First I would like to discuss jobs I admire or would want to do, but feel they are unattainable. Typically, any kind of science/math job is something I kind of ogle over. My s.o. is a geologist and works in the software end of things, and I have spent many a minute longing to do something like that. However, I am completely lost when it comes to things like advanced calculus and geomorphology…physics… *shudder* Working for organizations like National Geographic, or to be a Doctor without a Border are other pursuits I will never reach but have a lot of admiration for. I would also like to own/run a bear sanctuary, write anarchistic articles for high profile magazines and be an artist – photography is my best medium.
As for reality, I have actually done everything I set out to do. I went overseas and lived and worked and now I am a teacher (although not currently working), which is a goal I determined to be met in second year university.
But REALLY, my real dream “job” is to not work at all. I’m going to reframe this question into “dream LIFE.” What I really want is to have unlimited time so that I can spend every day with my family enjoying life. Of course, I am at home with the kids so I get to do this somewhat, but what about my s.o.? He is often gone for work and has missed a lot of time with his kids. My kids will be small for only a few short years – these should be the best years of our lives! NOW should be the time when we are “retired”! Many of us miss out on a lot of this time because we have to work to earn money and pay the bills. This is insane, and has been set up by our contrived consumer-driven society. Our generation is maybe the first one to be worse off than our parents. Baby Boomers retire at age 55 and live for the next fourty years off RRSP savings and pensions while us 30-somethings miss out on our own lives and our children’s just to make ends meet while working toward “Freedom Grave”. The promise of a 40 year comfortable retirement is certainly enough to make full-time work and part-time family time attractive, but this is not a reality for many families today, and we are just missing out on life. Thinking about this makes me feel sad and overwhelmed as we work hard to save money and make the right choices about how to use it, and still we get frowned upon by our parents who seem to think we should be halfway to retirement by now. I guess when they were our age they had it all figured out in a world that allowed for financial goals to actually be met. This is a new world, where the bulk of our paychecks get spent on food and housing and student loans and there is little leftover for leisurely activities and the elusive RRSP, and we don’t even have any consumer debt!
Personally, I would much rather enjoy my life with my family than have lots of money, a stuffed-up RRSP or a dream job. When I am old I want to look back at these years and remember all the amazing things we did together, but instead I will be thinking back to how exhausted I am, how I miss my partner, and how much he missed of his own children’s lives just so we could have them.
It is time for our generation to pave way for the next, and part of this is reframing what a “normal” lifestyle is, modeling that money is not everything and getting it into our little one’s heads that big homes, new cars and missing 30 years of your life so that you can retire for the last bit of it will not make your life better – it will in fact make it worse.
Everyone should be taking advantage of this amazing time in history. We live in a peaceful, resource-rich part of the world and are free to live how we choose. So why are we choosing to be slaves to our bank accounts? Currently we are working on a plan that will allow us to live a more leisurely life without the pressure and worries that having no fixed retirement plan and one working parent presents. These things take time, and this plan is going to be an exercise in patience and will fall under the scrutiny of our extended family and perhaps society at large, but in the end it will be worth it. We will be happy, and we will really be free to live how we choose.