This term is one that has found itself haltingly applied to a part of the structure of modern society that could be called the shame of our time, an emblem of the many failures of this little world we’ve built for ourselves.
Unemployed youth. The hope, the future, sitting around doing naught but play computers all day. Some by choice, the wilfully idle, the product of a western decadence that instilled in them no puritan work ethic, marched them to no field to be cut down by machine gun fire and left them weak, listless, unable to take a step in any direction because they have not been prepared for failure.
Others have idleness forced upon them. They toiled through the system educational only to be cast from the Ivory Tower amidst an economic recession that cut the areas in which once they might have found work like the reaper’s scythe, leaving them bereft of employment and none the better for their £20000 (or more) of debt.
I, your humble scrivener, am apart of this latter grouping. A Bachelor of the Arts in English of the class of 2009, sitting in the home in which I grew up, applying for jobs that would once have been scorned by a 16 year old school leaver with but an ‘ology to his name, just to slake the unending thirst of that insatiable beast the Job Centre Plus (plus what? Who knows?) in return for a pittance a week.
To what end all this toil? Is a question I have asked myself often. I worked to this point with no clear goal, no aim or intention and here I am, becalmed amid a sea of missed opportunities, casting out curriculum vitae like lines into the cold, unending depths in the hope of catching but the smallest minnow of a job, that I might escape, move on and move forward, towards… what? That I don’t know either.
Someone once suggested that no wind was favourable if you don’t know where you’re going and while I am loath to continue to nautical metaphor, the man had a point. Should I secure a position as an administrative assistant at a window company, then what? I work there until I get old and die? Or better yet, work there for a few years then leverage my position into that of full on administrative officer? Where does life, love, adventure fit into all of this? Should it be restricted to my 25 days of annual leave?
No. Life is too short to fill with things. Get a job, get an iphone, get an ipad, get a macbook pro. Oh new iphone’s out, better get one of those too. All this work, all this effort, just to fill the time between now and when my heart beats its last. I want to die knowing I did something, left some mark on the world, created something, not surrounded by crap bought with the proceeds of a soulless office job.
It has been said that to truly find one’s self, you must first be lost. I don’t think I am yet. I am still tethered to the strictures of the world that led me to this point, still trapped by the procedures of how to live within a world that has betrayed myself and my generation that I cannot yet figure out how to live beyond it, how to carve out my own reality, instead of being bound by the old.
Such dreams, such thoughts, will always be brought down by the rigours of the real world. There is no fate, no destiny, no great truth over the rainbow. There is just this stinking world and the petulant creatures within it.
Feel free to let me know if you’ve found your place in the world, I begin to doubt I ever will.
Yours, The Idle Spectator.