Now Let Me Explain…

I know the general impression of the last post probably was that I am not very happy with my marriage of 33 years. While that is true to a degree, I don’t really regret the choices I made in life. I take my vows seriously and would not think about quitting my marriage, especially now. Even though we might not agree on things, we simply need each during these final years.

I think the crux of Monday’s post was that I was looking at today’s world and whether I would still marry if I were a 2019 college graduate just entering my adult life. Stepping out of context a little bit, one of my core life preoccupations is to imagine what things would be like if… I have been doing that since I was a very young man. I seem to equally look back and forwards with these dreams.

It seems that the 21st century is being geared primarily for those who don’t choose marriage as their life goal. Let’s face it, many young people today are finding that wedded bliss is just not for them. One of those was someone I got to know in the critical care unit two years ago after my SDH emergency brain surgery. Here is what I said about her on a March 12, 2017 post.

Sam, short for Samantha, was my critical care daytime RN for the two days I was in that part of the hospital. We spent quite a bit of time together and I felt I got to know her pretty well. She is a “traveling RN”, that is she moves around the country working in one hospital then another. Her last stint was in Alaska. She works three twelve hour shifts in the CCU and then has the rest of the week off to explore. She is a millennial who shuns high heels and makeup but has a very natural beauty that quickly shines through. She says she wants to be known for what she does, not what she puts on her body. With people like her in charge of the future of our country, I feel confident that it is in good hands indeed.  I met a kindred spirit in Sam those two days but she was not the only one.

It seems that Sam’s generation has found a freedom that my generation only dreamed about in a distant corner of our minds. For us it was all about getting that job and staying on it for 30 years to get a pension and then living the life we are free to choose. We only dreamed of having the kind of experience that Sam has.

Today’s working world is much more free flowing than mine was. There are no lifetime pensions anymore to even begin to entice you to stay with a job you might not enjoy. As long as you have the education and qualification, you can often get an internship at a very reduced pay to prove yourself to the employer. Then after three months or so, you can choose whether you want to work for that employer or seek another opportunity. There so so many opportunities opening up in new fields that you could try.

Taking sabbaticals is also becoming common. Take a job for a few years and when that contract expires take a long vacation before you look for your next opportunity. To those who are not prepared for the 21st century job market “contract employment” is a negative thing. But for those ever increasing adventurers out there, it provide the the natural break to skip work and just live you life for a year or two at a time. You no longer have to define yourself almost totally by what you do to earn an income.

Many 21st century young folks have also pretty much discounted home ownership. They just don’t see themselves as being locked down to one place. If they do buy instead of rent, they choose and affordable “tiny house” of 400 square feet or less that is easily resaleable or moved.

Many have come to the belief that if you are not destined for the parenthood mold then don’t get married.

Plainly speaking, I am envious of those who will live their lives in the 21st century

For the 21st century it is better to be single than married. It’s as plain as that as far as I am concerned. If I could live my life again, this time in the 21st century, I would definitely do things differently this time around. But as I said, I don’t regret the choices I made in life but I kinda wish some of today’s option had been presented to me.

4 thoughts on “Now Let Me Explain…

  • Indeed! I read your blog because I can relate to many things you write about, but the biggest reason is because of the information you share about dealing with Asbergers. Our son, who will soon be 40, though never diagnosed as Asbergian, is most definitely on the spectrum. The life he leads is much as you describe. After completing a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an MBA (both on full ride scholarship!) he worked a few years, mostly in China, but hasn’t worked for a while. Instead, he travels the WORLD, hiking and climbing mountains. He has a few things in storage but doesn’t own much more than he can carry in his backpack. He reads a LOT and questions everything! He is leaving this morning after being home for a one week visit. It is the first time he has been ‘home’ in over 5 years. The last time we saw him was in China a year and a half ago. [My husband and I travel to China as often as we can, to see our soon to be 8 year old granddaughter. Unfortunately, our son is no longer married to our daughter-in-law, and they do not have a good relationship, but I’ve been able to maintain a relationship with our granddaughter and her mother.]
    His next adventure is leading a group of 7 individuals from many different countries in climbing Mt. Noshaq, on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border in the Hindu Kush Range. [Think Mt. Everest but just a bit shorter and without the traffic jam.] Most people think he leads a fascinating life—not so much if you are his mother. However, I have made peace and no longer waste my time and energy worrying about him and his often extremely dangerous ventures. I DID worry a lot until he turned 30, but have told myself and others that i’ve Just had to accept his life and know that if he does die early due to his lifestyle, that he will have seen and done more than most people do that leave to be 90, and that he lived his life doing what he wanted to do.

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    • Thanks for the story Jackie, Yes it appears he is living a 21st-century professional lifestyle. “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today”. 🙂 If you wait till retirement you just might not have the health/physical stamina to accomplish your dreams. Good for him. He sounds like my kind of person, especially if I were thirty years younger.

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  • I am 69 years old. For the first 10 years after college I changed jobs constantly. It seems to me that I had the same opportunities that young people have now. The difference is that there are very few permanent jobs with pensions and good benefits now. I was able to get that kind of job. A lot of young people can only get contract work. They don’t choose it. There are no benefits and health insurance is very expensive. Some people are leading desperate lives. I know young people who have secure jobs and they are getting married and having children. And I know young people who feel they can not make any plans because they have no security.

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    • Donna, thanks for your view of the situation. Yes, there are those employers who stick it to people but there are also those that know what young people want today and cater to them in order to get their unique talent. Things are different for professional today than in our day. but it is not all gloom and doom as so many like to proclaim.

      But I stick by my claim that I would rather be young today and have the opportunities that many have.

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