Remember to live, while you’re alive.
Before I start, I’m going to post this video, because if you’re anything like me (old, from Texas or both) you can’t hear these six words without wanting to sing this song. So.. here ya go.
Not that this blog has anything to do with this song whatsoever; it had to be done. I’m sure you all know the only “Sitting fat down south” I’ve ever done was this past summer when I was eating at Cracker Barrel every day in San Antonio. That’s the closest I’ve ever been. No… No, I’ve never made a million off of a record deal, nor have I ever owned an alligator suitcase. But much like my beloved pastor, I know all the words to this damn song.
I’m a boss. I mean, that’s what these people here call me. Lately I’ve called them “my guys”, my co-workers and on occasion “you fuckers”. That last one I’d only say to their faces though. At any time I’m responsible for up to eight civilian personnel and over 70 million dollars worth of attack helicopter. I’m 39 years old, and I figure even though I never intended for it to, my career has finessed itself into a gradual upwardly mobile progression. I started in the Air Force in 2000, then went to the civilian side as a technician in 2004. Then around 2009 I started to be called a “senior technician” more often than not. As we move into 2014 I’m an advisor. 2017 I become an inspector. Now, I’m a Site Lead. Depending on whom you ask, that last one may not be too much of a progression lol. But you get my point.
This… honestly is one of the worst directions I could imagine my life going. And I swear to The Spaghetti Strainer I’m fighting it every step of the way. A foreign ex-girlfriend of mine once said to me she had no interest in moving to America. She said we focus on work too much. Just last week, I reluctantly began watching a Netflix series called “Emily in Paris”. One of the French people in the first or second episodes mentioned in America we live to work. Whereas they (The French) work to live.
How long have I been saying all these things? Is it because I grew up in Europe, and have been seeing the rest of the world first-hand? How the ratio between work and life differs outside of America? Or am I truly just a lazy fuck who hates work? Either way, I would hate to think that this is just coincidence. These aren’t the only two instances that I’ve heard this opinion. Art imitates life, and even again in Eat Pray Love, they mention overworked Americans and our need to “earn a break” instead of just taking one.
The American hustle is known worldwide. But so is our unhealthy balance between needing to feel accomplished, needing to be consumers and needing to… “succeed”. But in order to succeed in life, shouldn’t there be living in the midst?
I recently made a commitment to not stay at any jobs that caused me stress. I know, I know… that means I’ll obviously be switching jobs often lol. But I mean, to the point that I dread coming into work. That’s not something we should have to endure. All life should be enjoyed. That’s good times and bad times because honestly, its all a part of life. But living in constant misery just to get a paycheck, just to survive? Come on! We spend more time at work than we do doing the things we want to do! As a standard! Other than sleep lol, we work more than anything. That includes getting ready for work, commuting to and from work, lunch and breaks. We WORK TOO MUCH, especially to be miserable while we’re there!
And we do it our whole fucking lives! In order to retire, into a shitty monthly retirement payment and some medical insurance, we have to work FOR THE SAME COMPANY for 20-40 years. Twenty to FORTY YEARS! That’s over half our adult lives! Am I the only one who think that’s pretty fucked up?
There’s gotta be a better way.
My solution… because I’m about solving problems, not just complaining about and wallowing in them was to be more proactive in my own retirement, whilst living NOW. And I know, living isn’t the same for everyone. If you haven’t noticed, I like to travel. I happen to think seeing as much of the world as possible is essential to those of us here on this planet. I don’t understand people who feel they’re adulting or are successful or otherwise “living” when they don’t hold a passport. Like… what are you doing with your life? Local Ass. But… its relative, like so many other things. Maybe an annual trip to Vegas with your homies is what you think living is. I mean… its super lame to me, but whatever. If thats what you do, do it! Hell, do it twice a year! Maybe mix it up and go to Branson too! Make it two lame-ass vacations a year lol! Or maybe wine-tasting is your thing. Or being a beach bum. If “I gotta work” is the excuse time after time, I think you’re not doing life right.
Seriously, we are on this earth for a finite amount of time. We spend way too much of it getting paid, less than half of what our time is worth, and most of us our doing that work for someone who will never have to do another hard days work in their lives. I for one know the top executives for Dyncorp make over $700,000 a year.
While that may not seem like a lot (to whom, I’m not sure exactly) but Do you know what you could do with $700,000 a year? Funny thing is, it’s not too much different than what someone like me makes.
Some of us feel like we need to have “it all”. And that is where the the-more-you-make-the-more-you-spend comes from. There’s no reason why even someone who makes $50,000 a year couldn’t do the things they want to do with their lives, AND save money. If we didn’t need the latest phone every time one drops, the newest car, a $400 vacuum cleaner, the best clothes and shoes and a house that cost way too much just for the sake of saying/showing we have it; that thing that we absolutely NEED to do with our lives might be possible. Even without the $700,000 annual salary.
So yea, I’ve adopted a more minimalistic lifestyle so I can write, travel, and spend more time with my kids. Because honestly, working til I’m 65, 70+ is NOT the business. Working til I can’t barely walk anymore just to get insurance (something I could save up for and pay for by myself) and a lousy pension, not enough to even take care of all I’ve amassed over the years and a plaque. Working til I’m too old to really enjoy life, just to make someone else rich. Nope! I want to live (keep living) now, while I can. Not work the best years of my life away, then be free to live when I’m about to die.
There’s gotta be a better way.
Scream At Me