One step from the abyss

For years we Americans have been fed the convenient lie: study hard, work hard in your chosen field, work hard at your marriage, save money, organize your flour, salt, and sugar into labeled bins, and you will be in control of your life and your destiny. But control is an illusion during the best of times. Now, in this new gilded age, where profit takes precedence over people, and commerce takes precedence over art; where a CEO earns 331 times the salary of the average worker, and a company going public feels no compunction about ordering massive layoffs to appear lean in the eyes of investors; where a woman still earns only 78 cents to every man’s dollar, and where access to health insurance—though much improved—still carries strange loopholes that leave some of us uncovered for months; where none of us is able to save nearly as much as we should, despite cutting back on everything, including necessities like food and shelter; where affordable childcare, universal daycare, and paid maternity leave are fantasies that only happen in other countries, not ours; where a college education requires our children to take on the kind of massive nooses of debt that will render them too cash-poor to have any future material goods in need of organizing and containing, most of us are just a single job loss, a single medical diagnosis, a single broken marriage removed from a swirling, chaotic, wholly uncontained abyss. All three of these stressors together, combined with a move, and you get a 48-year-old mother of three, sobbing at the sight of a rejection letter from The Container Store. [link]


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