Trying Things on for Size
By: Mike LaBahn
Trying Things on for Size
In a person’s twenties, it’s common to dabble with a wide variety of jobs to determine the best fit for our personalities, skills and inherent talents. But in fact, most people really don’t make the biggest changes until their thirties, when the big questions start to hit home about how the rest of their lives will be spent. We may have initially gotten into a job for the money, and got complacent, placated and stuck. It’s at this point that people make some of the most life changing and dramatic upheavals to their lives under the banner of finding their true calling. When we look into the future and realize we are not on the road we want to end up on at the end of our journey, major changes aren’t far behind.
I know that certain circumstances outside of our control can be thrust upon us, and these circumstances can dictate most of the rest of our lives. Starting a family young, a death in the family, or some other life-changing event can steer us off course from our best-laid plans. But whatever the obstacle, none of that will matter if you come to end of your life and you say ‘if only…’
So many choices…
It wasn’t until the industrial revolution changed the landscape of our great nation that we, as free Americans with unlimited possibilities on the horizon, even started to ask ourselves ‘what do I really want to do with my life?’ Yes, it had been posed well before the dawn of that era in history, but for the very first time, the answer to that question seemed limitless. Women joined the workforce with more options than had ever been available to them in history. The emerging technology jobs began to appear. And automation made it possible to create, produce and ship more effectively than ever before.
It is in this cradle, this bastion of freedom and democracy and capitalism that we have worked for the right to even ask ourselves ‘what should I do with my life?’ A wealth of choices in every field had opened up. Medical advancements and the science behind it would double in its knowledge and application every decade or so. Not only was the creative mind of human beings bringing new and amazing things into existence for all to utilize and enjoy, the advent itself brought with it a whole new field of opportunities. Cars had to have car parts, tires, service, paint, etc. Computers and cell phones have to have moving parts, networks of people and infrastructure to sustain their use. The creations themselves spawned entirely new categories of work for people to seek out and specialize in.
Our grandparents, and in some cases our parents, could not conceive of such a life of choices and options only 50 years ago. Until that point, people in undeveloped areas, in large part, merely found work. They learned a skilled trade, or in more rural areas they got factory jobs or found whatever it was that would keep the food on the table and bills paid. Those that could afford college or medical school were in the minority. For generations before this one, our parents, grandparents and even great grandparents have toiled, sweat, and struggled to make a better life for the generation to follow their own. It was in this striving that meaning and purpose were found.
As we come to look at the generation of today, we see the culmination of those intense efforts being handed over to our youth. In handing over the keys to the kingdom, the generation of today did little to have to obtain it except reach out and grab it. The sacrifice, the scrimping and saving, and the blood sweat and tears have become but a distant story to them. There were depressions, wars, and rationing. There were social upheavals, political battles, and periods of intense suffering. The generation of today, in large part, did not have to sacrifice in any meaningful way for the choices now available to them. And it’s fair to say that it’s difficult to truly appreciate something if you haven’t worked for it.
Many have called the generation of today ‘the entitlement generation’. The ease with which the engine that is our country runs is something those born in this generation cannot imagine having to suffer or toil for. Many demand rights or access to things that their forefathers bled and died to attain. Are the youth of today doomed to falter for the generation to follow behind them? Absolutely not. No one is predestined to a fate that is not of their choosing. That is the simple beauty of the gift of free will.
Free will and an absolute abundance of choices simply means that this generation has a different kind of calling upon it. That calling is to preserve the work that has come before them, and to keep the momentum of the work laid out in front of them. A generation of wondrous and amazing advancements awaits, for it is the nature of man to strive, to create and to sustain, and I believe that is exactly what we will see out of the up and coming minds of this millennium. People of all ages should look positively to the future with the knowledge that they hold the keys to their own kingdom.