Nobody should have to work 1/3rd of their lives, for over 40 years, to retire at ~60 just to finish off whatever is left of their lives.
As of right now I am 18 years old and looking into the future is depressing. I figure I’m gonna have to work 8 hours a day, sleep 8 hours a day and then have 8 hours a day to myself. This does not include things like getting ready for work, commute or shopping/cooking. At the end of the day I’m only going to have a few hours to do what I want… for over 40 years. It seems like my entire life is just preparing me to follow directions and then putting me into a factory where I’m a brick in a wall (reference intended). When I tell other people this, I get a response along the lines of: “That’s what everyone has to do,” or “That’s how its always been.” Why? Even if it is how life works. How it has to be to maintain quality for everyone. What is the point in living? This is existential crisis material. Thanks for reading.
tl;dr – People think I’m crazy for thinking working 1/3rd of your life is crazy.
First of all, 60 is extremely optimistic. Especially since Social Security is likely to have gone bust by then. If you are 18, it’s more like, “work until you die” or get rich. Even getting rich may not be enough because unless you truly have a staggering amount of money, it’s hard to feel secure. Additionally, unless you live a relatively simple lifestyle, even having say a million dollars may not feel like “enough.”
So, what do you do? The best advice I ever got was, “Find something you love so much that you would do it for free and do it for a living.” Not everyone can pull that off. I did though and it’s how you turn that 1/3 of life into something you feel really good about doing.
If you can’t do that, then ideally you want to try to find work that is challenging, meaningful, enjoyable, or that you’re proud to do. Maybe that’s not going to be possible when you are young and building skills, but it should be a goal because IT IS going to be 1/3 or your life. If you spend it as a cog in a wheel, doing something that makes you feel dead inside, it’s going to have a negative impact on your life. Keep that in mind and plan accordingly or when it’s all said and done, you may not like what you’ve done with a huge part of your life.