Filed under: Reactive Thoughts
It’s Time to Make our Own Way, Together
The rat race. The debts you owe. How much is maintaining your credit score worth? When you find out that you don’t drop dead when you suddenly lose that job, it’s a bit surprising, and quite a relief. Leverage it.
Do you recall having an uncomfortable admiration for Edward Norton’s character in Fight Club when he decided to leave behind the trappings of his “normal” life and exit the economy, blowing up his fancy apartment?
Well, in this case it’s been done for us; whether it was the virus, or uncaring corporations, the banks or whatever it was, the cause is becoming irrelevant — all you know is now you don’t have enough income and things are becoming difficult. You’re not sure how to pay rent. Hopefully you can get food for the week.
If your life has seemingly been pulled out from under you, you’re certainly not alone, because there are far too many people in that situation now. Their lives have been pulled out from under them, and some had finally just gotten back on track, after years of treading water.
What are the chances, really, of moving to a socialist government where people can reasonably get by, as more and more of us are between and out of work on a regular basis? Even so, wouldn’t you feel much more confident in your daily life if you knew that you could make some money on short notice if you needed to?
We can’t seem to count on anyone or anything else, we’ve already been burned enough. We have to make our own way, somehow, and the sooner we start this process the more steady the future will be — ’cause it isn’t likely to change anytime soon. How much hope can people have at that point?
Perhaps it’s time to say “Fuck this economy” and find our own way, because I see a future in which I pay a hundred monthly bills at $5 each, supporting friends, neighbors and strangers also trying to make their own way, in return for providing something — a service, some content, some form of art or entertainment, whether online or in-person. In turn, I’ll likely be counting on help from others too. This is what making your own way down the slope on this side of Capitalism looks like. And it’s a damn shame. But America may just be all the better for it.
I don’t think Capitalism is actually going anywhere — but needs to die to be reborn anew, because more people need to have some reasonable level of control over their own lives and livelihood.
We need to face the facts: we’ve already been burned too many times; even if you aren’t among the unlucky who’ve lost their pensions, you probably haven’t been in control of your own income in the slightest. If you’re counting on your job — you’re not in control, period. And at this point, we have little reason to believe we can place any faith in the government. Even if competent people are in office, it’s become clear that this institution does not have the best interest of regular people at heart — regardless of which party is in the White House.
Even if you can count on family to help you, you don’t want to have to count on them, or to weary them with your challenges. You want to have a level of independence — and if enough people are doing that, I think it can become a collective network of mutual understanding and support. I’m not talking about “rugged individualism” at all — this is more like rugged groupism. It’s the same reason we tipped servers and Uber drivers a little more when the economy was functioning.
More and more of us are understanding the struggle; the struggle that is to sure engulf many more people in the coming months and years as wages stay flat, the cost of living goes up, and no one can count on a corporation to care about their stability.
Things like AirBnB are happening out of necessity — not because people suddenly wanted to vacation in strangers’ homes. But, these things can become the very seeds of how businesses form and grow, and ultimately how America rebuilds itself.
I have a feeling we are going to have a generation that knows how to make something out of nothing quite adeptly. Unfortunate to traverse, yes; but quite a useful skill in the end. I think the collective conscience version of “It’s time to do my own thing” is finally here.
Unlike now, it doesn’t have to be every man for himself — rather, every man for himself and his neighbor, without regard to the labor force proper. If the government can help here or there, great, but people are tired of counting on them. You feel like you’re alone — but you’re not alone because many people are in your situation, and we’ll either use this fear to turn into savages, or build up the understanding that we all must help each other.
It’s the punishment of Cain in the bible, really — having to count on others as he wandered, since the ground wouldn’t even grow food for him anymore — but we have to ensure we don’t turn out like his vicious ancestors.
There are YouTubers making a hell of a lot more than you or I will ever make, unless maybe you start doing YouTube as well — or writing, selling art, or teaching whatever you’re good at, ukulele, how sports work — whatever it is. We’re clearly past what we thought a “normal” economy was supposed to be, and we haven’t caught up with reality yet. And right now, that’s becoming painfully obvious and it’s killing us financially, emotionally, and in other ways.
I challenge you to do this: if you’re between jobs, take several solid days, maybe three, five, and to the extent possible, completely disregard whatever field you work in or whatever kind of job you think you’re supposed to have. Put it completely aside, do the things that you truly, truly enjoy doing if you can, and think hard about whether anyone else is doing those same things yet has found a way to make a living. Then tell yourself “I’m smart enough to figure out a way” or possibly “I’m more qualified than many other people making a living doing my thing”. Because what work is, is different today.
Then, see how you feel. Is it truly a weight off your shoulders that you haven’t worried about dressing business casual and wearing undershirts, or getting a haircut every couple weeks? What would your life be like if you didn’t have to dive headlong back into the rat race that you’ve been stuck in?
What is it that you spend too much spare time doing that could transition into actual work? Your idea of work?
And hey, if you’ve had a steady job for the last 10 years with pay increases and health insurance, good for you. Just remember that can change in an instant, just as it did for me in 2014, and I’m still playing catch-up. If you’re approaching age 40, you probably already have that odd feeling that you don’t belong in your office anymore. That’s a real feeling.
I’d gladly help multiple people with five-ten dollars per month toward a Patreon account for them doing what they love, what they can do best, what they are talented at. Many of you already do this as well.
Don’t you feel that itch for some kind of control over your own life?
You are the only you — leverage it.
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