“Young people today, they don’t know how to follow rules…”
I had this conversation the other day with a couple of coworkers in their 40s and 50s (maybe 60s I am being nice). It made me realize how indoctrinated the “real world” makes you and was a fitting way of life confirming my plans. I answered that we have seen the other generations toil and work their life away to lose it all and be completely miserable. First working to retire early, then working to be able to retire on time, and then realizing they are going to have to work until they get kicked out. Where did all that money go? All that time? I know I collect things to make myself feel “comfortable” and “safe.” They responded that my generation will never have anything. I think we will have more than just waiting for retirement and that is more than a nice TV (guilty), a nice car (not guilty), all the fancy gadgets in the world (partially guilty), habits (guilty), etc.
I am in the process of selling my possessions, finding long-term care for my dog, saving money, taking a Teaching English as a Foreign Language course online, tutoring a Brazilian woman in English literacy, and in generally preparing my safe, somewhat secure (at the very least familiar), well structured, life as an Engineering Consultant for abandonment. I am going to be living a more simple life in some ways. I will have no possession, no rent, no utilities, etc. to worry about. But I am also venturing into the world of visas, budget accommodations and transportation, border patrol, and nomad life. I am hoping to do this for at least one year, preferably two. I have some definite goals for my travelling, but few of those are destinations.
My motives of kicking this into gear now started somewhat as a fear of being laid off mixed with a fear of not getting laid off and having to remain in my miserable job. My therapist found it amusing I was afraid of both. The situation at my workplace has improved somewhat through management, but I am still not going anywhere within the firm. If I stay here I am pretty much assured to be at mid level management by the time I am 40, if I make it through the economy. This is not necessarily the most exciting prospect in life. So I eventually came to the conclusion that:
(1) Finding something that makes me feel I have a purpose in the world is imperative for my survival in a healthy mental state.
(2) Now is a great time to do all those things I have always said I could not do (it is amazing how many things you can do if you just do not think this way). The economy sucks and a lot of people are without jobs so I have a great excuse for not having a job and finding a simpler life. I am young and healthy. If I go back to school for an advanced degree, it will benefit me to not have as much income when I apply.
(3) I want to really determine what I want in life I need to do what I want in this moment, which is to travel and explore my creative side on a more full-time basis. This is actually how I started to get in my current situation. I thought I would take a temporary job and pay off student loans while figuring out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and where I wanted to go to grad school. That was two jobs and five years ago. Instead the perpetual over-achiever in me worked late and started “getting ahead.”
(4) I need to make myself a network of happy positive people who are not assholes or addicts because they live to work and think they are working to live better “someday.” Yoga is helping me with this. It is also helping me not to revert back to being one of those people.
This all explains my method of traveling really well. For the most part I want to move slowly and really explore peoples and places and learn languages. I have certain experiences I want to do, a general itinerary around those places, but I am not rushing to see one thing, then another, and yet another… I want to live in one place and use it as a base for day trips or weekend trips and get to know the grocer and postman and baker, etc. I would also like to do some good in the communities I am in, which is one of the reasons for the TEFL course. I would also like to explore some of my passions to make sure my next career choice is a base more on what I want than what is easy, is available, or I am good at.
So, I am sort of going crazy in the middle of limbo. Should I be spending money on clothes and shoes since I do not have a lot of warm clothes and clothes in Japan will not fit me? Come March when my lease is up I don’t know if I am going to Japan, Australia, India, Peru…come along for the travel adventure and see where I end up.