10 April 2009

Caged By Freedom

I've been thinking a lot lately about the apparent oppressive nature of the professional and educational systems here in the U.S. -- namely, the seemingly cyclical nature of the beast as a whole. In order to get a good job, you need a good education; a good education costs exponentially greater amounts of money than a basic one, so you need a good job in order to pay off the loans you'll inevitably incur while pursuing the degree necessary to get the job you want, so that when you've got that "dream job" of yours, you eventually find yourself slave-bound in service to it so as to ensure your capacity to keep paying off those debts for which you toiled to ensure that you'd be able to get the job you wanted.

Whirlwind much?

Point is, I thought for a while now that I was frustrated by the system; namely, by the fact that my present work schedule (and freely-available cash) pretty much prohibit my returning to school to pursue my major of choice and thereby use a degree in said major to attain my dream job. Duly angered by this fact, I railed against the unfairness and imbalance inherent to the system itself, and struggled against the rather constricting bonds that keep me where I am now, doing what I am now for the company presently paying me to do it.  In the last few days, though, I've had a revelation -- and it seems that it's the more widespread toxin reaching its tendrils into the daily lives of more people around me than I realized; it's less about the fact that we cannot freely pursue whatever it is that is our heart's desire, it's that the daily grind of our existence, working to pay the bills to keep the house that's close to work to save on gas for the car we're still paying off with the money earned from the job we wish we could leave for something else, that we've forgotten how to have those dreams, those ideals to which we might attempt to aspire, the majors for which we'd vie in the ivied halls of our university of choice had we the time and money to pursue them.

It's a special kind of ennui that slowly strangles the life out of our former aspirations as we are faced with ever-present reality, a volatile economy, a backlash of time wasted in youth which, in retrospect, made for a great party but isn't anything to scrapbook about for the grandkids. We lose ourselves in keeping up with the present so much so that we forget to consider the future beyond a financial singularity and a hope that we'll be able to retire comfortably after the soulsuckers presently enslaving our listless spirits have drained us to the point that there's nothing left to take; that's not to say that one can't enjoy being in such a job -- hell, I'm pretty fond of the company I work for, but it's certainly not where I, as a child, envisioned myself being at this point.

And that's the real core of it all; we've resigned ourselves to what must be done rather than what should be done, what could be done, what we'd like to have done -- we allow our dreams to fall dormant as we strive to make sure that someday we can hope to have "more realistic dreams" and set "achievable goals" for ourselves.

Well, you know what? F**k "achievable goals".

I want to see a people willing to reach for the stars and fail. I want to see the world ready to leap for the unattainable, full of youthful vigor and that starry-eyed wonder that made us want to be astronauts, or firemen, or NFL superstars, or glam-rock megahits, or whatever it was we once dared to believe we could be. I want to see people who know and understand the consequences for making stupid mistakes, but who make them anyhow. I want to see optimism return to a world at a time where being optimistic is just plain crazy, because that's exactly the kind of world that needs it the most.

I may not be a beacon in the night, a light to guide souls to their destiny, but I can sure as hell climb up on a roof and set myself ablaze, becoming a beacon to someone, if only for that brief moment before the searing flames consume my flesh and my ashes spread to the wind. And isn't that enough?

It damn well should be.



Donni said...

Great writing!

Anonymous said...

Wow... that's deep Chaz. And so true. Kudo's ;-) Very good