“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – Einstein
What’s it all about?
Life I mean.
Am I the only one who sometimes asks this question?
I can’t be. In fact, I know that I am not. There is many a blog post about this very topic.
What IS it all about?
Let’s look at how it begins, shall we?
You come into this world as a crying baby, you slowly learn how to walk, everyone tells you how cute you are, you go to school, you act in a school play, you play handball, you go to middle school, your body starts to change, you get curious about sex, you hang out with your friends, go to the movies, etc.
(Have you ever noticed that kids are smiling in photos and seem genuinely happy, but as adults that is not the case? Hmmm)
Then high school comes along and you start hearing the whispers from the adults.
I was/am involved in the education system and it is very messed up in my opinion.
“What are you going to do when you grow up?”
“What college are you going to?”
“What are you going to major in?”
The university conveyor belt begins.
“Get a degree and you’ll be set.”
“University is the answer to career success.”
“University will get you a high paying job and respect from the rest.”
With all this constantly being preached to our high school kids, and no other options being put on the table, they automatically begin to follow “the path”.
They get into college as an undeclared major or choose a “safe” major until they decide what to study.
This is where the paths of each student seemingly start to diverge, but in reality, all are part of the same path that most people go on.
Some students go to law school or med school because that’s what their parents told them to do.
Some students major in engineering for the money.
Some students major in computer science because it’s the current “hot trend”.
Some students major in liberal arts.
Case in point, all of them graduate and they begin to reap the seeds they’ve sowed.
The seeds of conformity.
And who can blame them? They don’t even realize it until its too late.
We are sold this story from the time we are young enough to hear it. Hell, it is just what people do.
This is life, man.
And it’s bullshit.
The student who became a lawyer or doctor soon despises it because it was not his or her choice to make, but he/she feels trapped due to the enormous amount of loans he has taken out to finance his education so he feels he has no choice but to press on.
The student who went for the major that proves to pay the most money, soon realizes it’s not all about the money.
Money does not buy happiness. It really doesn’t. There are very wealthy people who are very unhappy.
Money enslaves people. It takes away time from them and their family.
The student who majored in the hot trend is a mix of the above two. He made the choice outside himself AND for the money.
Then come the students who major in liberal arts degrees, degrees that people on the outside deem as “useless” (i.e – “What are you going to do with a degree in philosophy?”) and they bitch and moan about how there are no jobs and soon realize that a university degree does not entitle you to anything. They find that work experience and marketable skills comprise of the other side of the “college coin” that nobody ever mentioned to them.
And one of the most unspoken things about the glories of college education that inevitably “shock” college graduates is the debt they incur and must pay back after they graduate. The average is roughly the same as paying off a loan used to buy a brand new entry level luxury vehicle with no money down.
Authority figures ranging from parents, to teachers, to counselors had good intentions when pushing students toward the college track because that’s what “worked” for them, for their generation, but not now.
Case in point, there’s a lot of post college disillusionment going on these days and rightfully so because most people felt they were “lied” to when they were young.
A couple months after they graduate from college, they sense that something was wrong with “the system”, that it did not deliver what it had promised them.
In an ideal world the educational system would be set up to “fit” each person with their ideal job/career. It might help identify potential entrepreneurs and encourage them to start their own businesses. It might help identify potential architects, designers, analysts, etc.
Using this approach, society AND the individual would benefit.
You would find the best fit for the best person while they are still young to set them on the right track and society in turn would get the best workers for the best jobs and the best entrepreneurs for the best businesses and the individual would be happy doing the work they were suited for, and doing a stand up job at it as well.
But again, that’s in an ideal society.
That’s not to say that all college is bad. College is great if you’re specializing in something – medicine, law, engineering and then there’s the intangibles of college that also help – network connections, job fairs, etc.
Again, in an ideal world, it would be the corporation.
The more corporations begin to realize that more than 80% of their workforce absolutely HATE their jobs, the more they realize this hatred leads to loss of time and money and productivity, the more that companies begin to realize that happy people are productive people and that happy people are those who like what they’re doing, the more they will start to invest in products and services geared toward fitting the right people in their companies with the right jobs within their companies, and the more happier both companies and workers, not to mention shareholders, will be.
Again, in an ideal society, all this would be great. But as we all know, we are not living in an ideal society. The world is changing too fast and the system can’t keep up.
Up to a certain point, you can blame the education system and all the proponents of it for putting you on the college conveyor belt.
Up to a certain point, you can blame the economy for putting you in a job you hate.
Up to a certain point, you can blame “the capitalist system” in general for your troubles.
But the hardest pill to swallow is that it’s up to YOU to live the life you love.
And that it was always up to you to do it. You were just too young to have realized it.
The trouble is nobody thinks for themselves and it’s hard to blame them because we are not taught to think for ourselves at a young age and it becomes that much harder to acquire this habit later on in life.
We are taught to conform. Individualistic thinking is discouraged. It’s dangerous to have people think for themselves in society.
Sit down, shut up and do not ask questions.
Just be a drone. A hamster on a wheel.
It’s Time To Get A Life
I am not saying that money is not important. Presumably you need a place to live and you need to eat and look after yourself and your family. Those things cost money in most places.
What I am trying to convey is life is short and before you know it you are 45 or 55 or 75 and you look back and think, “What the hell was it all about?”
Let me ask you this: If your place was on fire, what would you try and save from the flames of destruction?
Only you can answer that.
For me, living a more minimalist lifestyle just makes sense. I substitute teach a few days a week and in the summer I do lawn care, which I LOVE doing, that more than pays the bills.
I am very fortunate as I am mostly debt free. I have chosen to set my life up this way. If I want to travel I can. If I want a day to myself my minimalist lifestyle allows me to do that.
And I am even able to save a few dollars. I just don’t give a shit what people think of me or my lifestyle. It works for me. I am happy. I am content. I have friends who love me and to be honest that is all that really matters.
I think that there is more to life than money. I think choosing a meaningful life is more important.
So maybe, just maybe, you agree with some of this. Or maybe I am just a blathering idiot who is full of crap. Who knows?
So maybe it is time to let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are.
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