Live Like A Happy Student
I lived on very little in college, eating not the healthiest foods but maintained a high activity level. I made wonderful friends and learned a ton, was always in great spirits and didn’t desire much back then. Making friends was easier then because very few of us had started identifying ourselves with our accomplishments or possessions.
Back then we weren’t planning our financial futures, or thinking about the house we were going to own. Taxes, debt, and lawsuits were only concepts we heard about in adult conversations. Our worldviews hadn’t yet been clouded by watching the news. I would like to say that college was a very innocent time in my life.
Almost all of us were pushed one way or another into the career of medicine at way too young of an age. Pursuing a career gained more value while living a happy life took a backseat. Once thrown into a job many of us realized right away that friendships, family, and freedom all had to get pushed way down in order to make this job-lifestyle work. Those who didn’t realize that this shift had to be made got hit very hard and probably suffered greatly.
The media glamorizes home ownership and car ownership, car upgrading, retirement savings, traveling and product acquisition. Groves of miserable jobbers started injecting themselves with consumer goods. The ownership of one item released enough endorphins to get us through a few more months of work. Buying a fancy car distracted us enough that we thought less about the job prison we were in.
Some of us have become slaves to debt, slaves to our jobs, dependent on consumer goods. Our identity has nearly disappeared, diluted down to something that is barely recognizable as a happy carefree human. Many of us are drones on an assembly line. The slightest hiccup in our lives throws us for a whirlwind because all structures have such high correlation coefficients.
We have a medical system overrun by physicians and we still cannot come close to meeting the demands of human beings. Of course, everyone thinks that this industry, just like technology, will be around forever and keep going strong. The law of the universe, naturally, forbids this.
For many doctors, a strong enough inflationary economy would crumble their worlds. If healthcare service demand goes down along with salaries, many large medical groups and hospital groups will go out of business. With items costing insanely higher than the previous year and salaries not having caught up to the inflation, many households will go bankrupt. Not to mention that without gasoline and electricity, running water, internet and packaged foods many of us would become quite desperate.
I realize this is a grim view of such possibilities. Is it likely? No, but possible. It doesn’t hurt to consider such scenarios and evaluate our own emotional and physical preparedness in dealing with them. Knowing that we have our bases covered dissolves fear and greed.
We have gotten ourselves accustomed to a complicated, high demand lifestyle. There are families living happily on $30k of gross income every year, raising productive and healthy children, living positive lives. Yet we watch the news and think of those families as destitute.
Some erroneously ponder, what’s the point of life if you must have only 1 car that you must maintain until it dies? How can you go through life not seeing another country? How miserable would retirement be without at least $1,000,000 in the bank?
And yet somehow we managed just fine in college.
What we can do to even the playing field is to intentionally close the salary gaps. Stepping down to working part-time or donating extra income to a good cause has a lot of value. Learning to live on less by abolishing debt, getting rid of cars or vacation homes, expensive hobbies that do nothing but suck money out of our pockets helps us become less reliant on income.
I’m not saying that there isn’t a time for such luxuries, but they shouldn’t be the cornerstone of our happiness. If you’ve successfully achieved your definition of financial freedom then nothing should stop you from having multiple exciting cars, adventurous vacations and pricey hobbies.
However, let’s not suffer on a job, grinding away at a desk, doing patient work we don’t believe in, under bosses who are corporate climbers who have lost the love for patient care ages ago.
We don’t need that supposed ideal job, with that extra zero behind it, with the fancy compensation package that’s 30 miles further away. We don’t need 150 spices in our kitchens, we don’t need a purpose-built kitchen appliance for every fucking thing we want to make. We definitely don’t need automobiles but for the few of us who truly can benefit from owning one, they definitely don’t need power steering, don’t need cruise control or 12 buttons for climate control.
Our cars are required by the highway safety commission to have a million safety measures but their top speed isn’t regulated… interesting. Let’s appreciate the marvels of advanced technology, but never fool ourselves that it’s because of it that we can feel joy and experience happiness and satisfaction.
It’s inevitable that such talk comes from a person who has had the nicest things this world can offer. From very expensive watches to fancy pens. Luxury automobiles and penthouse condo’s. But who else could offer such a perspective? Sure, some don’t need to experience lavish luxuries to realize what truly makes them happy, while others have to get buried deep in debt or hoard money like their world depended on it, before realizing what eventually dawned on me.