"It's Not The Despair I Can't Stand. It's The Hope."
The black dog comes. A midlife crisis. Such a thing would manifest itself in many ways. A fast car. A younger woman. Changing career. Staring into space. Too much drinking. Not enough sleep. Too much sleep. No sex. Too much sex. However it manifests itself, the norm is broken and unbalanced, the established order, the world is thrown off centre, and somehow we are meant to just carry on as if nothing is wrong.
But here I am. Staring down the barrel of self-directed depression and a mid-life crisis. Where do I start? Many places to go. It's not me. But I am destined to be a nobody, with never that much money, and not enough fun. And what's the point, if life is just no fun? That is the core problem and cause. But is it a mid-life crisis, or is it more a recognition of the fact that life won't get that much better?
I've been told I should just be accepting. Why accept an unsatisfactory state? Why not strive for better, for more, to improve the world, improve my life? Why settle for second best? For something less than I can achieve? Less than I want?
Why not reach for the stars? Why not try for greatness? Why not look at the moon, and think I could go there?
dreams are not for your children –
My future is a broken promise. I always strived for greatness and glory and the best I could get and all the wonderful things there are in the world. I always hoped for more than I could get. I always hoped for the best. I always put up with things, situations I despised or people I loathed, or being poor, or any one of a million other things, because I knew that it would not last. Call it paying your dues, or whatever, but I accepted a certain level of survival as a younger person, because I was unproven. Now I am proven. Every scar tells a story. Every year has a mark.
In my professional life, I have achieved great things. My talents have taken me a long way. But is it recognised? In my personal life, I've endured quite a lot of bad shit. I won't list them. That won't achieve anything. But I survived it. What if the next forty years is just more shit I have to endure before I go? Where's the fun? Where's the memories? Sitting on a sofa in England doesn't really count.
Certainly, I know why I feel this way. You might be forgiven for thinking that a mid-life crisis is about self-image. I've always had a strong self-image. I've known who I am and my relative strengths and weaknesses, and taken what I have far. This is nothing to do with me. Time is running short, and I am probably just over half way through. I'm starting to be defined by what I have done, and trapped within the decisions of my past. By career decisions. By love. By two thin blue strips on a piece of fucking plastic. By a woman who decided in a fit of insanity to hit me, spray me with boiling water, attack me with shoes and cars, that now means 12.5% of my income goes to someone who used to assault me. I get imprisoned if I don't pay this Freedom Tax.
Still, only 10 fucking years to go on that count.
I put up with stuff, the shit and the grime, not because it was real, not because it was normal, but because if I just got through that, things would be better. Then something else put a bucket of shit in the path. Just another pointless battle to fight. Another pointless year of cruelty, imposed for no viable reason. I've just seen at least an extra year of bullshit added to my life.
The Government are my enemy. They crow about freedom and choice and fairness, and weight the world so their cronies become impossibly rich, and the rest of us have our salaries cut and the prices of everything increased, so once we pay what we must pay to keep heat on, lights on, food in the fridge and a house, that the space where we actually live is tiny. They seem to think people were put on this earth to serve big business and be enslaved to corporations, that happiness and love and laughter are crimes only to be earnt through toil and penury and misery.
I dread to think of the world our children will live within. Schools are now machines for children to be model employees. Even this morning, I read of a school lesson where children were taught of a great degree of grammar, then tasked to write four lines of poetry. When told the poetry was good, the teacher replied “That's not the point.”
Art, culture, ideas? All meaningless. We exist in the eyes of the government to be workers, and nothing more.
its not the despair I can't stand, its the hope
The world is getting darker. This planet and this country is getting shittier. Everything we have done, and everything I believe – every minute, every day, every year of the past 39 I have had on the planet, have all been for nothing. Nothing is getting better. The future – which never looked amazing – now looks a largely unendurable set of decades being dragged through cruel and pointless poverty for millions. All the work I have ever done has been barely helpful in making a sharp knife slightly blunter. The world is not getting better, and people with far more power, and far less intelligence than I decide to inflict misery on millions to fulfill an ideological whim. On one hand, a chancellor decides to follow an economically illiterate ideology with no basis in reality, fact, or evidence to impoverish millions, and suddenly all the work hundreds of people in my industry have spent years striving for is nullified. This rampant and unstoppable vandalism of the social contract – and the one contract I hold implicitly with the state – will make society a cruel and impoverished place. People will be colder, help less, and see their fellow human beings as enemies or willing victims deserving whatever misfortune comes to them, be it a disability, illness, or something as random and utterly divorced from their actions as unemployment. No matter. They just don't want to be rich enough, even when poverty makes them commit suicide. They obviously want to die, and are weaklings.
This is not the world I want to live in. Not the values I hold. I live for a world where all of us are equal in an unequal world, where those who have the power to make a fairer world are the very people who would both be disadvantaged by a fairer world, and who have no interest in ever making the world fairer.
I'm getting older. I don't know if my opportunities have peaked. Is this the best life will ever be? Because if it is, it isn't good enough. Have I peaked at “not all that great”? What does the future hold? I can see the world closing down certain routes for everyone. Certainly, I don't think it likely I'll be a pop star, author, leading man : even though I am author and leading-man of my life. How can my best not be good enough? I can settle for being regarded by others in whatever way they like, honestly, I do not give a flying fuck for your approval unless you can make me poor, ill, or hurt my life. This is my mid-life crisis. Nothing as mundane as going bald or wanting a sports car. I live in a world where the future is very likely going to be shit for a great number of people, which is completely avoidable and this misery is utterly without merit or justification. Everything every human being should ever be doing – that is, makiing the world a better place for as many people as reasonably possible – is being actively destroyed by the selfish and the shortsighted. It takes constant vigilance, constant activism, constant and ceaseless resistance to maintain even the small dignities we have, and that is a battle that evil only needs to win once to win once and for all.
I'm too old to put up with this shit. There's only so much bullshit I can tolerate. I only ever tolerated it as a temporary state. If there are things that I despise, and they will be permanent, I am going to be in a state that is unacceptable. In those circumstances, I accept what I cannot change, change what I cannot accept. If I cannot change my circumstances, I change my relationship to those circumstances : I remove myself from any environment where I do not have influence or control. Any situation I cannot change is unacceptable, and a prison. All a prisoner wants to do is escape. Put me in a box, even a large and comfortable one, and all I want to do is GET OUT. Put me in a box of what you think I am, and all I want to do is GET OUT. Define my own borders and boundaries. A prison is still a prison. An illusion of power, control and influence is still an illusion, and all I want to do is smash the illusion.
I was born free, then forced in chains by money. My life is a prison. In many ways tolerable, in many other ways unacceptable. Optimism is the only resistance. But I know that whilst I will be able to look my children in the eye, and say with complete honesty that I did the best I could and strived always to make the future better. I also know that, on behalf of huge parts of the rest of my generation, I will have to beg their forgiveness for letting them down and failing them, for my peers giving my children a world that was worse than the one we inherited. We failed them, as a whole, even if as individuals, many of us did great things. The world is an eternal battle against the forces of selfishness and darkness, and I am tired of fighting.
The Joker had a point : “Why can't we all just get along?”