We don’t often take time to reflect on why we do the things we do. We shouldn’t need to really, because it must be the right way as that’s what everyone is doing – everyone around us at least.
In the US, we spend at least 12 years getting fully indoctrinated into the culture we’ll assimilate into and the life we’ll live. Much like the lumbering cow in the field dutifully eating before slaughter, we’re domesticated to follow a certain set of rules and a certain path that will result in a certain life.
Some will start working right out of high school and immediately enjoy the freedom of life. Others will continue on to higher formalized education where they will learn even more how they’re supposed to live.
Too soon, most of us realize the freedom of this life doesn’t equate to freedom at all. But luckily, our many years of indoctrination kicks in like an instinct and drives us to what we’re supposed to do: keep working hard and buying more crap.
Buy that new car you always wanted because dang it, you’ve worked hard and you deserve. In fact, buy one of those cars from a company that tells you gaining freedom is as easy as buying a new car!
Even if we’ve managed to get through college with a massive amount of debt, we’ll typically volunteer to take on plenty ourselves. That’s exactly what I did when I tallied $50k in debt two years out of school!
At this point, we’re right where we’re supposed to be. We’re dutifully spending more money than we earn so we can contribute the growth of our economy. We have no choice but to keep our jobs because we have to pay our bills and our money goes to the company store.
We’re trapped and volunteer to continue the cycle as we buy more and even nicer crap. And time goes by so fast… soon you’re ten years out of school and starting to wonder if you’re really going to have to stay in that damned job until you’re 65.
You’re a normal functioning human in the US – and in a position where much of the world is striving to attain.
While this might be good for our civilization because we’re all living very predictable lives where a simple computer algorithm can correctly predict our paths, it might not be good for you. Maybe you don’t want to wait until you’re 65 to retire. Maybe you don’t want to spend the good majority of your life away from the people you love and the things you love doing. Maybe you have something else you really want to do or build.
Which brings me to my main point, what’s good for the hive isn’t always good for the bee. Don’t get me wrong, honey is one of my favorite foods and I’m glad bees can’t refuse to make honey and instead spend their lives sitting on a beach in Thailand wearing a bathing suit and sipping mai tais , but it’s sad they’ll never be given a choice!
Bees are preprogrammed down a path that is essential for the survival of the hive. Their instincts drive their actions and contrary to the movies, they can’t fight their instincts.
In our more ancient days, we were much the same. The entire tribe needed to chip in to ensure the survival of the species. However, now we’ve improved our lives so much through innovation that it really doesn’t matter if I don’t go down the preprogrammed path, and we can actually make the choice not to!
You can decide to sell all of your crap, save money for a few years, and move full time to a cheaper country like Nicaragua where you can teach surf lessons to people from the US who are spending their one week of vacation trying to get away from the trap! You can downsize into a cheaper house and cheaper car and decide to live on half of what you do now so you can take that lesser paying job you’ve always wanted to take. You can take a shot at that dream you’ve always had.
You just need to have a plan and start living your life purposefully. Start saving your money and tracking every cent you make. Stop buying new cars and stop with the dang car payments. If you need help with the details of managing your money, start here. If you need some inspiration on retiring in ten years, start reading Mr. Money Mustache – it’s my new inspiration blog. You only have this one life, and it’s going by very quickly…