Steve is a man in his mid-thirties, married with a young child. He expresses himself well. He is a bit of an idealist, that is, he uses words like “authentic” in describing people and looks for meaning behind things like mini-malls. (Idealism is always about “What does it mean? What does it really mean?”) He’s aware of reputation, how far words travel, how meaningless Facebook friendship can be.
He is apparently feeling some stress, as we all do, at having to produce a constant flow of income into his household to keep it afloat. He realizes this will never end.
I won’t rewrite his short essay here, but offer it to you because 1) he is my son, and 2) at his age I was still recovering from a strict Catholic and right-wing upbringing. I was a hard taskmaster, a black/white thinker, an accountant, and was making good money for the first time in my life. And, of course, I was miserable. My kids were young, and they brought me unbridled joy. Without them, my life … who said … sucked blue whale?
I too was an idealist, still am, but I had so many more barriers to breaking free than does Steve. He is 60% there. He is in that mental prison we call Life in These United States, but he at least sees the bars in the windows. My suggestion, usually impossible due to responsibilities and lack of funds, is to travel. It is not like this everywhere. It is better, much better, in other places.
I asked his permission to link to his essay, saying that we get 1500-2000 hits a day. (That fluctuates wildly.) In his self-effacing and humorous way, he said yeah, he gets 10-20 hits a day. I hope he gets … 40 hits today!
The essay is called Homogenization Nation. I found it insightful. I hope I did not make this too much about me.