I’m 35… Now what?

For starters, here’s the chestnut from back in May: “By 35, you should have twice your salary saved, according to retirement experts”

Huh… Click the link to read all the Twitter responses. I don’t even know what to say to that.

What I do know is that, no, I don’t have twice my annual salary saved. As a matter of fact, I’ve actually cashed out two retirement accounts in the last ten years. One was to help pay for my M.A., the other to fund my first international travel excursion. (And marriage, but that’s a whole different saga…)

I am rebuilding my retirement accounts, utilizing Acorns and Stash. Is it a lot? No. But do I set aside money each month for my future? Yes. And that’s an important distinction.

There are many issues with growing up, being an adult, and living life nowadays. I’m not saying that there haven’t always been challenges. I know there has been. Parents having to walk up hill, both ways, in the snow to get to school.

But seriously, we now have more access to just about everything. Health care, fresh produce, jobs, instructional videos, housing, distant friends and family, etc. We gave up degrees of privacy, downtime, upward mobility, living within our means, and community.

Being 35 in 2018 is almost science-fiction compared to being 35 in 1918. Imagine what a 35 year-old in 2118 will experience!

So I’m left with the question – what will I do? What will I do with the next 35 years of my life? What will I become? What do any of us do with the time we have?

“There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.”

– Martha Graham

What does it say about us as a country that erroneous stories can sway our opinions or, more accurately, reinforce the notions that we already have? Social media companies such as Facebook and a Twitter are under fire for their culpability in foreign agents interfering with the 2016 elections. President Trump routinely calls out “fake news media” for their production of stories critical of the Donald. Organizations such as Politifact provide truthfulness assessments of statements made in the political arena. 

Somewhere amid this cacophonous environment rests the average American. The average American, whose concerns are financial stability, work/life balance, and finding meaning in their own life. Most average Americans appear to be dissatisfied, and that dissatisfaction can be with their financial stability, their work/life balance, the seeming meaninglessness of it all, or even with the political arena at the local, national and international level. When a story comes along that reinforces our biases we say, “See. I knew they were out to screw us.”

And yet, day by day, we struggle along. A part of this nation, and the two hundred year old experiment. Finding our place, and hopefully a bit more. Why is it so easy for misinformation to affect us? Because we’re all constantly looking for something.