TAKE OFF OR GET OFF THE RUNWAY

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Submitted Date 03/24/2019
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Most of us have at least one person we look to for guidance. My uncle plays that role in my life. He’s a successful entrepreneur who makes 8 million dollar deals on 15 minute phone calls while driving to meet a new investor at a Kava bar. Naturally I look to him for advice.

 

A few years ago I approached him with a problem. After I got my bachelor’s degree I struggled finding meaningful work. Can’t find meaningful work? Get a soul-sucking job that pays well, right? At the end of the day, we all have bills to pay.

 

There’s no room for indecisiveness in my uncle’s world. His advice to me was: “Take off or get off the runway.”

 

People like me who have struggled with this dilemma understand that the advice my uncle gave me is more stressful than it is helpful. Everyone is frustrated and no one is helping my plane get off the ground and off to a set destination.

 

Five years later my plane has been doing donuts on the tarmac. I’ve taken off a few times, but I’ve come right back down. Maybe my navigation equipment is a bit off-kilter. Maybe I’m afraid of getting lost, running out of fuel, and crash landing in the middle of nowhere. Where am I headed anyway?

 

There are people who have a plan and execute it with grace and efficiency. College, career, marriage, family. I am surrounded by them. I am in awe of their dedication, consistency, and success, but I also envy them.

 

Escaping the formula excited me in my early and mid 20’s. Now I feel a bit left behind. The same people who live by schedules envy my freedom after a while. Maybe we all want what we can’t have and have trouble recognizing our own green grass.

 

The information age has changed people--particularly my generation. We (yes, millennials!) want to make a change, but many of us don’t know how, or we’re so overwhelmed by the problems and injustice in society that the burden becomes a barricade. Definitely not empowering.

 

Amid the stress, I’ve found it temporarily helpful to explore my interests, take career assessments, continue learning, and explore creative endeavors. Unfortunately that temporary feeling of progress becomes overtaken by the dread that comes when I look at my finances or when a bill comes in. You all know that feeling.

 

The dilemma here is that sampling and exploring interests is important to finding meaningful work and/or our purpose in life, yet most of us don’t have financial support during this time.


I’ve played with different theories about how I think our new society should operate and have a few ideas. We need to make room for exploration. That means mentors, apprenticeships, and abundant education should be available to everyone. This would allow people of any age and socioeconomic status the freedom to explore what they’re interested in, if they have natural talents, and how they can contribute to society. With this baseline, people could dedicate themselves to their profession(s) and establish healthy hobbies.

 

Yes, I’m talking about a very different type of government. Universal basic income, socialized medicine, and education are all ideas that work in conjunction with the ideas I’ve presented. Before I trigger the capitalists in the room, socialism and capitalism don’t need to be binary oppositions. I just don’t think that a society without social programs would benefit our species or our world as a whole.

 

We aren’t machines, but I believe society would progress more efficiently this way. Sometimes idealistic ideas are what we need to spark change. The human imagination and dreams are beautiful and maybe we need more dreamers, artists, and idealistic ideas to propel our species forward toward a better world.

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