From the desk of Will Kitson: Let's live for something else
WILL KITSON is Managing Editor of Seymour Magazine.
Will holds a Masters in English Literature from King’s College London, prior to which he earned a BA in Creative Writing (with Honours) from the University of Greenwich. Previous to his post at Seymour Magazine, Will has worked as a Reviewer, Copy Editor and Editorial Assistant/Arts Administrator at A Younger Theatre, Blake Friedmann Literary Agency and Brand Literary Magazine, respectively.
Let’s Live for Something Else by Will Kitson
As I approach my one month anniversary working as managing editor for Seymour Magazine, I realize that I’m also approaching my one year anniversary living in Paris. Looking back this is a special milestone for me; not just because I find myself now settled in a beautiful city that I continue to love and enjoy, but also because I feel that I’ve overcome obstacles and boundaries. Before moving from my London home I was overwhelmed with negativity, not just my personal doubts about whether I could survive in a foreign country, but also from friends who suggested it would be difficult to relocate to a culture where I didn’t speak the language, didn’t know anyone, and didn’t have a job. Although these caveats came from a loving place, they represented a negativity that I don’t like. People would joke that I wouldn’t last a month. I’m proud to have proved pessimism wrong, and have shown to myself that so much can be achieved by adopting a positive outlook on life.
On a far grander scale, I feel that positivity is a trait that we will have to rely on more and more in the coming years. Mine is the first generation since WWII that will be less well off than their parents. We are – at the risk of sounding pessimistic – on a downward trajectory; jobs are sparse, and while money is hard to come by living expenses continue to rise.
This is the pessimist’s chant. There is no hope. Society is collapsing. The golden age has passed and the future is bleak. However, I, and many of my peers, continue to live in hope. While I don’t blindly deny the facts, I look forward to a future where materialism doesn’t hold precedence. Perhaps not being able to afford the latest gadgets, spoil ourselves with luxurious foods, and keep up with celebrity fashion isn’t such a bad thing. I’m not saying that it isn’t enjoyable to indulge oneself in these things; but perhaps they’re not the ultimate object.
Look at the incredible challenges mankind has overcome in the face of doom, just in the past 100 years: In far more grave economic strife, post-WWII Britain created free health care for all (ironic, perhaps, as this marvel is being dismantled in the face of our current economic crisis); out of the ruins of WWI artists manifested movements which will stand as some of the greatest and most influential of all time. These revolutionaries who failed to recognize pessimism and self-doubt were positive thinkers. They realized that self-fulfillment lies not at the bottom of a wallet, but somewhere far deeper. It’s a cliché but it’s perfectly apt in our current epoch to remind ourselves that the best things in life are free. All great thinkers and conduits of love and the soul knew this, not least of all one of my favorite writers, D.H. Lawrence, who understood the vast rewards offered by nature, friends, good conversation (all the things which don’t dent your bank balance). Here’s a quote from Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which I often remind myself of when the pessimism starts to creep back in:
Let’s live for summat else. Let’s not live ter make money, neither for us-selves nor for anybody else. Now we’re forced to. We’re forced to make a bit for us-selves, an’ a fair lot for th’ bosses. Let’s stop it! Bit by bit, let’s stop it. We needn’t rant an’ rave. Bit by bit, let’s drop the whole industrial life an’ go back. The least little bit o’ money’ll do. For everybody, me an’ you, bosses an’ masters, even th’ king. The least little bit o’ money’ll really do. Just make up your mind to it, an’ you’ve got out o’ th’ mess.
Published: September 24th, 2013