I slept for over ten hours last night, which felt like a miracle after a very long, stressful week. There’s a lot going on, and a lot going wrong, so the act of breathing and resting feels good. And biologically necessary.
My targeted ads lately have been focused on art, I guess because I’ve been clicking around a lot of outsider artists. But instead of the interesting work by emerging talents that I would like to see, I’m seeing a ton of direct to consumer startups selling things that they think other startup bros would like.
I mean, sure, I’ll just ignore the art and move on. But I feel really bad for this next generation of kids who really believes that if they just hustle a little bit harder, if they spend their entire lives sweating and working and building, their lives will improve. There is a minority chance that it will lead them to more wealth, which is probably what they think they want. There’s also a majority chance that it will ruin the relationships in their lives and lead to them waking up in their early thirties burned out and alone.
There’s a whole get-rich-quick side to hustle culture that doesn’t even make sense according to its own internal logic: you’ll get rich in a compressed time by burning the candle at both ends and making your life shorter through stress and aggravation.
Okay, great. Then what? Are you going to retire? Concentrate on gardening? Or are you going to find, perhaps, that you’re addicted to the lifestyle you’ve created for yourself, and that you’re dependent on validation from the thing you do to make a living, such that if that thing ever goes away, you’re lost?
To be clear, I enjoy (meaningful) work: I like building things, and I like the feeling of incrementally pushing the world closer to an ideal that I would like to see. There’s a kind of egotism in it for sure (why should I be pushing the world towards my values?), but also a feeling of purpose and achievement. What I’m not into is the sense that you need to lose a piece of yourself to be competitive, or even to be valid in doing what you’re doing. You only get one life, and so much is more important than work.
It’s always worth considering why these messages are put out; who supports them; who really benefits if you follow their advice; and what happens if you choose to live another way. It’s propaganda, and propaganda always serves a central purpose.
Life for you, your community, your relationships, and your communal well-being. There’s no need to work yourself to the bone and potentially push yourself to an earlier death in order to make someone richer. Even if that person is you.
I mean, fuck off.