The dilemma of living in this place is whether to relax and enjoy it or to get out of the hammock and strive to make a worthwhile contribution to the world. I realise this is a dilemma most people would love to have. It’s like, “Should I live on a hill with a seaview or within walking distance of the beach?” No-one wants to hear that shit.
Years ago, when I was destitute, depressed and alone, I could never have imagined that one day I would be living on my partner’s income, pottering around the garden, swimming in the ocean and going out for lunch. My present life would be almost scarily perfect, if only it wasn’t for the the guilt and the fear of wasting my time.
It’s not sufficient to be happy; I also want to achieve something. Or maybe it’s actually not possible to be happy without achieving something. So I work part-time, I volunteer for environmental campaigns and I try to write something that people want to read. That last one is the one that causes the (first-world) problems.
Although I love to write, it feels slightly pointless to me unless my words somehow inspire a better world, but I’ve been told that is just annoying. People would rather read stories which entertain and distract them. That makes sense. Facing reality on a global scale can be fairly harrowing so why would anyone want to do it, especially if they live in a corner of paradise?
Let’s be honest. Life in Australia right now for the majority of the population is pretty bloody good. For those of us in that majority, it’s only when you consider other people that complications arise. Indigenous people, refugees and future generations are some of those who must suffer to maintain our present lifestyle. Our ancestors stole this country from its original inhabitants and ravaged the land which they had nurtured for over 60,000 years. Now we jealously guard the borders against anyone else who wants to live here, whilst extracting and burning all the coal, oil and gas we can find, to leave our children to deal with the mess. It is better, apparently, to create a dangerously unstable climate and society in the future than to risk changing anything about our current paradise.
Clearly, I can’t help being annoying. I attempt to entertain and it turns into a lecture. So, you might wonder, what exactly am I trying to say? Maybe it’s just to share my discovery that paradise is not enough. Personal comfort is not enough. Even writing for my own pleasure is not enough. Ignoring the pain of others to achieve my individual freedom will never satisfy because humans are designed to be social and in the end, life is bigger than I am.