Saturday, May 12, 2012
It's been the best of times, the worst of times. The year of the Mayan Apocalypse is not even a full third through, and already I've been made redundant, got married, managed to sustain a serious injury, and last week,I resigned to take up my third job in less than four months.
If you know me, normally I work somewhere for a few years before I start to consider going somewhere else. I was at one job four and a half years. Another one six. I'd happily work somewhere twenty years if it were the right role for me. My most recent three jobs have seen my hand forced twice by circumstances outside of my control, including redundancy in one instance, and an insane four and a half hour a day commute the other. Only once, to take a significant step up the ladder, did I leave a secure role.
During my most recent job search, I met a lot of people who were new to my world, and, with no historical perspective or conceptions, had formed their own opinion on the basis of who I am, not who I used to be, or who I once was.
And during my search I was frankly obsessed. Little else, not even my wedding to my beautiful wife, consumed my thoughts. What should have been the happiest weeks of my life was clouded by the fact that I didn't have to book time off work to enjoy the days after my wedding, for there was no work for me to return to. My brain rattled with the search. I neglected friends and family, and it is a blessed relief to be connecting again with the old way of things.
Ten years ago, my life was very different. Not better, certainly. I was in the death throes of an incompatable relationship that became in a week of enthusiasm, a marriage. We seperated in a violent (but not physically violent), cruel manner. Not long after, I went through a minor reinvention : as I did, to a much smaller extent in 1998, I redefined who I was. Tastes change, times change. I decided, though not consciously, to stop being the best version of me other people wanted me to be, and to be true to myself and be the best me I could be.
I lost some friends, but not the kind of friends I would have necessarily missed. It cost me. But I let go of the prison of perceptions I held myself in to please other people. I thought, as one does, that I had been through the worst of things. Not that I had, for that was to come. But I let go of certain things. I used to not think things, used to not say things, used to not be a certain person. And then I thought, not consciously, that I was lying to myself. Why pretend? Why not just be?
Be all that I can be, in the twenty first century.
I am, like we all are, masters of our own identity. Whoever we want to be, whatever we are. Certainly what we have – illness, height, genitals – may be part of us, but do not define us. These are the things we have, but what we do with them are ours.
I would not be so brazen, or fractally wrong, to suggest that someone who is not rich just does not want to be rich enough. There are not enough words in the universe to thoroughly refute that brainwrong. Not everyone can be affluent. There will always be those who serve, and those who eat. There will always be rich and poor. The best that we can hope,is not for some 70's style Science Fiction Utopia, but some kind of world where the poorest in society have a standard of living that is reasonable, that they are heated, fed, clothed, that no one – be they a child or not – freeze to death for the sake of money. Child poverty is a herring, an emotional blackmail. Adult poverty is a bigger problem. The disingenious lie is that children are somehow innocent, and the adults want to be poor, and therefore deserve our contempt. The failure is not that children are hungry – but that people are hungry in this day and age.
Not everyone may notice, but I do what I do for a living, because for me, it makes the world a better place in some way. Small steps. Giant changes.