One of the most important abilities one needs to cultivate in the real world is managing uncertainty, if nothing else. Corporations are no longer loyal to workers as they continue to outsource jobs to other parts of the world. Cultivating a wide variety of skills is important in order to move on from this kind of blow. My father used to work in manufacturing during the seventies and eighties. At the beginning of the nineties, he lost his job because the company was relocating production to Mexico. Since he did not know how to do anything else, he bounced from one low-paying job to the next.
Maybe had he taken up computer programming, he might have come closer to his retirement goals, but alas, his job might have been outsourced in the early twenty first century as well. Some say that a college degree is the ideal way to maintain job security. There is a grain of truth in that as most companies are looking for educated professionals…unfortunately, more white-collar mid-level positions are being outsourced as well, and our college-educated companion is out of a job too. The closest thing to security one can achieve is becoming educated in a field with high market demand, and not enough personnel to fill all positions.
Personal relationships are another category where uncertainty is more the rule than the exception. Most marriages end in divorce, no one knows how their kids are going to turn out in the end, and sometimes friends will stab you in the back. The easiest way to minimize uncertainty in this realm is to cultivate a large support system of friends and family members.
Confining oneself to a marital relationship or association with one’s immediate family will bring nothing but self-destruction in the end should those relationships flounder. Humans by nature are social creatures, and must form many ties in order to feel secure. Of course, there are exceptions to this, and I conclude that they are either very introverted or extremely well adjusted. In this swiftly changing society, one is always out of alignment because of the quickly shifting cultural tides.
As a nation, the United States is at a very precarious point in its lifetime. It is embroiled in a series of foreign wars, which deplete the national treasury. In five years, the first of the Baby Boomer generation will retire and there will be no money to support them all. Personal investment plans such as IRAs, 401ks, and mutual funds are key to provide our generation with security in old age. Gone is the age of depending on the government for necessities. In some ways, it is a good thing because Americans have lost the self-sufficiency that is part of our illustrious legacy.
Starting a meditation practice or exploring philosophical systems that highlight the impermanence of material goods, relationships, and life itself should help the individual come to terms with the unpredictable elements that will always show up—both the good and bad. The only certainties in life are death and taxes, all other categories must provide for contingencies.l
Concerning my future, I have never really thought about it beyond finishing my studies. However, since I am at the point where I need to seriously consider future options, I shall outline it here. Now, I think that I would enjoy going into the field of applied science or fiction writing. Most likely I will end up doing both because breaking into the publishing racket is extremely difficult by most accounts, and I hear that the majority of fiction writers make less than $7,000 a year.
In the real world, it is unlikely to find a rat-infested cardboard box for less than $500/ month. Spaced over twelve months, I would only have $1,000 for a year’s worth of groceries, utility bills, and Living with my parents for most of my adult life is not in the cards for me. Not only would that hamper my independent inclinations, our temperaments mesh like oil and water. One thing I must say in their favor, is that they would allow me to live with them if I were to ever fall on dire straits.
If my writing is rejected or is subject to a tepid reception in the market place, I want to get into a field that will always have positions open. If THAT doesn’t work out, then there is always real estate sales and investing. Donald Trump et al have made a fortune in real estate investing and my research has shown that is the tried and true method of obtaining financial security. Incidentally, financial security is an important part of my future. I want to be in a position to emigrate if the unemployment rate deteriorates or the government embraces fascism. Should that happen, I think I will move to New Zealand. From what I have seen of it in the movies, it is a beautiful gem in the South Pacific, and if I don’t like it there, it is a hop, skip and a jump away from Tahiti.
Maybe I will get married. Find a nice young man to settle down with and have 2.1 children complete with white picket-fence and dog. That sounds like something that I would consider doing in my late thirties, after I am through traveling, investing in my career, and having fun. Getting tied down at a young age is quite ridiculous considering the divorce rate. Modern technology has made it so much easier for older women to give birth that a first-born child at forty is not out of the question for me. Since I eat healthily and practice yoga, running after little ones will not be a problem “at that age.” I have begun writing down yearly, weekly, and monthly goals in order to bring my dreams into reality.
Living With Purpose
One of the many buzzwords floating around popular culture today is the idea that we need to live with a sense of purpose to our actions. There are many websites devoted to this cause. Blogs such as stevepavlina.com, and web sites featuring the ever-ubiquitous Law of Attraction, discuss the need for finding a passion and getting paid for it.
Unfortunately, for the vast majority of people, that is clearly not the case. Most complain about their jobs, their spouses, and their circumstances ad infinitum without doing anything about it. Perhaps this obsession with purpose is the product of a society going through a mid-life crisis. Think about it, when a person hits their forties, they usually start reflecting on the past and how their lives were devoted to a meaningless quest for materialism. Nevertheless, I am not completely cynical about the life purpose.
People with purpose usually have clear goals directed to the end of fulfilling their purpose. These people are not corrupted by indecision, social pressures or conflicting goals; nor do they lose motivation. There is much to be said for finding and living on purpose, and many writers have made a fortune off of promising to help the masses find this purpose.
Choosing a career, finding a mate, and pursuing certain hobbies are part of a grand mission—i.e. something that one was born to do. First, I must admit that I am extremely jealous of people that seem to have their whole lives figured out. I, on the other hand, have a hodgepodge of ideas that I would like to experiment with. Perhaps it is something that evolves organically over time. Now I know that I have to pick one path and run with it until its logical conclusion or switch gears because I still am unsure about my life’s direction.
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to help others but no specific method jumped out at me. I would volunteer at the convalescent home to read stories to senior citizens, tutor children in the projects, and pick up trash in protected areas. None of these tasks called to me as a life’s work. Perhaps that is why I am in school now rather than writing the next great epic, or rubbing elbows with rich and the powerful. Perhaps I can use one of my chosen career paths to become personally successful so that eventually, I would be in a position to help others through philanthropy.
Difference Between Last Era and This One
The twentieth century was a time when rogue governments took hold of their nation’s destiny and driven them. No matter what one can sya, the last century gave rise to a multitude of changes. First, electricity became widespread in the industrial world, secondly transcontinental transportation became more efficient as cars, airplanes and trains replaced the horse and buggy. Einstein’s theory of relativity supplanted the old Newtonian model and many scientists of the twenty-first century are seeking to unite quantum theory with relativity without much success thus far. It was in the last century that organ transplants became common, and the explorations of outer space began.
Today, it appears that people are less interested in furthering our exploration of the solar system and the galaxy because there have been no significant manned space missions in more than thirty years. In sum, we are no different now than we were back then. Actually, it appears that the world as a whole has regressed into the religious fanaticism of the dark ages. Fortunately, we have progressed in temrs of race relations domestically, even as we regressed internationally.