I realised the other day that we had become heretics. For a multitude of reasons we made the conscious decision to slip out of the chains of the capitalist system, and gave up going to work for money. In doing so we didn’t drop out of society, nor did we plunge ourselves into abject poverty – neither one of us is particularly fond of the ‘doing without’ lifestyle. We simply concluded we were ready to live on the resources we had accumulated to date, and not seek ever more.
It’s this disengaging with consumerism that is the great heresy of our times. Sure, we are no different to thousands of other folk in the UK who’ve reached middle age and a little way past it and have sufficient for our needs. But society insists we should still be wanting more – more stuff to use up our free cash, our free time and our free brain cell. Go shopping, watch TV, buy shit, consume. We chose not to want more, but to enjoy what we’ve got (which in fairness is not inconsiderable).
There is an Internet meme (when isn’t there) that goes something like people have to keep working to afford to pay for the car they need to go to work in, and pay the mortgage for the house they leave empty when they are working, so that they can sleep in it when they are not working… It sounds like madness when you read it the first time. You don’t read it the second time in case you start to identify with it.
Miss needed to quit her high pressure, long hours, unforgivably thankless job when her health became in issue. I opted to put my hand up when my company (as was) called for volunteers for redundancy. We went from a significant combined income to one pension in the space of six months, but in terms of available time and life chances we have never been richer. I wonder if society will forgive us.