Tossing and turning. Suddenly awake! And then drifting off again. I went to sleep feeling bad about the world and anxious about a few things. I guess it’s unsurprising that I slept like a police-car’s light – a whirling strobe of alertness and quiet.
Tomorrow we go and pick up a puppy. I am not as at peace with the whole thing as I would have expected. Finding a puppy in this environment was like competing for toilet paper during the lockdown and, as a result, we ended up buying from a breeder. She’s only a small-time breeder – one litter at a time and with a funny mixture of dogs capering about her house. The puppies were brought up in a family environment and I like that. But I feel we have joined a frenzy of dog-buying that is unhealthy and may result in rescue-shelters being flooded in a few months time. I feel guilty that we didn’t wait – that I let our son’s infectious excitement get to me. Oh, it’s definitely true. I’m a sucker for almost any kind of animal. But who can resist a fluffy puppy with round, brown eyes? And any purchase made with FOMO is a purchase not entirely of your own free will.
And then there’s the whole world-politics thing. Yesterday it really got to me. I wrote my blog entry and feared I would cry as I read it aloud to P. But my grief for the way the world is going was transformed into a poisoned barb by a little voice in my head that says: You protect what you have too. You too are guilty of defending borders, of wanting to stay wealthy, of failing to be charitable when you could. Just because you don’t have the kind of money Scomo has power over, doesn’t make you any less guilty. You are a hoarder of privileges…
After the May 2019 election, I lost all faith. For a long time I have questioned the work of big charities (Do they use the money wisely? Do they aim for change or only to make the status quo less unbearable? Do they listen to their recipients or simply impose what they think is right?). But last year I suffered a huge disappointment. I committed myself to a political standpoint, a goal, a passion. We threw money and time and energy into it and we failed spectacularly. It wasn’t the fault of the organisations we supported. I guess I see that now. Our money (big and generous from our little pockets) was like one raindrop in a storm. We weren’t even heard in the clatter. So I felt like we’d thrown away money – watched our little raindrop get washed into the gutter and disappear forever.
Like with the puppy purchase, it became a case of defending our patch. A case of FOMO. Unlike Scomo, I wasn’t interested in International Borders. I just wanted to seclude myself from our own government, our own system. They say “Think global, act local”. But I think I ended up thinking local and acting local. I focused in on our little plot. I started this blog. I figured out ways that we, as a family, could be greener, have a smaller footprint. And (in terms of giving) I blocked the big world out (to a large degree). I wanted out of capitalism. I wanted out of consumerism. But even with those potentially wholesome goals, you still have to consider your future. How will we cope when we’re too old to work? What will we pass onto our children? And so even while stepping slightly outside normal society, I am still a prisoner of the system. I still am fighting for my own future, my own patch. I am hunkering jealously over my own little piece of the resource pie. Isn’t that the very nub of the problem with Australian capitalism – an unwillingness to share our wealth?
Recently I pondered homeschooling our kids and listened to a number of podcasts about the Finnish schooling system. I realised that, even if I were as capable as a Finnish teachers (all of whom must have a specific post graduate degree), how do you teach a child in one system when the tertiary education in this country is based on another system?
I have the same problem with capitalism. I defy it in the present but don’t know how to explain my future without it. I don’t know how to protect our children and be a good world citizen. I have failed to think outside the system I live in.