My friends have this exasperating habit of every now and then, every two weeks when i am lucky, trying to talk me into “a more respectable way of life” or in the latest way to describe it, “not wasting my potential in life”. I had accepted it somehow well, for a long time, but more and more this is beginning to piss me off. Soon i will begin to react to that with a harsh attitude. If it wasn’t enough that the arguments are always almost the same with at best different examples, the way those people put the question, they force me to answer: YES, I HAVE ALREADY CONSIDERED YOUR WAY OF LIFE AND I PREFER MINE. I am sorry, but i do.
The problem is that you can’t say that without implying that you think the way they live their lives is morally bad. You just can’t. Because no matter how much you explain, the basic fact remains, that the other person just offered you his own lifestyle and you said “no, thanks”. YOU JUST SAID NO!
The thing is the issue is framed in terms of “choice”. This gets rid of context, of perspective, of intention, of interpretations, of affection. It assumes that life is one and the same for everyone, and so that me getting a job or him getting the same job is almost the same thing, that it is the same thing for all that matters.
Whether or not i agree with those assumptions, if you put them in the discussion i have no choice but to conform my own feelings and issues and arguments into their line. I can say yes, i can say no, but i can’t show you that it is completely beside the point. I might say “when i get a job it is a different thing than when you do it”, but this very phrase can only exist in this way-of-seeing that makes the way i live my life “a wasting of potential”.
And he might even win the argument. But he did not understand me.
I do not see myself as having the right to say to anyone how they should live their lives. I do not. I really, really, really do not. I do not even want to say anything. I do not even make the judgement of which lifestyle is “better” or “worse”. I merely live my life, only that i have this tendency to overanalyze things and i do have some uncommon takes on things, so if you really really must command me to get a job i will have to say no, and if you insist in asking me why, and if when i answer you add confusion to misunderstanding by questioning my answers in terms of values and future and worth and objectives, then i will end up saying things that in effect amount to “no, thanks, i prefer to live as i do instead of as you do”. But i did not think this prior, i did not set out to criticize people’s ideas, i just go finding my own path.
What’s even worse is that whenever i try to contextualize the argument, and try to bring the issue to topics like ethics (“What exactly is the importance of pleasure in one’s life?”) or metaphysics (“What exactly you call self-sufficiency if you actually depend on the sun for everything?”) or even gender (“What if i do not want to pretend to be macho and in control?”) — issues that are what i am actually worried about when thinking about my life, for if i decide i want a big car when i am old the models will be different and so on — when i try to raise those questions people assume that i am just avoiding the real discussion. They even accuse me!
I don’t know, i really, really think i do not owe anything to anyone. If you disagree, come to me, let’s talk and negotiate some solution. But how can i live my life based on ideas that people can’t even explain to me? Ideas that people believe to understand even when they can’t explain them for themselves?
So: please, please, pretty please with sugar on top, stop telling me to get a job!