Sunday, February 03, 2008

everything was beautiful and nothing hurt... know when you feel that everything must change? like the way life is happening all around you, but it could give a damn about your opinion? yet it's something so unsettling you know it's not right, but something so tremendous it doesn't seem possible to change.

or consider the way we've been trained to think that we're going to go to college for 5 years (these days...), be in debt until we're 35 from that college, and then work until you're 59 1/2 to have saved 3mil -- only to find out we'll still have to get that part-time job at the vfw doing pulltabs so we can still get our grandkids those ugly matching sweaters and then that's it. that's what we've been working towards. and that's life?

and we had these dreams in high school that may have changed, but probably became gloriously magnified, in college? only to transform and morph into a "career" that sort-of fits those dreams a little? then we can still pat ourselves on the back to think we haven't given up our ideals until we can't remember exactly what they were anymore.

and we feel the twisting knot in our gut and sometimes shivers in our bones, that it doesn't have to be this way. to feel like money is the driving force in life to determine how many opportunities we have to fill the void. sure we'll have kids along the way, kids that'll get to live the same circle so they can have more cute snowpants kids to repeat that circle. the circle of work, come to our cookie-cutter earthtone "home," eat some hamburger helper, sit on the slumberland couch exhausted from work, watch "everybody loves raymond," sleep, repeat.

"the day came in, the day went out
and not a bit of peace was spoken about
and it feels like, a suicidal world
and it feels like, hell...

i think im safer in an airplane,
i think im safer with my lungs full of smoke
i think im safer on the jetway,
than a world without hope"
copeland's lyrics

justin said awhile back when i felt as though i could never get out of being a nurse (and felt as though i "sentenced" myself to it by completing my BSN) that there's people all over the world who have to work just to survive and get food for their family. no one asked them if their job was their "passion" or something they even "liked." these are words we throw around all the time, figuring out where we "really belong." i thought, how selfish are we?


linnea was talking about how she has been following this author's blog who wrote a book called "the four-hour work week." on our trip to las vegas last month i started to read it. i can't get this out of my head...
"1. Retirement is the Worse-Case-Scenario Insurance
Retirement planning is like life insurance. It should be viewed as nothing more than a hedge against the absolute worst-case scenario: in this case, becoming physically incapable of working and needing a reservoir of capital to survive.
Retirement as a goal or final redemption is flawed for at least three solid reasons:
a. It is predicated on the assumption that you dislike what you are doing during the most physically capable years of your life. This is a nonstarter -- nothing can justify that sacrifice.
b. Most people will never be able to retire and maintain even a hotdogs-for-dinner standard of living. Even one million is chump change in a world where traditional retirement could span 30 years and inflation lowers your purchasing power 2-4% per year. The math doesn't work. The golden years become lower-middle-class life revisited. That's a bittersweet ending.
c. If the math does work, it means that you are one ambitious hardworking machine. If that's the case, guess what? One week into retirement, you'll be so damned bored that you'll want to stick bicycle spokes in your eyes. You'll probably opt to look for a new job or start another company. Kinda defeats the purpose of waiting, doesn't it?"
The Four-Hour Work Week, author Tim Ferriss

wholly dear God in heaven, does that not resound like something breaking through to the core of those of us who haven't fallen content yet (YET) with the beat of the drummer called mediocrity. everyone has their reasons, though, don't they? but when i think about it i see those 9-5 people who have forgotten they really aren't stuck in it as if they're in the wizard of oz falling asleep with the falling, dainty poppies... (am i being melodramatic today?...yikes...however, i'm going to drag it on!)

so how is it going to change?!
what are you going to do?!

does it have to be this way because the economy thrives when we are wage slaves? and we are being "responsible adults" when we work 40-hours a week?

as of this moment, though, everything seems beautiful. being 25 and had a career for 2 years, i'm not afraid i'll be stuck in it. justin and i are recovering dreams and dreaming new dreams that we will actually really DO and are working towards now. i am discovering this thriving group of people around me who are struggling with the same avoidance of the 9-5. it is so refreshing and inspires so much hope to hear our joint musings and bitchings about "why does it have to be this way?".

because it doesn't.

the life we are living without a doubt has us working more than we'd like, but we are finding the loopholes to keep us away from the mundane "everybody loves raymond" nights and life as usual. we are finding community and hope in the people we are surrounding ourselves with. we are finding that God is everywhere and everything is spiritual. we are finding that we still have that world-changing purpose we thought we did in high school but thought wasn't realistic after college.

screw the 9-5.

"All around you, people will be tiptoeing through life, just to arrive at death safely. But dear children, do not tiptoe. Run, hop, skip, or dance, just don't tiptoe." Shane Claiborne's professor

1 comments (+add yours?)

oldtranslations said...

ashley. let's talk sometime. please.

i'm falling into that mediocre period of life where my dreams seem unattainable, and i don't understand what i am working for anymore (i find your post so funny...i've been thinking about this stuff since this past summer, at least), and i want to reach out and grasp this thing called "potential," but i don't want to forget the small, seemingly petty dreams that i've cultivated in my head and carried around with me for so long.

that sentence was huge.