I think I have less than 100 days of my undergrad life remaining. How sad.
They say college is the best part of your life. The last stage of a carefree life living out your dreams and fantasies with no worries of responsibility towards family and yourself. And then reality hits, some say life grounded to a halt socially after you start working, or should i say slaving. The majority of this world slaves, trapped in the never-ending cycle of working for life.
With 50 years of a 75-year average lifespan of male humans in the developed world left, its certainly a depressing thought to think u study so hard just to endure years of working in a dead-end job in order to feed your family and live up to society’s pressures on you. Do people really have to metaphorically “die” once they graduate and start working?
Death as in: get stuck in an endless cycle of working for others (ie feed family) and live up to society’s expectations of you
I threw this question to quite a number of my friends, just for the heck of it.
Here’s the most in-depth response I got:
“well not necessarily although it happens far too often, you could walk away from the herd, actually this kind of death begins much earlier for some, some start feeding into society’s expectations from a very early age, like……..i must do well in sch………must have many co-curricular acitivities etc… you should try reading the work of nietzsche, or maybe even the book of ecclesiastes in the bible often the price of walking away from the herd is too high for some, so they stay in the herd for others, they don’t even realize they’re in the herd”
So what’s my point?
1. Think deeper.
Or rather, more philosophically about your life. Are you in the herd? Are you happy being so? What’s the benefit of leaving that herd and the effort required?
2. Ask “Why?”
The “what”s in our life are laid out clearly. Work for wages. Follow the rules. Pay taxes, make more babies etc… All these is how you should live your life. But we always forget that we are not robots, and if we dun ask “why?” enough, we are no different from robots.
3. Go explore. Really.
What lies out there once I leave the herd? “Yah, Bjorn, you think u are a smartass asking me to leave my job and career. What the hell am i supposed to do?” THis is the response I am most likely to get once I open up my question to more people. Infact, I think those who did not reply my question think so too. My answer is: go figure out yourself. Its your own life. Your own to explore. Go travel, and I dun mean keep taking pictures, go understand how pple live in other countries outside of picture-perfect touristy cities.
4. Inertia is the “best” anasthesia.
We all hear the common refrain. “But I can’t leave everything behind. My career, my friends, my family.” Dun wait too long. The world moves much faster than those endless nights of you in the office cube staring at Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint, Access, Word. All the trappings of our modern society. If you continue waiting, fear of trying will kill you and numb you into inaction, forever rendering your life an endless cycle and a repetitive loop. Which brings me to the next point…
5. Do it when young.
Try all the crazy stuff you ever wanted to do. Before you no longer can do it. If you wanted to backpack in Europe, go do it. Bungee jump? Why wait till 65 when your kids are grown up?
6. Follow your passion.
Its YOUR life. Even in Asian society where some say your parents own your life. I say, parents will understand eventually that the best for you is a future you came up with yourself and not one they mapped out for you. If those apron strings are never cut loose, you wun realize your potential and be happy in what you are doing. Think about it yourself, fillal piety, a trait of Asian society, has been evolving for ages since the days we broke free of arranged marriages whom some thought was a great hallmark of fillal piety. Evolve your thinking, dun follow blindly.
Note I did not ask people to stop working or starting families or simply laze in your life. I just suggested means for people to love their lives more. Many family problems and even societal problems stem from the workplace. And with globalization and a 24/7 workday with advanced communications technology, we will soon rue the day we missed out on what it mean to be young, to live your dream, to be passionate about what you do everyday, to miss out on your kid’s birth due to an important meeting with offshore clients. Yes, pragmatism is good. But at what cost when it meant slogging with no end goal in mind? If you have been exposed to sufficient alternative ways of thinking and theorizing about your future, you attain inner peace with your job and your destiny in life. When that is achieved, no matter how hard you work, you will be contented with your lot.
Have you asked yourself “Why?” yet?
Related article: What Drives You?