An awfully broad and nihilistic addition to the List, I know but bear with me. Your life is spent ultimately doing a bunch of things you don’t want to do for a small segment of people who somehow maintain authority over you, who in turn are doing the exact same thing for their superiors and so on and so forth. From the age of 4 until you hit 18, you are a child of the school system and the property of your parents – that’s fine and all but you always entertain the feeling, especially once you hit adolescence, that when you leave school, you can strike out on your own and make something of your life.
You eventually make it to university, which ultimately becomes an exercise in bitter social politics, badly organised departments and degrees essentially worthless in anything but name. If you actually aim to succeed, you spend a huge amount of time slogging through badly written books, writing essays that do little more than rehash and re-articulate the safe, tried and tested ideas of prior academics in order to fit the variety of arbitrary deadlines that control your life and watch as everyone else around you has all the fun. If you attempt to have some of this aforementioned fun however, you fail spectacularly and end up cementing a career in staying home and watching Jeremy Kyle without a TV licence. So, hopefully, after university, you’ll get a job and you can finally start living life on your own terms.
Wrong. Job satisfaction is a fictional concept. Instead, you will whittle away the rest of your life ticking boxes and earning enough pittance to sustain your meagre existence. Throughout these experiences, there may be small smatterings of enjoyment but these will almost always be crushed like a paper cup by the monstrous hand of reality; its Kung-fu grip perforating and crumbling the very foundations of life satisfaction.
The only time you are somewhat liberated from the shackles of education and career is retirement. But by the time you hit retirement, you’ve had to work yourself to the bone and are left unhealthy and incontinent, unable to truly enjoy your emancipation. You can barely eat the gruel you are now fed and your body continually taunts you as your mind remains perfectly intact, a prisoner of the tool it once used to make its mark on a world.
Freedom certainly isn’t free. It’s just a shame the cost is your life. But without that ‘life’, you’re unable to enjoy the freedom. It’s like paying for a toaster with the only loaf of bread you’ll ever have (or some other metaphor that is equally pretentious and poorly thought out). Or to quote Twisted Sister, “It’s a life we gotta choose and the price is our own life until it’s done”. Deep, Dee Snider. Deep.