A Personal Essay
You're absolutely right that we have no time for ourselves in capitalism. I heard once that your only reward for completing work ahead of schedule is more work. It's just never gonna stop.
In OECD countries, we are 2.5x more productive today than we were in 1970. Where did that productivity go? Real wages have actually declined, while we still work as many hours as our parents did.
One final figure: in the 50s and 60s, the most common word in management textbooks was the word 'hierarchy'. In the 2000s, it has been replaced by the word 'project'. Have you noticed this before? Everything is a project. If you don't have a project, goals, or objectives, it's like you don't exist.
That's something I plan to explore in an article of my own down the line, but I have such a huge backlog to go through... I need to stop hurrying and take the time 😁
oh boy, launchpad failure. happened to me too, also due to illness, at the worst possible age--nineteen.
as a formerly gifted kid it took me literally fifteen years to give up on the “dream” of academia. combine precocity with a tiger mom, that cocktail’s sooo much stronger than the best common sense. glad to hear you started thinking for yourself sooner than i did!
I wonder if the illness you had was ME/CFS (you don’t have to say). I busted my ass for decades until COVID (and then long COVID) took me down and disabled me, rendering me unable to do my part to keep the capitalist machine turning. I too am learning similar lessons to you now. I’m relieved to hear you’ve learned them before that hustle life caught up to you (again?).
Here’s a piece I wrote on this recently if you’re interested: https://open.substack.com/pub/amythetonic/p/say-hello-to-saul-my-overachiever?r=o3zsi&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post
Hell yeah brother
Thank you for opening up and sharing your personal outlook on life. It's the truest form of communication and I have no doubt you will help center others struggling with purpose. Accumulation (money, power, things) seems to be our higher power and whether one envisions a ladder or a treadmill to get more of it, we are all suffocating under the strain. Yes, the time to ask "why?" is past due but it's not too late. It's never too late to change course, and find the gifts in small and ordinary things. Joy can be found when you know where to look.
Thanks for getting this song stuck in my head. Alabama wrote some ear worms.
We don't live in a meritocracy.