I quite often wonder if I see the world differently to other people. Most seem to have this ability to simply get on with life. To me, it seems that they are genuinely ok with how things are going or that they are repressing more rage than I could ever hope to muster. Either way, I see it as a fairly unhealthy way of living.
As children we’re taught some phrases that are supposed to encourage us not to question what the world is going to offer us once we grow up. “The world doesn’t owe you a living”, and “Money makes the world go round”. They aren’t particularly bright or cheery and feel more like working-class mantras to ensure that we remember where our place in society is. Currently, the Conservative’s seem to trialling a new phrase: “Work is the best way out of poverty”. I can see the logic in that and, in fact, all of these phrases. I would argue however, that they are unfinished.
Let’s start from the top. I would argue that though it’s true that the world doesn’t owe me a living, I owe the world fuck all either. It’s pretty clear to me that the majority of the richest people in the world were born into it. Did the world owe?
Money makes the world go round only because we let it. We live in a sick, greed-ridden capitalist society which prays on the poor for the benefit of the rich. It’s system created by them to keep the vast majority of people dependant on the scraps that they throw to us.
Finally, working our way out of poverty would be far easier if jobs paid properly. Most benefits in the UK go to people who are in work. People in employment should not have to rely on benefits to get by. They should be properly and fairly paid for the work that they do.
For those of us that work full time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to follow our dreams. There is the issue of money, of course, but I’m currently able to be paying off my debts, save for a holiday and a wedding as well as paying all of my bills each month. It’s tight, but doable. If my fiancee and I had only our rent, bills and living expenses to pay off per month, we would be left with a few hundred pounds to spend on whatever. We’ve just chosen to invest the excess into our own lives rather than save it. We’re certainly nor rich and money is the only thing we ever argue about, but we’re not in an awful situation.
For me, time is the main issue. I love making music and I would love to have a career as a performer but work sucks away all of my time and all of my energy. I don’t have a physically demanding job. I sit in a call centre and answer queries all day, but doing that for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week is soul destroying and as much as I love making music, when I go home I want to relax and not spend more time sat in front of a computer. Generally, by the time I get home and cook food, have a chat with Cerrys and sit down for an hour it’s too late to play guitar.
I decided to create a break down of an average day, just to see how much free time I get and, I assume, this is the same for the vast majority of people.
7-8 – Get ready for work.
8-5 – Commute/Work
5-6.30 – Gym/Commute
6.30-8 – Cook/Eat
8-10 – Free Time
10-11 – Shower/Bed
11-7 – Sleep
I get 2 free hours a day. Out of 24. In that time I have to do any laundry or dishes, hoover the floor, clean the worktops and do any other household chores that need doing. That generally only takes between 20-30 minutes a night, but it eats away at that free time. It doesn’t include any time with my family, sorting out finances, ordering groceries or socialising with friends. I also love to watch TV series and films and we generally watch a couple before heading down to shower though occassionally, I’ll mix a track or try and run through some songs from my set, time permitting.
Making music in the week is virtually impossible. I have 10 hours of free time which I spend maintaining my relationship, ensuring my house is clean, relaxing and fitting in some writing or mixing where I can. By the time the weekend comes, I’m exhausted. I see my friends and family and have a drink. I get to spend some time with Cerrys if she isn’t in work and I get to make music. All in all, I spend no more than 10-12 hours a week ‘following my dreams’. Given that work and preparing for it takes almost that per day, it seems that the system truly is rigged.
We are born into an unfair world and told that it’s fine, but I don’t understand that at this point in history. So many of us are aware that this life is all there is. There is no God, no heaven, no hell, no purgatory, no afterlife. We have a short few years on this planet and yet here we are, wasting 40 hours a week to fuck off to a beach for three weeks a year. It just doesn’t seem like enough. Unfortunately, because we allow it, money does make the world go around which means that we’re stuck in this endless cycle. To get money, you lose time. You get time, you have nothing. It’s a broken system that society has allowed for far too long and that is purpose built to keep them in their place.