An essay about me. me, me, me, me.
|I’m a young man who is stuck at a crossroads, during what people keep telling me is a vital, defining and decisive period in my life. I have reached the age of 20, and the time has come for me to choose a path. I must, it appears, prove myself as a productive and useful member of society.
It was with this in mind that I first began, at the tender age of 17, to search my soul in hopes of finding my calling. After realizing this was a complete waste of my depressingly worthless time (not because I don’t have any talent, although nothing really leaped out at me. Rather because you can’t really find your calling, it finds you, If you found it, they would have to call it your answering). I decided I would have to examine society more closely in the hopes that I would find a crack, into which I could cram myself and pretend to fit. The crack I chose was “catering”, and I quickly became one of the most well spoken and inefficient chefs Westminster Kingsway College has ever seen. I excelled with ease in the theoretical aspects of the course, but spent most of the practical classes doing laps of the kitchen hoping not to get noticed, or hiding in the walk-in fridge, eating the work of the more dedicated students.
I know I am not alone in feeling a frightening sense of hopelessness when picturing the future on which I am about to embark. Almost everyone I know is either working in a job with no room to advance, or taking on massive student loans towards a degree in philosophy, creative writing, cultural history or some other highly sophisticated nonsense, with few job prospects and ultimately no way of paying for itself. On the other hand everyone working towards a life in a more financially predictable field of employment, seems to view their career choice as a means to an end more than anything else (the end of course being the money, or as they like to call it “stability”, which is a term I dispute). In my short but intense experience, money doesn’t usually have a very stabilizing effect on people. These are the sort of people who think you’re supposed to make your life fit your CV rather than the other way around. Too many of these success-story-young-professionals end up spending all of their free time drinking and complaining bitterly about work.
It is because of all this that I would like to present you with a question: Why must we all live our lives according to the same schedule? We are all pressured to live life split in to five different phases: Childhood, Adolescence, Early adulthood, Adulthood and finally Old age.
Childhood is by far the best of the five. You receive praise for the simplest achievements, and even when you fail, no one really holds you responsible. Next comes adolescence. This is also a very easy part of your life, although you don’t really realize that until it has passed. After that is early adulthood. This where things start to get serious. You have to start planning for your future and people start reminding you that (for some reason?) you can’t be a child forever. During adulthood you’re meant to plan and save, you have to take care of your own children now, (which isn’t cheap) but you also have to make sure to put aside enough dinero to allow you to live comfortably when you (hopefully) grow
old. You’re faced with the predicament of being needed in two places at once. Your family needs you at home. You must be there to mold and mentor your kids during this highly impressionable period in there lives, while the office needs you to show your devotion to the company. After all if your not ambitious enough to put in the extra hours, there are plenty of people who would be happy to take your place at the drop of a euro.
If you’re lucky enough to still be alive after all of that, you now have old age to look forward to. Affectionately named the golden years. You now have the free time to not do any of the things you’ve wanted to do your entire life. You’re likely to spend all your time talking about your wonderful children who never visit, using entirely too much of your money paying endless medical bills, while your grand dreams of adventure slowly vanish through the cracks in your wrinkled, trembling fingers.
So why is it that too many of us simply go through the motions and live our lives according to what everyone else seems to be doing? Why can’t you be retired for a while in your 20’s? While you’re still physically able to live out some of your fantasies.I mean honestly! You just finished 12 years of school and you could probably use a bit of a break. And would it really be less useful to study philosophy when you’re 40? God knows I’ve met my fair share of 40 year olds that could use a little bit of perspective. After all life isn’t really split into different periods. No one can really claim to know when childhood ends, everybody becomes an adult at their own pace. And as for old age, despite some physical limitations. I truly believe that you really are as old as you feel. Your body never truly represents who you are as a person. Why should the the aging process be any different? Does Mick Jagger let a little bit of fatigue or joint pain keep him from rocking his wrinkly old ass all over the stage? Of course he doesn’t. So what’s to keep you from wriggling your way into a set of leathers, buying that Harley you’ve always wanted, and whizzing across the country, or even continent, with your heart medication in your saddlebags, and your brand new mp3 player playing “Born to be Wild” full blast from your jacket pocket.
I’m not saying that all the structure and tradition we’ve grown use to should be completely done away with. I’m merely suggesting that we needn’t necessarily spend our young lives preparing for retirement, only to spend old age dreaming about the good old days.