Friday, July 10, 2015

Remembrance and Regret

How many times has this one heard them say, "This one wants to go back; it's so beautiful, there! It doesn't really take that long, and it's so much fun. Every part of it..."? How many times have they said, "We'll never go back again. It's terrible. It's every bad experience rolled into one forgetful mess"?

Focus on your studies. Your grades. The social stuff that happens right now is so much bullshit. In ten years, everyone will forget about it and all that will matter is whether or not you have a good job.

So often they tell me, the old ones, "I should have taken it more seriously. If I'd gotten my act together, I could have left a legacy. Left something meaningful. Protected my kids from the mistakes I made. Yeah, I had fun, but...but look what a mess I'm leaving them...look at how I turned out..." And the others, saying, "I should've been less serious. I should've appreciated things...my family, my kids. I spent too much time working, too much time at the office, for money. What's it really worth, anyway? I didn't spend any time on the important stuff. Oh, God, what a waste I've been! I don't really know anyone! I don't really know myself!"

Don't worry about all that. This is your chance to live. Sow some wild oats! Learn what it means to be you. Meet people, try new things, and don't weigh yourself down with a bunch of expectations.

What do we tell the living? What do we tell the young?

Nah, man, I deserve it. I didn't...I didn't, like, focus.

The most popular one in the modern West is the "I should've worked fewer hours" one. The corporate media loves that one. It justifies underemployment; it implies that hard work and financial dominance are correlated; it hints that the billionaires are filled with sadness and regrets, and that they secretly envy those lucky cops and ditch-diggers and grocery clerks. It implies a choice where none is present.

How much can you trust the dying declaration of the rich person who suddenly wishes they'd had more time with their grandkids? Can you trust that person any more than the person who preferred playing golf to playing babysitter? What if they're the same person, separated only by ten years? By one year?

What kind of clarity does cancer really give us?

How many times has this one heard them say, "Well, my friends are mostly going to the U. I couldn't get in, 'cause...heh heh...let's just say my grades weren't so good. Anyway, I'mma work for a couple years and reapply..."? And how many times has it been the opposite? "Worst. Mistake. Ever. I spent five years getting drunk off my ass and screwing brainless morons, for a piece of paper that won't get me a job, and meanwhile the dumbest kid from high school has five years work experience and is managing this place that installs patio barbecues."

Who's the idiot? Who's trustworthy? And what makes us think that the regretful bourgeois deathbed confesses the infallible truth about life, love, and money? Movies aside, how many dying bourgeois do you know who actually wish they'd taken their bank accounts more seriously?

1 comment:

  1. I think makes sense. When both work and leisure are fucked up, either complaint is believable. The sadness comes from misguided belief that you could escape the drudgery OR leisure in late capitalism through personal awesomness and live against all odds. It is possible, but when it happens it doesn't even matter if it is through work ("this book will stand the test of time") or leisure ""woo, unprotected sex with prostitutes, and drug abuse, motherfuckers!").

    If you gonna go, go all the way, otherwise don't even start, so most of us don't.

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