Untitled Meandering In The Dead Of Winter
I used to do a lot of writing for money. And that was good. But after a while (40 years or so), I realized that I had enough money, (if you really ever can), and started writing for money less and writing for myself more.
I really loved doing the stuff I wrote for money. It felt like I was squirting lubricant into the wheels of progress, fueling the money-making machinery of business. It was gratifying and rewarding, and like many of the people I shared the advertising world with, it was also a high ego trip.
People would give me things to do and most of them would tell me to ‘work my magic’. I was really never quite sure what that meant but it felt good all the same, and I slathered myself with it.
They gave me raises (not much) and awards (a fair number) but mostly they gave me the thing I wanted most, which was to be left more or less alone to do my thing, whatever that was.
And it was good.
It helped finance a life that included a wonderful wife, two great kids, house in a nice neighbourhood, and a few other middle class perks. And that was good too.
But after I had put in my time in the salt mines of the agency world, and put in even more time in the speed limit challenged autobahn of the freelance world, I started to wonder about things.
I started to wonder about the world, which had taken good care of me, but for which I had not necessarily returned the favour. Oh sure, I did my share of work for charities and tried to help out as best I could, but I never really felt like it was actually enough.
I was discombobulating to say the least.
I looked around at what was happening in the world. I saw war and human suffering all over the place. I saw the skies becoming more and more clouded with industrial pollution. I saw the disparity between the rich and the rest grow wider and wider. I saw markets everywhere obsessed with profit taking and ever growing share prices. I saw countries being plundered for their wealth without rewarding anyone but the tyrants who ran them. I saw people fleeing terror from their countries running from these same plunderers. And I saw free countries turning to nationalism and protectionism, all in the name of gaining and preserving wealth, aka greed.
And I thought about all the work I had done, and all my friends and associates in marketing had done, to build brands and attract people to them…all for the sake of money.
When I got that in my head, I realized that a world economy based solely on business growth without any real consideration for the well-being of the planet, was starting to turn everything the shit.
And that this process, to which almost everyone on the planet paid homage, was bringing with it the slow and steady decline of our species.
Sadly, by the time I figured this all out, I was a little too old to be out there kicking ass and taking names. I had never really been what you would call an activist nor was I a reckless consumer. I was just a regular guy who, like so many others of us, sold stuff in the world of buy and sell.
We all thought things would carry on in more or less the same way forever, and so we sold and sold and sold, never thinking too deeply about consequences…that the inequities in our society that made the rich richer also made the poor poorer, and that soon they would not be able to buy what the rich were selling.
But none of that seemed to bother the rich. So why should it bother us?
And that was my big mistake. And it was compounded and exacerbated by millions of us so called boomers, who just toiled in the elegant salt mines of business, cranking out ideas that sold stuff to people. Building brands. Promoting excess. Making the rich richer and always assuming that no matter what we had to sell, there was somebody out there who would buy it.
And now, here I am looking at a world, as it is slowly but inevitably, becoming a shithole. Too much industrial waste from the grow, grow, grow economy. Too many displaced souls from the greed of leaders who treat life as if it had no value. Too little opportunity for young people trying to make their way in the world. Too many political systems that have been indentured to big business. And so it goes around and around completely re-defining the concept the of vicious circle.
And here I sit. In a beautiful little city. On a rock high above the rising waters. And I think, well, whatever happens, I had a good run. A lot of us did.
I will do what I can. I have already made it clear that I am only working for people and companies who trying to be part of the solution. And I will keep trying to do the right thing in terms of what any individual should be doing to be part of that solution.
I’m not very optimistic about how this will all turn out. I fear the change that’s required to really turn things around will take more time than we all have left.
But even if I am nothing more than a voice in the wilderness, I will keep shouting. I’ll keep trying to let people know what’s wrong in the hope that those who are younger and stronger and smarter than me will be willing to take up the cause.
It’s gonna take a miracle. But life itself is one of those. So maybe…