In her essay Notes On The Upper Muddle, Lucinda Rosenfeld contemplates her status in society. Although her essay isn’t too interesting, covering everything you’d expect from a white, upper class journalist, the concept in itself is worth exploring and wondering about oneself.
I’m too young to consider myself in the socioeconomic scheme of things, considering I still live with my parents and only very recently got my first job. So for this post, I’ll consider what my father’s (the only source of income in my family) status means for me.
My father is your classic immigrant success story. He came here on a plane, by himself, when he was 16. He went to school in the day, went to work at his uncle’s liquor store until midnight, and didn’t speak a word of English. He dropped out of a school after less than a year. Fast forward 25 years and my dad is a member of the middle class, and has a family of 6 (plus his 2 parents that live with us and 3 cats!). He doesn’t make a huge amount of money, but it’s enough to wear we have the appliances you’d expect and food is always on the table. And I have my own car (albeit a salvaged car, meaning insurance companies have given up on it). It gets me to point A to point B, and it’s beautiful, so I’m not complaining.
So what does that all mean for me?
Obviously, I’m not too stressed about my family relations. There’s dinner on the table when I get home, and my parents respect each other and have an extremely stable relationship. That’s the privilege I have from being middle class. Not having to worry about the essentials of life frees up my mind to think about a lot of other things (Which is a phenomenon that also applies to many people around you, if you pay attention). So what to do I do with that extra brain space and extra time? I like to think.
I know that’s vague, but stick with me here. I don’t have to worry about money, or any real world problems yet. It’s weird to think about, but if you’re in the position I’m in, you don’t have much to worry about in terms of reality. No taxes to pay, no bills to pay, no family to support, no daily job (albeit school is a thing), no spouse to deal with, none of that. The closest thing I have to a real world issue is dealing with the relationships between me and the people around me.
It’s a pretty sweet deal. Because admittedly, my relations with others are complicated. I’ve discussed the nature of teenagers and their emotions extensively on this blog, and I’m going to keep doing so.
In high school, the reality is most of your relationships are going to no longer exist post-graduation. There are all sorts of statistics at stageoflife that support this. This is by far the most fascinating aspect of high school kids. Our friendships are destined for failure once we graduate and leave each other for the far ends of the earth. Despite that, throughout our 4 years, we make more friendships. We make connections we think are never gonna fall apart, knowing that they will. But we STILL strive for more friendship and camaraderie. We truly are paradoxes.
It seems no one is concerned about this except me. I can’t bring myself to love anyone around me because I know they’re going to leave me. It’s a similar concept to what I discussed in my last post (read here). However this time around, it’s the people around me I’m suspicious of rather than myself.
I’m keeping people at arm’s length so the inevitable collapse of the inevitable attachment between us is a little less tough to swallow.
Note: I consider this post and the last post to go hand in hand, so last week’s is worth a read as well.