86 Years is a Long Time

Careers. Obviously pretty important things. I don’t know about you, but they’re all my school ever talks about.

My boyfriend and I were discussing them earlier today. He was telling me all about his structured, 12 year education plan, culminating in a doctorate. This plan involved a lot of back and forth between universities and earning money, which would mean a lot of travelling and not much stability for me. This was not what I would have chosen for my path.

So I mentioned that I was thinking of joining the army. I was very quickly – excuse the pun – shot down.

Not unkindly, but he was quick to remind me of the danger, and that there was a “big” commitment, as you often are required to serve a certain amount of years. Normally, it’s 3 or 4 years minimum before you can leave. The thing I fail to understand is how “that kind of time isn’t something you should just throw away lightly”.

According to recent data on http://www.socialsecurity.gov, a female born in the year 2000 – like myself – can expect to live to around 86 years old. So to that scale, how much is about 5 years in one job, really? Say I do my degree beforehand as planned; that’s starting my training at 21, so by 26, I could leave. One chapter closed, a new one opening. And I’d have 5 years of incredible experiences under my belt, along with some new qualifications and the knowledge that I changed someone’s life. To me, that feels like a decent chance to take. Even if I enjoyed it, the recommended age is 16 – 32, so it’s not a permanent commitment anyway. I would still have a good 50 years for something new.

Now, I’m not making this post to tell you to join the army. I’m also not making it to attack my boyfriend; his concerns were understandable and valid. The purpose of this post is to explain why you should just go for anything, even a pipe dream; they say life is short, but really, 86 years is a lot of time to make memories.

Yes, not everyone in your life is going to agree with your ideas. This doesn’t mean you have to cut them out, it just means that you need to explain why it matters to you. If they refuse to support you after that, then okay, maybe you need to address that and evaluate the situation. Don’t worry though, because if they are really meant to be in your life, they will try to support you.

So go out and make memories. Go to that country. Learn that skill. Try that extreme sport. Give that unthinkable career a go. Maybe you’ll find out that something wasn’t for you, even though you had your heart set on it all your life, but at least you know. Maybe you weren’t sure you would like it and find out you don’t, but you know. You won’t be sat there wondering what it would have been like. And who knows? You might find out that something you never dreamed of doing actually seems pretty interesting.

After all, you have about 80-something years to make a really cool autobiography.


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