Monday, December 11, 2006

What are you doing with your life?

I read with amusement in The Times today that "the number of young people doing nothing with their lives has risen sharply since Labour came to power." (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2498386,00.html). Sadly, however, it seems that the definition of 'doing nothing with your life' is unduly restrictive, only including people who are neither in work, nor in education, nor enrolled on a training scheme. The Office for National Statistics (ONS), who compiled the figures, claim that there are now 1.24 million people aged between 15 and 24 who satisfy this criterion.

Two thoughts occur to me here: Firstly, the irony that these figures were probably compiled by clever graduates, working for the ONS on a salary of circa £20K, who probably think that they are the ones currently doing nothing with their lives. Secondly, if we weaken the criteria here, how many people in society are actually doing nothing with their lives? Here's a litmus test for deciding where you stand: ask yourself, could the role you play in life, either at work or at home, be done equally well by another random individual? If you bring something unique to the party, something that no-one else could supply, then the answer is no, but if the answer is yes, then perhaps you should consider that you're doing nothing with your life. Do not, however, despair! There may be some tax rebates in the pipeline for you.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bloggers by definition are surely doing nothing with their lives; hence blogging.

Susan Balée said...

I hate the concept that "doing something with your life" in the Western world usually means working. Or studying so that soon you *can* be working.

Find me sitting at the dinner table, surrounded by family and friends, the remains of a wonderful meal on the table, the dog with her head in my lap, my children's laughter pealing, my friends' voices energetically discussing something, the kind warmth in my husband's eye, the nearly empty wine glasses reflecting the flames of a few burning candles and....
And *that* is when I really feel I'm doing something with my life.

On your deathbed, you won't wish you had worked more.

Gordon McCabe said...

Wise words, Susan.

elberry said...

it's a very Western idea that if you're not altering the course of things, making a name for yourself, earning & spending money, you've wasted your life.

"If I were not Alexander, I would choose to be Diogenes" - wisdom, there.