Monday, March 4, 2013

The Industrial Age

"What are your plans for after college?"

"What are you doing with your degree?"
"What line of work are you in?"

"Do you have a job lined up?"

"Oh, that's nice. How are you liking that job?"

"Yeah, I know, this economy right?"

"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

"What are you doing with your life?"

"Well, you seem like you've got it all figured out."

Guess what guys... you don't have to have it all figured out. Not when you're 15, not when you're 25, not even when you're 45 or 75. Point is, you're here.

We live in somewhat of an industrial age. We wake up, we go to work, we bring home bacon, we win bread, we veg on the furniture, and we count down to the weekend. We put our money in savings so we can spend it on a mid life crisis when we wonder "Where has the time gone?" I am by no means insulting the family of five, one or two dogs and a white picket fence kind of culture, not at all. I love it. But do you want it?

I just watched the most charming movie about a 30 something woman struggling to get it all figured out. She's job hunting to no end, painfully smiling while her well-meaning family members shove what they want for her down her throat, but having no "better" alternative, she goes along with it, having little ammunition for protest. The film revolved around the theme of feeling powerless while everyone around seems to work like a cog in a well-oiled machine. I'm a sucker for great cinematography, so naturally I loved that there weren't really any bright colors in the whole movie. There is a looming dark cloud, a feeling of loneliness, complacency, boredom, and dullness. The leading lady stares longingly out a window, wishing she knew what the flip she was supposed to be doing with her life.

I get that. I understand that feeling. Having job hunted for months at a time and seeming to come up empty, having your plans you thought would stick for the next few years (at least!) fall apart in front of you, bouncing from temp job to temp job, moving back in with the 'rents until you can get your act together and answer the question "what's next?" is a more common feeling than people let on.

Don't believe Facebook photos: most of those people probably don't have it together either. It's the ultimate censorship: you can make yourself look however you want, as put together as you want, and show off how much of a life you're having. For those of you who are happy where you are...rock on. This post is not for you. Enjoy Europe.

My dearest readers, your value is not measured by your level of productivity. You are more than your paycheck, what kind of car you drive, what model of phone you have, or the brand of your clothes. It is easy to get discouraged when we feel like we are pressured from all sides to get that promotion, work our way up to the top, marry once you've given everything a "test drive" just to be sure (gross), and by no means settle for "just" a blue collar job. Seriously, you can do whatever you want (within reason, of course. I hate it when people say that and they brainwash people and tell you you really CAN become anything....false. Someone I know wanted to be a computer when he grew up....he is not a computer. But he still likes them a lot).

If you want to try something you've always wanted to try and then crash and burn, I'd say good for you! You went out and did it and now you know it's not your thing. No idea where to start? What do you do for fun? What's something you've loved since you were a kid? Try it again! At the very least (if you're stuck in the job/field you're in for whatever reason), pick it up as a hobby. Eventually, you'll hit the nail on the head... or at least get somewhere by process of elimination. I'm one of those people though that doesn't WANT to bounce around every couple of years (give or take) constantly guessing where I'm going to be, not feeling like I can rest my head and get restful sleep at night. And that's fine! Just set a plan right now. 

Right now, I am working an office job with people I thoroughly enjoy, paying my bills, and learning important skills that are going to prepare and equip me for... well, who knows what? I don't need to know. This is my plan right now. I'm going to stick to the plan until something sweeps me off my feet; one of those things that is undeniably what you are supposed to do. I don't need  to know what the next 5, 10, or 15 years looks like and frankly, I couldn't care less about my high school reunion. I want to be happy. I want to be fulfilled. I want to savor every minute of even the mundane. I am blessed to be kept alive, to be held so gently in the Lord's powerful hand, and I at least owe Him to appreciate what I've got. I want to live fully. I want to be free from the countdown to the weekend, free from pressure to "make something of myself," and free to be me.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well."                               Matthew 6:25-33