Everything in moderation

I had a teacher once tell me, “do anything you want, as long as you do it in moderation.”

The reason for this advice was, at the time, I was not known for moderate living. Even now I still have flashes of excess. But I’m more able to control my urges, likely a result of getting older. Impulse control can be a challenge for anyone, and I certainly had troubles in my youth.

But the advice is sound, and still applicable.

Moderate spending is the key to debt reduction and building wealth. Moderate eating is good for weight management, and moderate activity for staying fit and healthy.

As we cross over into the new year, be mindful of moderation in both your lifestyle and in your resolutions. Pushing too hard out of the gate is a sure-fire way to not make it to the finish line.

Adulting 101

Had drinks with my friends following a birthday dinner the other night. I think there are things that you talk with lifelong friends about that you don’t talk to anyone else about. At least, not to the fullest extent.

  • I shared some issues I was having in my personal life, both emotionally and with a relationship.
  • We spoke about issues relating to money, and homeownership.
  • We talked about working, and having a business.

There are classes in school that teach so many facts and stats, but where are the principles of adulthood? Where do you learn how to file taxes, or make a budget? Where do they get off saying that student debt is okay, when really it’s the largest portion of debt now in the United States, and it places American students with outstanding debt on uneven footing.

Out of our discussion, we came to the conclusion that schools should have an actual class, and that life lessons in those classes become progressively more challenging each year. Budgeting, taxes, investing, business ownership vs. being employed, college vs. trade school.

No tests would be necessary, but each student must annually present on what they’ve learned, what they hope to accomplish, and a career path that interests them. Not an elective, like home economics or shop, but an actual dedicated curriculum spot for every student.

That is Adulting 101.

The Youth of America

I look around, and I can’t help think… It’s a breaking system. Yet, time and again I see that as it continues to fail, someone starts picking up the pieces, putting them back together, and doing it better. And I’m heartened by that.

We’ve had two significant movements coalesce in the first fifteen months of the Trump Presidency: Me Too and Never Again. Two slogans, each started some time ago, but both with more traction now than had ever been seen.

I believe the older generations have grown complacent. Even the older millennials are guilty of this. We’ve been frogs slowly boiling in pots of water, watching the rise of the age of information, instant access to nearly everything, as well as the reduction of privacy. We’ve slowly been acclimated, so it’s not something we specifically noticed. By the time the heat is too high, it’s too late for us.

The country has made some frightening changes. Amid record levels of prosperity and renown from abroad, we’ve upended system after system. Healthcare. Education. Gun laws. Civil rights. Military service. Worker’s rights. Women’s rights.

And in 2016, it seems even Democracy itself. We Americans of an age 30 or older are in no real place to fix this. Though it’s not impossible, it certainly seems unlikely. We can’t seem to cooperate long enough to take a bathroom break, let alone try and fix the system.

In come the youths!

It’s the younger Americans, and youthful citizens around the world, who are seeing this and saying, “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Something is wrong.” They’re taking up the causes, and will only continue to do so, and improve on it.

As education moves to more testing and less teaching, the students will find ways of educating themselves. Maybe even reinvent the system that is currently failing them.

As levels of debt increase in the Nation, the young Americans will get behind spending moratoriums. Pundits have decried the millennial non-interest in driving as laziness. Yet, maybe it is a subconscious, or inherent move against the rampant consumerism that faces this country. Why does a family need three or more cars? What’s wrong with public transportation? And, if living somewhere where public transportation does have something wrong with it (anywhere not heavily metropolitan and without significant investment), then they’re going to get busy fixing it!

As race relations seem to endlessly be a matter of debate (white vs. black; white vs. Latino; black vs. black; white vs. white; white vs. very nearly everyone it seems), students who were raised according to the golden rule (do unto others) or general codes of ethics (everyone deserves to be treated with respect) feel that their parents and grandparents are acting irrationally, either cussing Trump and the Republicans, the NRA and anti-choicers; or cussing Obama and the Democrats, gun control and pro-choice. (I’ll rarely use the term pro-life to describe the Conservative Christian side in this, for as long as you can support the death penalty, you have no right to call yourself pro-life. I know there are those who are completely pro-life, but not all who call themselves pro-life fit the title.)

Seeing this irrational behavior, the kids are crossing boundaries. They’re more likely to find friends of different races, religions and creeds. It’s the parents that are trying to instill fear into the children. “Watch out for people from X. They are the enemy.”

Kids know better.

We’re a young nation, struggling for identity. Struggling to see who it is we are. I’m for one optimistic about what our future looks like. Yes, it seems that we have some form of derailment every other day. Yes, we have racism and misogynistic behaviors still shaking us to our core. Economic inequality and mass hysteria brought on my faulty media sources (or sources claiming to be media). There are dangerous people and damaged people. And sometimes, just sometimes, it’s scary to be out among the Americans. But it also seems that we’re doing better, averaging in an upwards trend. And the youth are leading the charge.

We’re not perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination. But each and every citizen, I believe, feels a desire to make the world a better place. And it is the youth of the Country that, I believe, hold the key to brushing off all the problems currently facing us, and moving us into the bright new future that is America.