February 5, 2019 at 1:51 pm #108670WabbajaxParticipant
I apologize in advance if this post comes across as overly political; politics was not my intent when I originally wrote this.
Maybe it’s just because I’m a part of Generation Y, because I’m ADHD with possible Executive Functioning Deficit, or possibly because I’ve always leaned more toward a punk mentality, but I do not understand the 5-day (or 6 in some cases) work week. I struggle to wake up, go into work and shut down/control all the “unnecessary” thoughts and behaviors, come home tired, do more work at the home, eat and go to bed just to do it all over again. Having only two days a week to call your own just seems like such a waste of life.
If you were to ask me what my solution to the problem would be, I’m not sure I’d have a good answer. I’ve read theoretical articles on the benefits of shorter workdays or shorter work weeks and how corporations are literally working people stupid from fatigue by insisting on pushing people past their natural limits. Maybe that’s a real possibility, shortening hours or the week? I’ve also always had a bit of an anti-corporation punk-vibe to my life too; I don’t mind small businesses, but I get unusually angry and irritated by the barrage of advertisements that are always hounding me for my limited funds. They seem to be designed to annoy more than actually sell a product and the blatant commercialism just makes me see red.
I’m not really sure what I’m after if I’m being honest. Maybe this is part of the Anger phase of the grief cycle of being diagnosed with ADHD? Of recognizing that life isn’t fair and society wasn’t designed for people like me, but for neuro-typicals who don’t have to struggle as much?
I’m just haunted daily by vague memories of childhood when I was told I could be an Astronaut or a Firefighter or a Jet Pilot and was encouraged to go and chase my dreams no matter what and never give up. I remember this while I was being systematically trained by an outdated school system to be a good little cog in the great industrial machine. I think it’s cruel to bullshit kids with this kind of hope all while working to make them into well-trained drones tailor-made for desk jobs. I think most adults hate the way our work culture operates but don’t say anything because “this is the way it’s always been”. Or perhaps because suggesting a different way would be considered “lazy” or “communistic”.
I don’t get it. Between school loans, medical bills, personal transportation, housing, and utilities, most of the people living in the United States are living under some form of debt-slavery. Where they live week-to-week, check-to-check just to pay off the interest but never denting the principal. So you are forced to be a good little cog and sell 8-hours of your life away at a time just to make rent. Just to live a life you never asked for?
Time is the most precious resource we have because it is limited and cannot be refunded. Yet we spend so much of our lives doing things we hate? Why? Why does the Psych Ward need to bill me for $3,000 after I’ve spent a week inside for suicidal thoughts? Why do most of my meds cost $40 but the ones I really need cost over $300, so I have to go with the second-best option which only costs $10? Why did I need to go to college and rack up $30,000 in debt for a degree I may never actually use? Why do we work for 40+ hours a week until we despise our bosses and companies when studies suggest there are more practical and economical ways to work? Why do we lie to our children and raise them in a broken and outdated school system that was designed for the industrial revolution? Why is it more socially acceptable and successful to be a scientist than an artist? Why is society so biased toward neuro-typicals? Why is it that everyone has the right to life, but not everyone has the right to a base-level quality of life? Where if you murder a homeless man on the street you can be given the death penalty, but there is nothing that gives that homeless man the right to relief from his rotting teeth?
Why do we do this to ourselves? If time is our most precious resource, why don’t we give it the value it truly deserves? Why aren’t we spending more time actually living out our lives and not slaving away for someone else, hoping we can one day afford some overpriced house or car?
I recognize the value of work and the necessity of it for modern society. But I do not understand the value or lack thereof assigned to an individual’s time or products many would consider “essential” to their lives. I do not understand why life needs to be a struggle; why I have to force myself to conform to the standard everyone expects just to keep food on the table and pills in my bottles.
I don’t understand. I’m not sure if I want to understand.
It just seems like such a tragic waste of human life. And we accept it because it’s “normal”. Surely there has to be a better way.
February 6, 2019 at 8:40 am #108763Penny WilliamsKeymaster
This has become the American way. There are countries that require more vacation time and the culture supports a work-life balance. That really isn’t supported much in the US. There are a few companies that work hard to offer this, but very few.
You can absolutely create a life of success where you’re not a cog in a machine. Consider jobs in areas that are interesting to you, that you like, or that you’re passionate about. You’ll be more successful that way, and definitely happier. You don’t have to accept a life of cookie-cutter expectations.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
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