We hear the jokes and we see the memes. We are Generation X, the “Lost Generation.”
The kids who were raised with keys on shoelaces around our neck, who came home to an empty house, and took care of ourselves while our parents worked.
We played outside until the street lights came on. We had no cell phones, and we waited for the one night all year when “The Wizard of Oz” was on TV.
Gen X was there when “Video Killed the Radio Star” and MTV only played music videos.
We recorded our favorite songs using a tape recorder held up to the radio during Casey Kasem’s Top 40 Countdown.
All week we looked forward to Saturday night for “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island,” the original double header! And do we even need to talk about Marlin Perkin’s, “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” followed by “The Wonderful World of Disney” every Sunday, or is that just waxing poetic?
Herein lies the issue:
We were raised by the boomers. That means that we were taught that to be a respectable, functioning member of society—you got a job at 16, worked for “the man,” vacationed at a lake house every summer with the family, and retired at 65 with full government benefits and a back porch swing.
We were taught that to create a life you love was not the priority.
But we turned around and started raising the millennials—the generation that is not satisfied with cookie-cutter jobs and mediocre benefits just for the sake of a paycheck. The generation that is strong and independent, and speaks their mind about injustices.
Our parents worked for General Mills or General Motors, our kids work for Google or Microsoft.
Our parents worked in cubicles and offices, our children work from home, or in work pods.
We are stuck in the middle, living how we were raised, but craving the new ideas our children are benefitting from.
It never occurred to us that there was more. However, now we see that there is, and we are longing to attain it without the skills to get there. There is a growing divide between how we were taught to live and the life we truly want to live.
What we were taught versus what we desire:
>> Taught: Get a job at 16, work until you are 65, retire and enjoy life.
>> Desire: Work at a job we love, enjoy life now, take mini-retirements to reset our soul. Work to live, not live to work.
>> Taught: Work for a big corporation, build their business—it provides stability and benefits.
>> Desire: Do something that is fun, fuels our fire, lines our own pockets with money.
>> Taught: Work, then play.
>> Desire: Work and play.
>> Taught: Keep your head down, don’t make waves.
>> Desire: Fight for what we want, fight for what is right.
>> Taught: Buy more tuff.
>> Desire: Experience more stuff.
>> Taught: Have more.
>> Desire: Do more.
In our 50s, we are facing a whole different mid-life crisis than our parents did. We are no longer satisfied with buying an outlandish sports car and getting a new hairdo. We look to change careers, travel the world, and explore what our souls are craving.
How can you create a life you love?
How do we find happiness and “the good life” at 50, instead of waiting until we retire?
How do we plan our future with the understanding that pensions and social security either don’t exist or will not financially sustain the life we want to live?
Financial advisors say we will need $1.2M to retire and live above the poverty level and that half of Americans are set to retire “poor.”
Plus, we are still in the age where 50 percent of marriages end in divorce and many of us divide that 401K in half at some point. Or worse, salaries have not kept up with the cost of living, so we can’t even afford to fund a 401K because we are too busy trying to fund life.
And how many people are going to burn through their life savings the moment a major health crisis hits home?
Yet, we keep falling into this old thought trap of saving and saving for the “someday” when we get to retire and finally start living.
Ask yourself, what really sets your soul on fire?
If you could do anything you wanted and would not fail, what would you do? Go on a yoga retreat alone in a foreign country?
Is it so outrageous to think that a pivot could happen and someone could change direction and become an artist? A poet? A world traveler?
What if someone could change the world with the power of their voice? If only they would raise it up and share their talents.
Here’s a secret, it happens all the time. All the time someone finds their passion, their power, and steps up.
The truth is, if a person goes for what they want, if they find happiness now by following their passion, the finances will follow. That goes against everything we are taught. Money does in fact follow, when someone lives out their passion and pursues their dream.
When we create a life we don’t need a vacation from, we stop buying material things to fill the void in our soul. That alone is going to put money back into our pockets.
When we see the world, we see how much we really have, and gain an appreciation for life that is priceless.
When we step out of our comfort zone and are willing to learn and grow, our businesses and skills will continue to grow—making our business more marketable and more valuable in the workforce.
It can be scary, but amazing things will happen on the other side of our comfort zone.
Create a life you love.
>> Invest in the now instead of in the future—to create a future worth having.
>> Learn to enjoy life now—the future is far too uncertain to keep waiting.
>> Take a chance, create something new, become a better version of humanity, and stop being afraid.
>> Face the fears that come with going against everything we were taught, figure out who we really are and what we really want.
>> Take a deep breath and make the leap to connect and find our soul’s purpose. Then figure out how to use that purpose to fuel and fund our future. The future of our world and our society.
The old dictated life will still be attainable should anyone ever really want it back—but it is highly doubtful they ever will.