Life is hard and then you die, so the saying goes. It is a common retort from the cynics amongst us to those that whinge about the way their lives are going, especially when in reality they are living in the lap of luxury. In other words, get over yourself and get on with it.
If you are lucky life is what you make of it, or is it?
The Guardian in September 2007 announced the publishing of a cradle-to-grave ‘atlas of identity’, which provided a visual representation of the stark social contrasts now dividing different areas of Britain. It showed how the area in which an individual lives can be a strong predictor of their identity not only in terms of class but also health, family structure and likely lifespan.
In other words, much of your life is determined by where and when you are born. A lot of this depends upon your parents, who they are, their circumstances and indeed how they were brought up.
Some people are just born lucky!
This doesn’t mean that those from good circumstances will always do better or that those from worse backgrounds are doomed to a life of grinding poverty, just that for the former their chances of success, however you measure it, are enhanced.
Of course we know this really. We kid ourselves that everyone is master of their own destiny when in reality we have struggled since time immemorial to solve problems with poverty, inequality and social mobility. These problems are difficult to resolve as they are built into the very fabric of the way society is structured.
No one has the ability to change their past, even though many have attempted to rewrite it. Everyone in theory though has a chance to influence their future and make of themselves what they will. Their chances of success however are influenced by the starting point.
To influence you future truly, you need to be able to choose your parents. Life is hard because of them.