a huge amount.
My GCSEs are solid, my A Levels pretty rubbish and I have no degree, so to society I’m essentially rubbish as I have failed their requirements. This is not me moaning that it’s not my fault or I deserve more, because I know it’s my fault and if I wanted to get a degree to work in some shit office for three decades then I probably could’ve done. These grades and results that have tested me don’t mean anything to me. It’s not a job or career that will make me happy (though I do have specific dreams and aims in that area that I shan’t share), but rather – and this may seem hard to believe given today’s money driven world – the things I do and experiences I have are what I crave, not money or success. I’d rather be poor and happy than rich and bored. There is no price I can put on experiences I’ve had or want. Mine and Emma’s first holiday together, seeing Derby come back from 2-0 down in the FA Cup at Forest to win 3-2, scoring a last minute winner in a Sunday League Cup Final as a teenager, seeing the D-Day beaches and the Battle of Normandy battlefields, being a member of the Army Cadet Force. These are things no amount of money could take away from me, there are things I want to do and see that no amount of money offered to me could stop me from experiencing. Unfortunately, many of these things do require payment but saving to do these things makes it all the more special when it happens.
Of course I have regrets. Many people when I played Sunday League Football told me I had the ability (at the time, I was only 11-12 so it’s not that special) to get scouted by an academy if I got fitter, which I never did and it bothers me to think of what could’ve been, despite it probably not happening anyway.
I have no desire rely on others for money, I have no desire to enter a career just for the sake of it, I am happy to do odd jobs until the right opportunity arises. This does not make unambitious, I am heavily driven to prove absolutely everybody wrong. There is a small, almost invisible group of people that believe I’ll ever amount to anything, it’s obvious from how I hear people speak to me. It’s obvious from the comparisons made between me and others. It’s obvious from the condescending looks I get from people when they see/hear what I’ve ever achieved. It’s a pity that to prove these people wrong I have to conform and become what I hate – unless I accomplish exactly what I intend to – just to garner the level of respect others get.
Maybe I’m thinking about it too much, maybe everything is fine. Certainly I’m rambling without much coherence to my words, but just think about it. We are born, ‘educated’ (I’ve learnt 10x more outside of a school/college/university than I ever did in one), made to shit out a profit, get too old to make money, we die. Is that much of a life? Not to me it isn’t, I don’t want my descendants to see me as a robot sheep that conformed and was a manager of an office for 30 years. I want them to be intrigued by what I’ve done and appreciate that I have been happy doing it. If some people’s idea of a profit driven career designed to pump as much money into their bank accounts without a thought about others is what makes them happy then fine, but don’t brand me a failure or lazy because I didn’t make you a profit.
This doesn’t mean I won’t make enough money to get by, I will always make sure I have enough to provide for myself and others, my primary concern is looking after others, I just refuse to lower myself to becoming someone who constantly works just to drive a profit for somebody else.
There you have it, a rambling, incoherent mostly incorrect mess. Draw your own conclusions about me. Call me a layabout, judge me for not meeting society’s educational boundaries, brand me as unambitious or someone not to be associated with. I think that says a lot more about you than about me.
Also, just for the record, don’t start sayin’oh I value you Jimmy!’ because that’s not what I’m after. I just want to get this out. Ignore it, report it, block it, but don’t throw an insincere compliment at this in an attempt to make me feel better, because I don’t want that.
I’m not insane, by the way.
“Libraries gave us power, then work came and made us ‘free’.”