“Aspiration” is one of those magic buzzwords in politics right now. Politicians want to support ‘aspirational’ families. As far as I can make out, this means people intent on working longer hours, earning more money and owning more stuff. Aspiration is a good word though, and it needs reclaiming, because you can aspire to things aside from material wealth.
What are my aspirations? What do I want in my life and what do I want to achieve? Well, for a start I want to overcome depression and find enough inner peace and poise to be able to deal with life. It would help no end if politics wasn’t so bloody depressing right now, but I do what I can.
I aspire to improve my physical health. I aspire to being able to source more of my food locally, organically and sustainably. I also aspire to reducing my consumption and fuel use, to living more efficiently and effectively. I aspire to being happy.
I aspire to write to the very best of my ability and to create work that other people enjoy and appreciate, and get something meaningful from.
I’d like to live in a kinder, fairer world where sustainability informs choices, and where quality of life is the priority, not GDP. I aspire to live in a world where people are free to get on with their lives, so long as they aren’t causing any harm. Tolerance of religious difference. Tolerance of sexual difference and lifestyle difference. Respect for life and for the dignity of others. A desire for peace and equality informing what everyone does.
The future I want, the things I aspire to having in my life aren’t objects, and aren’t for sale. Most of it is about values, philosophy, choices. I don’t aspire to owning more stuff. I aspire to being a better person. It makes me queasy to listen to those in power obsessing over physical wealth and consumption when we’re already living at a level the planet can’t support. We need to find better, more viable things to aspire to.
(Or perhaps what they’re actually saying is ass-pyre, and it’s all about the burning of bottoms. Or it’s like respire for those who talk through their arses. Which makes about as much sense as anything else…)