The Next 20 Years…

by Chris McGinty

Nathan is continuing his existential crisis. Maybe I’ll come up with a story that exemplifies his second post too. In the meantime, let me tell you a story that really happened.

I don’t remember exactly what year, but Nathan and I were going to a Comicon where we were setup in the vendor room selling various wares. It was early on in that adventure, and I believe we were either still in the shop, or it was soon after the shop closed down.

Nathan asked me, “Do you ever wish you could go back to being a teenager in high school with no responsibilities?” I don’t remember my response, but I can almost promise you I didn’t agree with his premise. I hated high school, and I wanted to be out on my own when I was fifteen. I was probably sympathetic with his premise though, because by that point I realized that it was really hard to get by without either a huge income or two incomes in your household. This meant that while I didn’t mind working hard, I wasn’t being put in a position to truly save for my future.

What Nathan wanted was a situation where he had no day-to-day stress. School required you to show up, study, and do your homework, but you hung out with friends and had a good time. Then when you went home, you didn’t look at your bills and think, “I really didn’t earn enough today.” For me, school was a waste of time. It was pointless to go, because if I didn’t go to college, I would get the same crappy jobs whether I had a high school diploma or not.

What I told Nathan that day was, “Why don’t you go get a PhD?”

My reasoning was that it’s about as many years as one would spend in school K-12, and if he could get scholarships and get in the right programs, he wouldn’t need to work a job. At the very least, he might have to work part time for walking around money. I was delivering pizza, so I was working for driving around money.

Nathan didn’t take this advice. He instead built into a really good income and took my advice and threw $1,400 into investment savings every month… I’m remembering that wrong. He scoffed at that advice; not in a mean way, but in that way that people do when a new idea makes them uncomfortable.

Nathan did do some online college. I think there’s a blog post or two or three where he briefly discussed that. But he did all of this while working a job and chasing a lifestyle. I’m not actually here to criticize that though. I have another point I’m trying to make.

It’s been roughly two decades since Nathan and I had that conversation on the way to Comicon. He felt that life had passed him by that day, and yet here we are twenty years down the road and life hadn’t actually passed him by yet. He’s feeling like life has passed him by again. A lot of my friends are.

The Godfathers – Life Has Passed Us By

The people I mostly hang out with are in the age range of 40 to 60 years old. Our life expectancy shows that most of us will be around for another 20 to 60 years. That’s provided that we don’t get some real cyborg action going on that expands our life expectancy even more.

It’s possible that Nathan doesn’t even remember that conversation… because he’s old and senile! Ok, not that. It just was a long time ago. A lot has happened since then. If he’s around for another 20 years, a lot is going to happen from this point forward.

I agree with Nathan that people are important, and stuff is less important. I agree that enjoyment of life is more important and keeping up with the infiltrators is less important. The word I was looking for was influencers. Sorry.

The truth is that for most people there is still plenty of time. Just because certain things haven’t happened yet, doesn’t mean they can’t happen. We put way too much emphasis on overnight success stories and presume that when we reach retirement age that whether we have enough money to retire or not that we have to start living like retirees. We don’t. There’s plenty to learn. There’s plenty to experience. Maybe in the next few years we’ll even get some good pop music. We didn’t get much last year, but maybe soon. There’s lots of good times to be had.

fun. – We Are Young

Maybe I’ll need to write a series of blog posts aimed at what to do with the next twenty years of your life no matter what your age (unless you’re over 90) and just write about the kinds of things that will make everyone immediately say, “Not everyone can do that, Chris.” I’ve got a long year of writing ahead of me. Why not?

Chris McGinty (not pictured here) is a blogger who used to claim he would die at the age of 53, but there has been so much confusion with his age that he’s really not too sure how that works now, so he’s just going to presume that he’s immortal, because his consciousness is the only consciousness he can be truly sure exists. It’s possible he is the only thing that exists in the universe. I can make you all go away any time I want.

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