This year, I learned there is nothing I want to buy. I don’t want a new outfit. I don’t want to go to a new city. I don’t want to eat overpriced food. I don’t want to ride on an airplane.
The only things I really want are to live somewhere that feels safe — safe from people with crowbars and guns, safe from rodents and insect invaders. I want to know I will not be hungry for too long. To go on long walks and to think quiet thoughts. To read books and look at a tree. To see the faces of my friends. To laugh and be laughed at. To look at my husband and know our love is shared. To go to a family gathering and squeeze the small foot of the newest baby. These are the only things I really want. In the past year, I’ve learned nothing else matters.
I like the idea of having a child of my own, of giving them a safe place to live, but nothing feels that safe anymore. I could move to a wealthy school district where the property is very expensive and the teachers will have long pedigrees, but school doesn’t seem very useful or very safe these days. The kids everywhere, even in the wealthy neighborhoods, don’t seem healthy. They don’t seem like good influences. They seem sick at heart like their parents. Even the best ingredients money can buy are not the right ingredients for strong bodies and pure hearts. Investing doesn’t make sense anymore.
Given that I don’t want most things, I am not sure why I go to work. I go to work for 9 hours a day. I do not make a living wage. I do not particularly enjoy my job, although it is easy. My job is in an office that is temperature-controlled and the people abstain from being blatantly mean — no yelling, no name-calling. This is better than many jobs I worked, jobs in factories and in restaurants. But sitting in an office doesn’t make me feel good about my life. I could pretend I’m doing something important, but I know I’m not. The only people who do things that are real are being yelled at in hospitals and factories; many of these people work longer hours than I do, and the conditions are stressful. When I go to work, I feel like life is passing me by. I feel like my brain is melting with boredom and ennui and that I am doing nothing as the world around me collapses. I don’t like this feeling. I don’t know why I am working for people who don’t care about me, who maybe don’t care about anything.