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On the value of contingency planning

by R-36

Before we begin, some background. Last year, I graduated with a Master’s of Science in biology. This was made possible by a loving mother who brought me to Canada and financial support by its government. During this time I have managed to forge real friendships backed by common experience and mutual understanding, a first for the shy kid who would always find solace in his books. In short, I’m pretty privileged: healthy in mind and body, with a support network, and a small investment portfolio. I understand if you can’t sympathize with my situation. I won’t pretend that I know the challenges of having been abused, seeing loved ones suffer or die, or being diagnosed with distressful conditions physical or mental.

So what is the reason I am contemplating the ultimate contingency plan? It all boils down to unemployment. Finding the next step has been rather difficult and frustrating. I have managed to apply for a doctorate at another university, but that means I have nothing to do until September. If they accept me, of course. I find out in a month, along with whether I need to start paying back my student loans. My undergraduate degree left me with $30k of debt. Depending on the required monthly payment, I may not have enough savings to last until September. Going into more debt is a red line that I will not cross, and I am prepared to take drastic measures to prevent that. I have done everything that society has asked me to do, and I have nothing to show for it. More on this frustration at society later.

Now unemployment by itself shouldn’t make me feel this way. What of that support network? I live with mom, so I don’t need to pay rent (even though I used to contribute when I was employed, which is one of the things that really bother me). I do have my own personal expenses I need to take care of. I am grateful to have a roof over my head, but I wanted to leave. And I still want to leave. I have found that dear old mom has some qualities that I strongly disapprove of in people. She is unable to take responsibility for the negative consequences of her actions. Our current apartment is in a nice neighbourhood, and she complains about too much of her paycheck going to rent. She talks about how she moved for the sake of her sons, even though this was a unilateral decision on her part to get away from dad. She keeps going on expensive outdoor trips around the world, and then complains about not being able to save for retirement. It’s as if being a hardworking mother who has suffered much entitles her to live like the one percent. Without even going into the morality of such a system, it’s just not how this current society works. I owe my mother an insurmountable debt, but I want to avoid her. I have found her selfish, foolish, and cowardly.

Cowardly? Yes, as she is unable to discipline my brother and actively avoids said responsibility. Ah yes, my younger brother. Now here’s a real piece of work. Thinks highly of himself, even though he has accomplished little of value. Thinks he knows everything, even as he spouts stupidities such as employers prizing volunteer (read: unpaid) work over paid positions. Brags about how he knows a lot of people, even though he spends most evenings and weekends at home, parked in front of an electronic screen. If you did know a lot of people, then how come the only work you can find with your biology B.Sc. is part-time retail and general labourer positions? Thinks he is always right, even though he contributes nothing of value at home. Took a while for him to contribute a pittance towards the rent, then he stopped contributing even that (I predicted this would happen because of mom’s lack of authority). This despite buying himself expensive technical clothing, electronic devices, and even investments! As for home chores, nothing. Possibly even the opposite, with all the messes he leaves. The icing on the top of this rotten pastry is that he is indignant when challenged about these things. This psychopath is the other reason I want to leave this house.

I mentioned friends earlier. They are great, and I can’t ask for better. But they can’t help me with my problems and they can’t be there all the time. They have their own lives and I do not begrudge them that. Their company is just a salve on a gaping wound.

Burying myself in work was how I used to escape this home situation. But now I don’t even have that. I have heard nothing from positions I am completely qualified for. Even just a temporary position as a grocery merchandiser. It’s really grating working on applications that lead to nothing. I have done everything properly, and it’s not enough. It’s enough to make dark thoughts arise in my mind. That part of me is actually happy at current events. That incident in Quebec demonstrates that not even Canada is immune to the recent upheavals, which he finds very satisfying. He watches President Trump’s destabilizing actions with glee. He hopes that Trump will abrogate NAFTA, contracting the economies of the nations involved. Maybe other trade agreements as well. Why not involve the entire globe in a series of costly trade wars? He wishes for the election of Le Pen and other far-right leaders in Europe. Perhaps he will see the dissolution of NATO and the European Union. Let the current global order fall to pieces, he says. And Trump’s nuclear arms race rhetoric? Exciting! Maybe it will turn hot. Let this world burn. That part of me demands entertainment for the short amount of time he’ll be here. The other part of me is horrified, but is losing the ability to suppress this darkness. If this society will not allow me to participate in a meaningful way, then what do I care?

Maybe everything will work out in a month’s time. If it doesn’t, I have other things to look forward to. I always did want to see New York City and Washington, D.C. I envy you Americans. The Second Amendment is not just the right to bear arms, it is the right to an expedient end. Oh well, my 24th floor balcony is a decent backup. As much as I’d like to see Canada’s sesquicentennial (should be at least as good as the Philippine centennial, right?), I don’t think my savings or psyche can hold out that long. No point preparing for a future that won’t come. Time to live in the present.

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a1957 2/13/2017 - 4:08 pm

You raise o good point here. If one finds there is no purpose for himself then perhaps the ultimate contingency plan is indicated.
You mention visiting the the US. Here the unemployment numbers are approaching some of their lowest levels in a decade.
As to the Second Amendment, just note that gun restrictions in some eastern states approach the draconian. Even so, yes you may carry out the ultimate contingency, should it be called for, in matter of milliseconds. Perhaps the is the greatest expression of freedom ever, if it is called for.

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