I have a terrible memory, a foggy sense of the future, and am engrossed in a staring match with death from which I simply can’t look away.
I was doing a little research on millennials, the generation to which I am assigned, and I found 40% of the unemployed are millennials, students have on average $33,000 of debt, and a shocking 21.6 million millennials lived with their parents in 2012.
I believe that when most us (I’m talking about everyone, not just millennials) look to the future, we see a shape-shifting array of jobs, financial uncertainty, and no hopes of retirement.
Or that could just be me.
When I graduated from college nearly four years ago my first real job was in corporate hell. I came home, after being trapped in my cubicle for at least eight hours and battling traffic for an hour each way, and I cried. I couldn’t imagine working for even a year trapped with one eye always on the clock.
I know that many adore working a steady job and saving for retirement, but I couldn’t hack it.
Three months later I had an escape plan: I would bike across the country. And that trip changed my life.
Death Is Upon Us
It is morbid, but true. Death lurks around every corner, waiting to surprise us with an oncoming bus, a skydiving accident, or a trip to the doctor. We are living in its shadow.
With death breathing down my neck every moment of every day, I’m dubious about saving for tomorrow. On the one hand, it seems supremely optimistic to think that I’ll live far into the future and be able to retire. And on the other hand, it seems so pessimistic — to imagine a time when I wouldn’t love to do my work.
It’s terribly unsound financial advice, but without any assurances of what my future holds, it seems insane for me to sock away money for retirement.
Why not find a job that I love and make that my life’s work until the bitter end? Why not enjoy mini retirements from time to time before 65? Why not structure my life in a way that makes sense to me, instead of looking to society for answers?
Why Not Now?
Regardless of any of our work and money choices, now is the only moment we have guaranteed.
If I’ve learned one thing while traveling and adventuring and meeting incredibly inspiring people from all walks of life, it’s this: we have a choice — and our lives are our responsibility.
I’ve met people living in a massive variety of styles, but what they’ve all shown me is our lives display our priorities. When we can recognize that, and understand what our priorities are, life blossoms.
I believe that we each can create a life far better than the one we’ve dreamed of if we open ourselves up to possibilities, walk through fear, and take responsibility for the way we live.
So, if you were released from the bonds of tomorrow, how would you live today?
And since tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, why not start that life today?