Wednesday, 25 May 2011

An Affluent Struggle in Effluence

At various points in time I find myself evaluating my life, as I'm sure we all do. What have I done, what have I really achieved and what if any of it was worthwhile? As a person predisposed to viewing himself in a negative light, I very quickly become bogged down in a mire of self-pity and seem to derive pleasure from the selfishness of such wallowing. I have an over developed sense of entitlement, perhaps an off-shoot of the post-Cold War generation. Life is short and indeterminate, so enjoy it while it lasts. Pleasure is inexpensive and freely available. As one fortunate enough to be born into a life of relative privilege, living in comfortable surroundings amongst fellow winners of the lottery of life, I find myself too often feeling discontented. I want more. I covet such a lot, which pains me. I have become conscious of so much vanity, greed and hollowness. Une vide.

While studying I'm essentially living as a leech, 'surviving' off my parents and the Australian government. In that way I'm so blessed. My university takes a number of students in various African nations who must work so hard to study and afford to live alone in a foreign country, far from their families. I spoke to one girl who, now 22, would have been married off at 15 had she not won a scholarship to continue at school. She intimated that she would probably be considered an old maid in her home town. She must work several jobs whilst also studying full time to support herself. She is also afraid to invite her family to her graduation at the end of the year, in case she fails a unit or in some way disappoints them.

The real world can be a very harsh and unforgiving place. My world is comparatively sugar-coated and cushioned. This is why my ability to enjoy the quicksand of despondence fills me with self-loathing. How dare I find the time to sit and ponder, how dare I want the new iPhone, Mac-book, car, house, clothes that all look so pretty in the magazines. How dare I be so ungrateful!

Yet I know I am not alone. Coveting is mentioned twice in the commandments, for different things but for the same reasons. As humans, we tend to instinctively want what the other has, for fear we lucked out, that they have gained the competitive edge. So frequently I just want to remove myself completely from such societal ills. I'd happily live in the middle of nowhere, so long as I had plumbing, hot water, a comfortable bed, laundry equipment, books... Actually it would seem evident I cannot. I love the story of the widow's mite, yet I live as one of the wealthy men.

I am unashamedly wealthy in many respects. I have my health,  and I am loved. What more should I want? Hopefully in time I can focus more on the important things in my life, perhaps try and work harder? and try to love back as much as I am loved.

As a post-scriptum, thank you to those who commented on my last post. I do love a good moan (see above), and I apologise if anybody took it too literally. May I also thank you for your continuing support and encouragement. X

Quandaries of Affluence


  1. Amen!

    Yours for small pleasures,

  2. I also love a good rant no matter what. And I always love your posts. This is my unsolicited advice: find one thing (charity) that touches your soul and put time toward it. While working with/for people who need help, you will feel as though you're gaining more from it than the people you're helping. I wouldn't steer you wrong. xxx