It occurs to me now that years and years of taking orders from authority figures really fucked up my ability to manage my time, and to direct my efforts towards goals of my own choosing. Whenever I had time to myself, I just wanted to do nothing, perhaps because I was accustomed to goal-directed activity being unpleasant. And it was unpleasant partially because I wasn't the one setting the goals. I suppose these repeated periods where I squandered my time were when I rejected being an agent for someone else's goals, but was incompetent at setting my own and executing on them.Huh. Sounds familiar. Actually (and there's some me me me blah blah-ing coming up here) I've been mega struggling with this recently. I have all kinds of things I want to do for myself and for the people I know and who live near me. Making music, writing (on this here blog and also the fiction I keep telling myself I write), reading more, learning to cook, getting in shape physically. Getting involved in local culture. Getting involved in local activism.
And I have plenty of time to do all of it. I'm extremely lucky, in a relative sense, in having a part-time job that provides me with just enough to live on, so four days out of the week are mine in their entirety, which most people can't say. And yet I hardly do anything. More often, I sit around all day thinking about the things I want to do, and then go and laugh at the stupid thing digby just said or whatever. Finally it's getting to the point where I can't stand it anymore, where I need to change it. I think I'm starting to turn it around--that's in part what my week-long break was about--but it is hard for me, way harder than it has any sensible right to be.
Politically speaking, we need to live but we also need to live as ourselves, in which case we take on double-work: the work of contributing toward that which earns us income, and the work of contributing toward ourselves.It's funny. I wrote a while back about how our culture conditions us from childhood to be unable to see certain obvious truths, and that some of us, due to the luck (or chance, more accurately) of our own specific lives, manage to overcome that conditioning, or avoid it altogether. I tentatively included myself in that "some of us." I still think I belong in that category--though I am always open to argument on that if anyone feels it's necessary, and I should clarify that "category" is a misleading word and it's more of a spectrum, and a process, but now my parenthetical is getting way too long--but only now am I realizing that whatever quirks of my life led to that independence of thought also seem to have led to a near-complete lack of independence of action. The conditioning of my thoughts didn't take, but the conditioning of my behavior did.
Consumerism tells us to relax when we aren't working as required by its needs. Our work is done as producers; now we must consume! But as our friend suggests, that investment leaves nothing extra for ourselves.
They'll fuck ya one way or the other.