A coworker’s old paystub somehow found its way into my mailbox at work. He’s been with the company for more than a few years than me so I was curious how much he made. I know it’s confidential but I told myself that since I already have some idea of how much he makes it’s not really a big deal. Okay okay, I’m sort of piece of shit. I can live with that. If it was a scene in a movie though you would probably think nothing of it.
It was the last paycheque of the year so I was able to see the yearly gross amount. When I saw it I was like, holy shit. Then I thought, what the hell? I could be making this too in a few years for doing my bullshit job? It excited me for a bit and then the realization set in that in order to continue to earn that money for the rest of my non-wrinkly life, I would have to continue to do this job for the rest of my non-wrinkly life.
It wasn’t even that long ago that my goal in life was to find some place to work at for 30 years that would pay me basically what I’m getting now. It was probably my goal because I was in love with the unknown. Life seems to be a series of having goals and achieving them just to know that it’s not what you really want.
The initial plan for most people is to be “set for life” by a certain young age. “Set” in this cultural context does not mean finished but instead, the start of a long and seemingly straight road to a predetermined imagined destination.
It all sounds good at the beginning because we can picture ourselves easily living a certain life for the next 30 years because it only takes about 5 seconds to imagine it in our heads. The other reason why it can seem desirable is because the security feels good. If you just keep on this path then you will never have to worry about sucking some dude off for lunch money.
For whatever reasons, life often conspires to lure you into signing the rest of your life away before you barely had a chance to live it. Before you’re even 30, you could be married with kids, have a 30 year mortgage and decide that you’re never going to do a different type of work for the rest of your life. It doesn’t seem like it could be that difficult given that so many people have done it before you. The weird thing we overlook when we are 30 or even 40 is that we have never stuck with anything successfully for 30 years except eating and excreting. The main reason to keep trucking on or quit is dependent on whether or not you feel you have to.
Some people or maybe even many would consider me as being “set” but I can’t help but see this path like a prison sentence. 25 years to life with the chance of parole for bad behaviour. The sad thing is that the prison gates are always open for me to leave without any fear of a sniper shot yet I just can’t seem to escape.