A couple of years ago I had a course of CBT. I'd been struggling for a while with my mental health, particularly with stress and anxiety, and while things are better now it's the kind of thing that never really disappears.
One of the things that the course stressed was the importance of living in accordance with your values and beliefs; trying not to only leads to stress and mental problems as you try to be something... someone you're not. Perhaps it wasn't intended to, but that led me to question the core assumptions I'd made about myself, examining my identity to see if I felt like what I assumed to be me still fitted. One of the things I abandoned was my belief in Paganism, as I realised had nothing to show I was a Pagan beyond a bunch of jewellery and half heartedly cooking special meals each Sabbat. I've never really meditated, I've tried it but never got beyond the point of shutting my eyes and having a load of random thoughts try to do the bum's rush on me, and I have never successfully managed a path working. I have no idea if I have a spirit guide or whatever, and the older I get the sillier, and more commercial, the whole thing seems. I'm still looking at it, I have Vivianne Crowley's Phoenix from the Flame to read and I keep telling myself that I'll have another go at meditation (the fact that I'm not actively pursuing this course perhaps suggests that that's balderdash) .
In a similar fashion, this process led to me abandoning any thought of being a Steampunk. It's not that I don't admire that subculture/movement, but it doesn't speak to me on an emotional level in the way Goth does. Plus, well there's some other stuff that I won't go into here.
To be a bit more positive living according to my values means that this year I've been working towards going independent, getting a stronger set of freelancing gigs going and basically being able to stand on my own feet as a freelancer. This fits my values, as I don't believe in big bureaucracies, or in large companies. If anything I've come to believe that they're bad things, destroying communities and traditional ways of life. If a supermarket opens in the local area odds are that the local shops will close, taking their supply chains with them. One store can wipe out dozens of others and the farms they do business with. Large government departments prove to be inefficient and as political power in the UK becomes increasingly centralised, we can see how out of touch they become. Perhaps the debate we should be having isn't public v private ownership, but small business against multinationals. I genuinely believe that the bigger a company gets, the more its bureaucracy will become complicated and the more it will become self-fulfilling, creating red tape for the sake of it.
The other thing is that I genuinely believe that work should be noble, it should be something we are proud to do, rewarding us for undertaking it.
That isn't really what happens though and most jobs are just stressful, stupid and time consuming. They last too long in the day, you're paid for your time, not the work you undertake... a situation that ironically means that most of us end up doing more work as being in the office by its nature creates more work for us to do. Imagine what it would be like if you could do your work and then just go home for the day. Instead, the working day waxes longer and longer, and that's before you consider the office politics.
I also believe that these huge groupings are diminishing humanity's ability to undertake creative work by miring us in process and formulaic thinking. As a result, we are giving up a vital part of humanity, in my opinion, making us more like machines.
I'm not sure how we change things on the macro scale, but for me... trying to go independent is what feels right.