Exceptional Mediocrity: Rose Tinted Living

I read an article this morning by Mike Rowe, talking about following one’s passion and how it was poor advice. You can check it out here
There are plans, dreams, plans of dreams and dreams of plans. Growing up, most had dreams. Generally, before the over saturation of ‘talent’ shows and the world of unexplainable job titles, beside the normal wishing to be famous, people would dream of getting a high paying job, being a manager of some description.
That was different time. A time before one could find out at the press of a button what your peers earned, how they lived, where they holidayed. Such envy inducing information required more than foggy dreaming. It required a plan. Thus the uni generation came into existence.
What, you may ask, is the uni generation? As a child of the urban city, born in the late sixties and schooled at a local comprehensive and secondary, my peers also occupying the same, working-class strata, had a particular outlook on life. Only the super-intelligent had any expectation of going to university. The rest of us, living in the era of high unemployment and depressing prospects that was the eighties, just wanted to gain a paying job that would afford some life luxuries. The expectation, education wise, was sixth form or college at best. It was also a time of winners and losers; a discernible separation between the rulers and the workers, the affluent, leaders of society and the common masses.
Less than a generation later the expectation of going to university is normal. Every young person, smart or dumb, has been, or expects to go, to university. Get their degree, ready to take on the world. No longer the small dream of just getting a job. Now it had become a step to something, some amazing career path, filling out an impressive cv, whilst increasing the bank balance and changing the status on your LinkedIn account.
With the move away from manual, trade based, working, everyone pursued an artistic or office based, computer related career. Dressing nicely and preening to work. Handsomely remunerated, the uni grad hides in plain sight, a ‘success’.
Does the work they do matter? No doubt some, yes. Are they, as they hustle to work, mobile offices denoting their import, changing the world? Maybe a few. The vast majority have been sucked into a race to the middle. Flat screen televisions, latest mobile phones, best post codes, organic produce, all things that denote a visible, lifestyle magazine matching, polite, blasé, isn’t-everybody’s-life-like-this, lunchtime conversation, middling comfort. Everybody wants the best, but the same. Same phones (form an orderly queue), frequent the same clubs and bars, same cars, same post codes. When they check the mirror of their peers, they pretty much see the same stuff. They’ve arrived.
Is it a bad way to live? No, not at all. Nice things; good food, wine, travel, items and trinkets, it is not a failing to want these things. Living for the accumulation of stuff, the pursuit of oneupmanship, that is perhaps, a goal not worthy of chasing. After all, as amazing as one’s life can look, someone else’s will always look rosier.

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