How do you get out of the rat race?

It seems the closer I got to 30, the more everything started to feel like a “rat race.” The dating and marrying scene. Having babies. Jobs. Education. Everybody is ahead of you and the people behind you are going to trample you if you don’t move. You don’t have time to stop and question it because you’re driven as a collective herd by this omnipotent impetus whose reason is so important it does not deign to be explained or questioned.

There are all the people in the cardboard cut-out lives killing it and then the rest of us get labelled for being slackers, troublemakers, mentally ill, deficient, or something. You don’t get to choose to be in the rat race or not. You’re engaged no matter what you do. It is just a matter of whether or not you stay in the flow of the group or get cast aside and put on the permanently injured and out-of-commission list. You don’t get to choose not to be a part of it, to get into a more fulfilling race, or just go off on your own because there is literally nowhere to go.

It feels like we took industrialization too seriously and Henry Ford-ed our entire world, making our work a factory, ourselves the product, and our lives the passing of a conveyor belt, picking up the necessary parts in a particular order at a predestined pace. If we miss a step, we malfunction. This is me, malfunctioning.

The issue is malfunctioning parts in factories cost more time (and often, parts) to fix them and time is money. There are always more products that did get through the assembly line correctly. It isn’t worth it to fix what you have. We have a throw-away culture instead. Grab a new product and write off the one that doesn’t meet the standards. Not to be too… I don’t know… emo or reek of melancholy but it feels like we internalized that and although this system doesn’t work for most of us, it would cost more to stop the system and consider something else so we just keep doing it and those who don’t fit the factory are collateral damage.

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