imma be, imma be, imma imma bourgeoisie (or not)

Posted on April 27, 2010


okay, so off the bat, I want to acknowledge that “bourgeoisie” is a pretty loaded term, with a good amount of variance in meaning to different people. I also want to acknowledge that “bourgeoisie” is one of those words that, along with “hegemony,” “jejune,” and “undie-run,” college graduates use to prove that they went to college. so forgive me for using such a term as this, but I really enjoy how it fits in with that insufferable new black eyed peas song I’m forced to listen to while I drive children to the club from their school. I intend on using this word (if I use it at all in this post) with respect to the middle/upper-middle class lifestyle/value set/ethos.

with that said, I’ve endured a recent spate of thoughts about comfort, stability, calling, and my future. the astronomical number of my friends who have gotten married in the past few years moves me to think about my own futuredays; the slightly-smaller astronomical number of babies my friends have produced just stokes those thoughts and questions. I’ve only managed some quarter-baked thoughts, but I seem to only write inconclusive, underdone thoughts on my blog anyway, so whatevs.


basically, in my mental staggering, I think I’m becoming a little bit uncomfortable with the notion of working toward a life of comfort. I get that this in itself may be a very bourgeois thought exercise (in that this assumes mobility and choice), but that’s not the point. never in my life have I heard “work toward complete instability,” and probably for good reason. similarly, I’ve never been told “work toward excess,” though I know people who have been told that, have become very successful, but have still managed to remain very decent, grounded people. like in all things I think about, I assume that there must be a middle ground – something between an ascetical life and a gluttonous life; in my line of reasoning, that would be a life of comfort.

but it seems to me that this middle ground is extremely vast and ambiguous, checkered with matters of personal preference, principle, and perception (quadruple alliteration score!). comfort is not by any means bad, evil, unbiblical, or unamerican. but the reason it gives me slight pause is that, like salt water, the more of it you have, the more of it you need. in my experiences (let me say that again, with feeling: my experiences), comfort, by its nature, demands more comfort.

to achieve comfort, accruement becomes the name of the game. I sow my hard work, time, and dilligence, and I hopefully reap something proportionate to that. but when I do that – and I can’t help but feel like a crazy TBN televangelist when I write this in rhyme – the more I reap, the more I want to keep (cue crazy pink-haired lady’s emphatic clapping and nodding). the feeling of entitlement creeps in and slowly spreads under the radar, beneath one’s vigilance against such things. after all, can’t entitlement be seen as merely a perversion of a sense of fairness? and from my own struggles, I’m pretty sure that entitlement is the arch-nemesis of giving. this is the core of what troubles me, I guess.

on the other hand, it would be naive to believe that, for most people, comfort is pursued for comfort’s sake. families (actual and future) need to be fed and provided for. rent or mortgages need to be paid, things maintained. is it so wrong to desire a life marked by stability/non-instability, especially with a family in tow? I certainly don’t think so.

at this point, I need to admit that I’ve obviously manipulated my use of terms. are stability and comfort one and the same? I don’t know, but I have a suspicion that they are not, though I think each bleeds substantially into the other. and if comfort and stability are two unique ways of living, can a line, however faint, be drawn? this is where my brain needs more time to process.

or maybe this is the point in my thinking that I admit that my life just needs more time to experience.

perhaps living a life of comfort is totally cool, but only if it’s counteracted by courage.

courage to give more. courage to feel entitled to little and hoard even less. courage to live within my means and courage to increase the means of others.

this all could be a semantical matter that I’ve taken far too seriously for the sake of my own intellectual and idealist vanity. but I really, really don’t think so. even if 99% of what I’ve written above is misguided or plain wrong, I think there’s something okay about exploring the boundaries of whatever lifestyle I choose or fall into. I think there’s some merit to the belief that, whether we want to admit or not, the more we reap, the more we want to keep.

I draw no conclusions except one: if you’ve stuck with me through this post, thank you. I’m 25 and still feel uninitiated to the rest of my life, which is an obvious thought that still manages to be hauntingly overwhelming. questioning and being okay with drawing no hard truths from those questions is the best way to cope with that overwhelming feeling, I think, so thanks again.