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Greater Dublin Area (GDA) for Leaving Cert Geography

Tip: I found it extremely beneficial to know this chapter inside out and back to front. There is more to write about the GDA in comparison with the West of Ireland, and the questions are often easier to get big marks in. There’s a good bit in this chapter, but much of it is common sense or things you’d hear about on the news. Be specific; learn exact figures regarding population, average temperatures etc. This is a critical piece of advice across the entire geography course, but particularly in the Regional section. 

Our Geography notes are coming soon, subscribe to our emails to get all the important updates (it's free and secure) Physical processes  Climate  Cool temperate maritime  Lower precipitation (compared to the WoI). 800-1000mm per year. In rain shadow of Dublin Mountains (which are 1200m high) Sunshine- 4 hours per day average Summer temperature- 16 degrees Celsius Winter temperature- 5 degrees Celsius Growing season- 270 days Relief
Lowland region- low, flat land Dublin…

Write a personal essay on the tension you find between the everyday treadmill and the gilded promises of life

Write a personal essay on the tension you find between the everyday treadmill and the gilded promises of life. (2013)

Themes: social norms, choice, philosophy, religion

‘To live is the rarest thing in the world, most people just exist.’ 
– Oscar Wilde 

The gilded promises of life are the incentives to embark on the everyday treadmill. We, as the human race, are so focused on the incorruptible promise of a ‘good life’ that we become trapped in the banalities of our own existence. Here is where the friction between the two exist, and Oscar Wilde’s words resonate deeply with me in relation to this idea. I will discuss how each individual is responsible for deciding their purpose, the meaning of their everyday life; they are responsible for finding the faith to keep moving towards the promise they make themselves and staying on that path every day.

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What does it mean to live? The immediate and habitual response I have to the verb ‘live’ is to think of the technicalities of being alive. The need for food and water, the need to breathe, purely to live until the next day. Wilde repudiates this definition of life. My previous understanding of living was merely the definition of survival, of existing. However, I now realise that the two terms are not synonymous. We universally accept that to acquire what is socially deemed ‘successful’, we must first suffer and trudge through the various mundanities of a tired routine. We go to school to obtain a place in college, to find an enviable job, to then work to earn money so that when we retire we can reflect on our youth and curse the years we wasted working to achieve this false sense of achievement. Regretting your choices from a villa in the Hamptons makes it worth the drudgery though, right? We are conditioned from a young age to work tirelessly to accomplish this disillusioned end, and here is where I find the tension between the gilded promises of life and the every-day treadmill to exist. We complacently accept a false imprisonment and use the possibility of success - whatever that is - to justify our malleability. This is the strain that we try so hard to mask, and we tend to succeed in doing so. 

There is another way, a more meaningful way to live, however. Society’s accomplishments can be boiled down to a collective and equal idea of what the promise of life is. The belief that the world we were born into is not the world that we will leave behind, is the premise of many historical social movements. Martin Luther King Jr. faced a myriad of racial prejudices throughout his entire life. He was subject to segregation and denunciation, purely due to the colour of his skin. These were his own personal and typical daily pursuits. However, he knew that this mistreatment of his race was not eternal, his vision of a more equal and accepting society allowed for the liberation of a whole race of people. Dr. King suffered and fought through an overall demeaning and degrading youth, so that the future of generations after him would be brighter. This the true reflection of a gilded promise of life that has been realised. It is these success stories which implore the common man to complete their daily tasks with vigour and gratitude so that one day, they too may bask in the glory of the fruits of their labour. The end goal allows for the agony and distress to be tolerated. Without the promise of eventually reaching the summit of greatness, the endless everyday treadmill would be insufferable. The two have a symbiotic relationship. For either to survive, they both must be present. Society’s progression depends on the people’s attitudes to the relationship between the drudgery of the mediocrity of the present day and the promise of the future. 

Write a personal essay on the tension you find between the everyday treadmill and the gilded promises of life


To chase this meaningful promise though, we need faith to carry us through the everyday treadmill. It doesn't have to be religious, but it could be said that the very foundation of religion is based upon what lies beyond the banal tasks and conflicts that we are faced with everyday. People, naturally, search for a cause for all the suffering and atrocity that exists in the world. We yearn to know why one child lives and another must die. However, for fear of sounding like an old, stuffy man in a tweed jacket in Oxford pondering the meaning of life, I won’t develop that point further than necessary. We collectively wish to place value on our tedious routines, so that we are sure we are working towards something bigger than what we are dealing with now. If the prospect of obtaining this utopia does not seem promising in this lifetime, we search for something beyond this what we are given. This is where religion may give certain people their answer: the afterlife. These people view their entire lives as ‘the everyday treadmill’. They are content with performing the monotonous tasks that are expected of them, as they believe they will be rewarded for this diligence when they pass. Whether you are religious or not, however, the premise of this idea still holds true. We all instinctively search for an incentive when handed a task. The completion of the task, without any reward or social benefit, is rarely ever enough. Religion offers a reward to a duty that may otherwise seem fruitless and futile. These gilded promises are a crucial link in every aspect of life. 

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Even if we have great faith in what we have set out to achieve, it is so difficult to not get distracted or start lying to ourselves about what we're really doing everyday. Although the prospect of an idyllic life can be the driving force behind radical social change and unifying diverse communities through religion, it can also be a means of imprisonment. Through tirelessly working towards this utopia, we can easily get trapped in the repetitive cycle of doing what has been set out for us, never straying from the path that has been hardwired in each of us, attaching ourselves to this uniform way of living can ensure that we become a parasite unto ourselves, its main source of nourishment our very own creativity. It is understandable having an inducement makes the trivial aspects of life more bearable, and so everyone wishes to work towards this incentive. The danger begins when this motive becomes one, clear universal goal for a whole species. As the world evolves, education is quickly becoming a right instead of a privilege. This excites and pleases me, but also poses certain risks. No longer is education viewed as a means to broaden minds and obtain knowledge, but rather a stepping stone towards a career and ultimately a family surrounded by white picket fences. This is the consequence of society allowing too much emphasis to be placed on the tension between the present and the future. Education should be used as a means to expand horizons and make ourselves vulnerable to new ideas and values. Now, however, it is just a means to an end. We must break this cycle of following the path of our predecessors and form our own, based on our own personal needs and desires. The true potential of society will only be realised when each person individually accepts what they define as their own ‘gilded promise in life’, and works towards this without hesitation or doubt. 

The link that exists between the everyday treadmill and the gilded promises of life is undeniable. Without the possibility of achieving euphoria, the tedious aspects of life would be intolerable. Likewise, if we were only subject to the blissful gifts of life, we would have no comparison to base them off, and so perhaps even the treasured things in life would become what we deem as ‘typical’ and ‘banal’, as they would be all that we know. The need for both of these aspects of life is imperative for the growth of society as a whole. We, as a species, seem to have an inherent need to be challenged. We believe that nothing worth having will ever come easily to us. This ideal can lead to the growth of a nation, or to our own personal demise. It is up to us to choose our own fate.


Based on an essay by Nuala Parkinson-Coombs

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