ARCHIVES: May 30, 2016
by Jamaal Curry
Hello again, mogulers, and welcome to this week's #MogulMonday blog post. On this Memorial Day I want remember all the women and men of our US Armed forces who've paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. And thank you to the families for their sacrifice in sending their loved ones.
As you read the title to this week's post, I know what immediately started going through your head. The theme song to the popular 90's TV show Dawson's Creek. Paula Cole's voice is reverberating inside your head as the standard definition images of Pacey, Joey, Dawson and Jen scroll like photo gallery. And who could forget the absolute rocket science vocabulary that these 15 years used? I mean, it's like each day was a game of Jeopardy or the Scripps National Spelling Bee in prose for the kids from Capeside. But I digress. I'm not hear to talk about Paula Cole's hit song, or that sweet teenage angst-ridden show. No. When I say, "I don't wanna wait," I'm talking about something completely different.
We've all seen them. The commercials of the 65+'s finally able to start enjoying life now that that meaningless job and all those years of "the grind" are now behind them. Now they smile. Now they relax. Now they travel. Now they get to finally start living the life they've always dreamed of.
Okay, so I know that there are exceptions to every rule, and sometimes people actually retire from professions that they quite enjoyed. But that's not really the point I'm trying to make here. My beef, as it were, is not with work or even retirement. My gripe is with an ideology that, in my opinion, is propagated throughout our lives and that almost dares us to challenge it. I'm talking about waiting -- and no, not waiting to exhale. (Although some may feel like they finally can exhale because they've retired.) Okay, so I know that there are exceptions to every rule, and not every commercial is about telling us to put off a fulfilling life until the age when we can draw social security. There are commercials for cruises, adventures, etc., that beckon us to get out there and answer the call of the wild. But the reality is that, for most of us, we don't come in contact with those messages on daily basis as it relates to our professional experience. You know what I mean? See, we're constantly forced (in some way or another) to think about retirement. Some jobs force you to have a 401k, some folks simply feel the pressure to, and how often are we getting notices for a friend and/or colleague's retirement party? If you're like me, my day job takes a mandatory portion out of my paycheck (and matches it) and puts it into an account that I am really not allowed to touch. You could look at this from the other angle and determine that this is a good thing -- that the university has my best interest in mind. But again, the issue or idea of retiring is not the problem. Why doesn't the company take out (and match) a vacation fund for me? I know this might sound silly, but really sit back and give this a little thought. Sometimes companies take out large sums of your check to put away for you to live on 30-40 years from now, yet only give you two weeks vacation each year to enjoy the present. Doesn't that seem a little uneven? And to me, this assumes that the company and I have the same ideas about retirement. Again, I'm not anti-retirement, and I'm not necessarily against automatic 401k contributions. But in an age of high turnover in jobs, increased use of sick days and alarming reports of workplace dissatisfaction, you have to wonder if we're maybe focusing on the wrong part of the equation...or at least not focusing on a separate part enough.
I think what it boils down to is each individual setting, understanding, and sticking to their own goals. I've told my wife several times that I don't ever want to retire. I hope that if I am to achieve my ultimate dream of making big time movies, that even if Hollywood doesn't want them anymore I'll could go on to teach screenwriting, or be involved in some other aspect of show business. I think what is a big part of the issue for me is that the reason why retirement is so looked forward to is because people aren't living out their true calling. It's like retirement is the reward for dragging yourself through miserable, unsatisfying work place(s) for 40 years. It's like 'ah, I finally made it. I did what I was supposed to do, nowI can finally live the life I always dreamed of.' And that's great if that's you, but I just tend to see the world a little differently. I'd like to enjoy this life a little more before gravity has taken too much of a toll, and while mama still thinks I'm hot! I want to be able to connect with my kids through more touch points in life, than the typical condensed time before rushing them off to school and the few hours or so afterwards that are really eaten up by homework, chores and everything else. Not wanting to wait isn't about being impatient either -- it's not wanting retirement phase to come quickly as to get out of work. Rather, it is the opposite, wanting time to slow down and being able to enjoy that more because I'm doing fulfilling work that affords me the opportunity to also live life! It's about not being told I only have 'x' amount of vacation days. I want to be in charge of my work experience so that I can take that time when I, or my family, needs it. I don't wanna wait. I don't wanna wait for retirement be able to start living the life I've always dreamed of. And maybe that's why I'm an entrepreneur. I've learned a lot about, not only what I desire, but what I need out of my work experience. And it's taken me into my 30's to realize and be able to articulate it. But, whatever your work model, desired schedule, goals, etc., don't wait. Don't wait to live. Don't wait to see the world, start a business, finish your degree, write a book, vacay with your family. Don't wait -- not just because '65 isn't guaranteed' -- but because you don't wanna get to 65 and look back wishing you would have done those things. So if you're out there reading this, decide to start living now. And while you're at it take in an old episode of Dawson's Creek and listen to the smooth sounds of Paula Cole telling you why she doesn't want to do it either.
Dawson and the gang...
This is a music video for those of you too young to remember what those were :)