Maybe it would be better to consider this a minimalist post.
I've always wondered how people can work so hard. In grade school, I wondered how people in high school were able to finish all the homework they were assigned. In high school, I wondered how college students can stay up all night cramming for an exam. Now that I'm a week away from finishing my college career, I still don't understand any of this. I never stayed up late to cram for an exam. I never sacrificed my own health for a class with the exception of panic attacks I've experienced finishing stressful classes. Now that I'm at the end of it, I'll get to experience the high paying job and all the material possessions that accompany it.Yeah right.
For how little effort I put in, I have an honors medal which I get to wear during the commencement. Somehow, I can't separate this from the car my parents just recently leased. Everyone gets excited over these things, but I don't see how pieces of metal have any value.
The tone of this post is a little pessimistic, but today was a good day. I went for a run along the canal towpath, and I went further down than normal. When I saw the route 82 bridge, I felt a sense of accomplishment because I've only gotten that far on a bike before. Turning around and running back to the car was quite enjoyable.
I don't think my degree is worthless, in fact I feel like I'm walking away from college with knowledge I never would have accumulated without. The problem I have is how college became intertwined in the materialistic world. "Go to college to get a good paying job." I'm not even going to go into the problems of getting a good paying job and the problems of student debt, my concern is why should the good paying job be the end result?
The lack of money brings unhappiness, but excess money doesn't bring happiness. If your basic needs are met, happiness is found in what's free. In the case of a house fire, who hasn't heard someone say that the material possessions don't matter, all that matters is that everyone got out safe? It just takes a crisis for people to understand that.
Alongside social relationships, I would argue that the same things that lead to successful aging also what contributes to happiness. Stuff doesn't figure into this, but staying active physically and mentally does. Today's experience contributed to my belief in this. I find the canal to be a very fascinating place to run. There are pieces left that leave some insight into how it was used about a century ago. after a couple miles, the canal splits from the road, and veers off into a very woodsy direction. Seeing all these changes in a run is what has given me motivation to run lately. I decided to go a little further this time, so I spotted an unusual tree in the distance to be the marker to turn around. After arriving at the tree, I then saw the 82 bridge up ahead and continued a little further. Had it not started raining I would have continued and turned around at the 82 bridge and spent a couple miles walking at the end rather than running all the way back to the car.
This is an experience I wish anyone could experience. I chose to run, maybe most would prefer to walk, but the experience would be the same. The endless novelty of what's around us is amazing.
Go for a walk, or run if you feel inclined to do so. You might realize how a high paying job that sucks the life out of you is more of a curse than a convenient blessing. Meet your basic needs, and put on a good pair of shoes and explore what the world has to offer.