I recently was in New York City visiting family and friends while escaping from the endless nightmare that seems to be reality. My uncle and I sat ourselves in the cafe of the MET, overlooking Central Park, and laughed about the microwaved bagel we had just purchased for $5. We hadn't seen each other in around six months and much had happened in that time. I was talking about work when he stopped me and asked, "Wait, how many jobs do you have?"
I said it without flinching and he nodded without concern. Unfortunately that's the world we've created, at least here in America. Where working only two jobs is common place and yet there's no spare money to go anywhere. It's a place where the 40-hour work week no longer exists, 'sleeping in' means 6:30am, and weekends slowly dissipate into working from home.
"For a while I almost had four jobs", he said with a sigh. Approaching a young 45, my uncle has worked in the service industry his whole life. He now waits on only the extremely wealthy on the Upper East Side. He's thankful however, for his ability to pay his controlled and stable rent, for the slow nights at work where he can read, and that he can walk to work.
We ate our lavishly overpriced breakfast, and drank our coffee that resembled dirt water with acceptance. At nearly half his age, I'm reminded that I may always have two jobs and work over 50 hours. I am reminded that it may never get easier to pay the rent, and that savings may always refer to a small piggy bank on my dresser.
However, I also learned that when you get a microwaved bagel that is claiming to be toasted, you laugh. Because in the world we've created for ourselves, you have to live forever in every moment that makes you want to keep living.