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Old 10-17-2011, 09:51 AM   #21
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I like the idea of working towards a bigger, greater goal, rather than just doing it for the money.
That's what I'm working toward. But as long as I'm mostly a single point failure for income and benefits, I'm stuck. Hopefully that will change soon. Other than credit cards we pay off each month, we've been totally debt free since I was 40. It's a great feeling, better than any instant gratification I can think of which would result in taking on long-term debt.
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Old 10-17-2011, 11:39 AM   #22
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So called dreams are often nothing more than what's blowing in the wind. Fads, whims, social fashions, and more ways to spend money, different enough from the way Mom and Dad spent that we feel that we are being adventurous. Nothing more than marketing. If someone has a real dream, usually he or she knows very well what it is and is strongly pursuing it long before age 30. My generation could afford to screw around for years and years, and then with good jobs, plenty of employment opportunities and excellent market returns, get back on track.

I wouldn't gamble that the same will be true for young people today. We tend to assume that after the current malaise things will return to normal, but there is no reason to assume that. Things may just get worse with small ups and downs for a long time. This will in fact be fairly likely, if part of the reason for the current difficulty is the stubbornly high price of oil.

Keep your good job, and add interesting things on the side. I became skilled at several dances that are popular with a large enough group that there are always dance opportunities. This has been a great pleasure for me. Others take up painting, or amateur theater. All these things give outlets for our personalities that are often shut down at work, but with a time committment that still allows us to progress in our careers. If you have money and security, you can get many of the other things.

Ha
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Old 10-17-2011, 12:18 PM   #23
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Part of the reason I have a less idealistic job now is because Iím all too capable of seeing the downside to all those fantastic possibilities, so I havenít pursued them, but itís a decision I question from time to time. So I update my balance sheets every month and try to keep my life exciting with a number of hobbiesÖbut sometimes I wonder if Iím limiting myself too much by taking the secure path.



Thanks for your perspectives - please keep them coming!
The dilemma - live an "exciting" life now, with less security vs. live a more "ordinary" life now with plenty of security and a greater potential for early retirement...choices, choices...

We've been there and have somehow combined the two. We have managed to plan exciting vacations and live life as fully as possible while preparing for the future. Are we backpacking all over the world for years at a time? No. Yes, that would be very exciting, but there are plenty of other ways to think about what an exciting life is...it's more than taking off around the world and throwing caution to the wind...life is made more rich when you fully invest in your relationships with others and make time to get to know more people and connect. Yes, we love to travel and see and do new things...but we also find great value in developing deep connections with others. The "mundane" every day life is so much more fulfilling when you change the looking glass you are using to view it.
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Old 10-18-2011, 02:28 AM   #24
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I am in the opposite situation. Always studied a lot, never really partied during my 20s or 30s. Never really had a long term girlfriend, only short term relationships. Now I regret some of these choices as I am alone most of the time. Managed to stay debt free all my life, made good money but give away quite a lot of charity work. Now being in my 40s, childless and alone, it sucks sometimes.
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Early in my 20's I really just wanted to be a career guy, live in a big city, party, live it up and see what happened.
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Old 10-18-2011, 10:14 AM   #25
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My generation could afford to screw around for years and years, and then with good jobs, plenty of employment opportunities...
IMHO, that's an invalid assumption for "your generation". That view is biased to your own situation, not everybody of that age.

I assume that we are both in our 6th decade, and came of age within the same period of time.

From my (and DW’s) lower socio-economic reality, there was no time to "screw around". Decent j*bs were few, and opportunities to those that were raised in (declining) mill towns were even less so (along with uncle Sam knocking on your front door with an opportunity to participate in a paid vacation in SEA).

Just a slightly different POV, based on our upbringing; don't assume the (early) boomers were all stoners, marching on the streets, and living off their parent's largess (as a lot of younger folks think, today).

That may have been your situation (good for you, and I wish you well), but don't state it as a fact for the entire generation.
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:32 PM   #26
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From my (and DWís) lower socio-economic reality, there was no time to "screw around". Decent j*bs were few, and opportunities to those that were raised in (declining) mill towns were even less so (along with uncle Sam knocking on your front door with an opportunity to participate in a paid vacation in SEA).
That may have been your situation (good for you, and I wish you well), but don't state it as a fact for the entire generation.
One of the most eye-opening books I've read about my "youth" was "The Way We Never Were"...
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:02 PM   #27
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One of the most eye-opening books I've read about my "youth" was "The Way We Never Were"...
After looking at some of the reviews, I think my own experience growing up in middle class America prejudices me against Coontz's thesis that the Leave-it-to-Beaver world of 50s family values never really existed. Because that was pretty much what my family was like (though there was little connection with religion). Well, my mother worked (did Beaver's mom?). Maybe a way to comprehend differences among several preceding posts is to suppose that family values have to be adequately funded. For times past and parts of America that were prosperous, we could approach the idyllic family life depicted in those 50s situation comedies.
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Old 10-18-2011, 04:15 PM   #28
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I am in the opposite situation. Always studied a lot, never really partied during my 20s or 30s. Never really had a long term girlfriend, only short term relationships. Now I regret some of these choices as I am alone most of the time. Managed to stay debt free all my life, made good money but give away quite a lot of charity work. Now being in my 40s, childless and alone, it sucks sometimes.
Your post almost makes it sound like you feel you have wasted time in some way.

Were they choices or were they just your natural self being you? In your 40s, have you turned into a party animal? As far as I'm aware, there's no cut-off age for being a partier. So the chances are good that the reason you didn't party in your earlier decades was that it didn't come naturally. If that's not true, well then get out there and go wild!

For years, I've felt like I'm on the outside looking in - not a partier, value intellectual rather than physical pursuits, etc. I'm alone, but definitely not lonely. The media, OTOH, seems to reinforce that unless you're at a party with a cold beer in your hands every night of the week, you are some kind of loser.

I would venture a guess that most of us were not partiers and I also suspect that quite a few of us lived/live vicariously through those we perceive as wild and crazy people, be they real or fictional.

If you feel being childless and alone sucks, then don't be. There are lots and lots of single people out there, with and without kids.

Or.... learn to appreciate the unique opportunity you have. Complete freedom to do what you want, when you want, and with no claims on your funds except for what you choose to spend them on. That would trump any amount of suckage, IMHO.
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