I have a modest income, but enjoy just about all the luxuries I could possibly want. I eat out and buy clothes and go on vacation and pay my credit cards in full without having to stress all that much. I make impromptu purchases and go to sporting events and festivals and still put away for retirement or a house or a family or whatever the fuck it is I’m supposed to be putting away for.
But money is bullshit. I go to a furniture store and find custom-made chairs that cost as much as I pay for rent every month. I look up a fancy restaurant and discover that the price of dinner exceeds my monthly grocery bill. I walk through a hipster boutique and sort through t-shirts that are hundreds of dollars apiece because they are deemed vintage – worn-out pieces of shit that any number of us owned 20 years ago.
I don’t write to criticize capitalism, nor to stump for socialism or communism or any other economic system. They have their own flaws, and besides – as any professor or Das Kapital-owning douche can tell you – they’ve never existed in their purest forms, nor will they ever. If anything, I benefit and continue to benefit from the realities of the world: experiencing class mobility, non-physical labor, first world problems.
I suppose then I write as a nihilist – perhaps a hedonist, an idealist, a naive moron, whatever. I hate that life is like this. I work a bullshit job the way everyone works a bullshit job so that I can have the money to spend on the weekend doing the things that I want to do. To put myself in a position to get the job I actually want (whatever that might be), to live the life I actually want (whatever that might entail). In the meantime, some semblance of fulfillment comes once in a blue moon.
I hate that we are all governed by money. Dreams dashed, goals deterred, lives altered. People who never get to experience all the things they deserve to experience, people who live only for possibility and hope, for their kids no less, as they themselves endure misery. People who slog through legitimately bullshit jobs, thankless, because of fortune and chance and things they have no control over from the moment they step into the world.
I hate how we are made to feel inadequate because of zeros – literally nothing yet everything at once. People lose all sense of perspective and empathy and sensibility because they have money and they have always had money, or worse, they lose those things after they gained money as though opportunity and fate and luck befalls everyone in the same manner. They become so fucking blase about their advantages.
I hate that labels and brands and utterly meaningless shit somehow gain meaning and adulation because they are associated with money. I hate the idea that things are worth a certain amount because somebody out there is willing to pay that certain amount, because let’s face it, some asshole is always going to ruin it for everyone else. I hate notions of exclusivity and membership and differentiation because of money people have and money people spend.
I hate that I care about money as much as everyone else. That I somehow feel better about buying nicer souvenirs now, that I can spend less time shopping around because who gives a fuck, that I can be more cavalier about clothes I want. They’re things I never needed at any other point in my life when I didn’t have disposable income.
Money is bullshit. Let’s go back to bartering.