The entry ticket of the community you are a part of goes up if the choices the collective choices they have made were good business ideas. This can limit the ideas you can choose to focus on if you want to be a part of those communities. To eat in the restaurants people eat in, send children to certain schools, or live where and how they live.
It is easy to say, “don’t judge yourself based on your peers”, but it can get more practical than that. Going to visit a friend for dinner, you can’t help but see their comparative lifestyle. It is more challenging to see the whole picture. We only see what is conspicuous, and process the immediate points of comparison we notice or pay attention to. It can be difficult to hold on to your values and choices when spending decisions become joint decisions because of peer pressure.
Part of stilling waves of anxiety, is realising that each wave is not the only wave. Each thought is not the only thought. There are others. The thing you are aware of in a particular moment will pass.
When I stopped working and starting writing and thinking about non-monentary things, I realised that most of my friends were happy, but they had made a wide variety of choices with trade offs and consequences. Every opportunity you take, closes the door to other opportunities. Keeping all your options open can mean not actually experiencing any of those options. We can’t do everything.
The other realisation I had was that there are a whole bunch of people who aren’t even in the position to question their choices. What can happen if you are solely focused on financing your own choices, is you can forget about the hills in Umlazi. Other bubbles are out of sight and out of mind. The nature of global apartheid is that not everyone has the same opportunity.