necessity as motivation


A wise man (who may or may not have been Plato) once said that necessity is the mother of invention and i am not one to argue with the Greeks. After all, classical Greece laid much of the foundation for western civilization. One simply does not mess with the discoverers of prime numbers. The Oxford Dictionary defines this proverb as: "When the need for something becomes imperative, you are forced to find ways of getting or achieving it." Such a meaning conjures up images of the neolithic revolution, innovations in transportation and other more than noteworthy advances in civilization. However, i would like to apply this aphorism not to sweeping changes for mankind but to to the modern-day, egocentric conundrum that makes up a "first world problem". my proceeding argument attempts to touch upon a legitimate problem that tends to plague other 20-something-year-olds with a hefty nest egg and college education under their belt.

this particular problem is that of indecisiveness ... a state of complacency if you will. given the plethora of choice at our 21st century fingertips, it has become paradoxically more difficult to choose. with an array of options set before us, we tend to dabble a bit in everything but concentrate on nothing. even the mere thought of having to make a definitive choice makes me anxious. add a state of financial stability laid down by our baby-boomer parents, and the need to choose can be put off indefinitely! now, i am not expecting there to be an overwhelming sense of pity and sympathy for those of my generation. however, there is no denial that there is a measure of emptiness and lack of purpose which comes with too much choice. add money into the mix, and the problem just compounds. i have spoken to my friends and boyfriend about this exact issue and the resounding consensus is that those who cannot afford to daydream their days away about the possibilities of becoming an artist(, or maybe singer, or wait? was it a lawyer?) tend toward concrete and resolute decision making. the necessity of finding a job in order to generate an income is probably the strongest motivation in weeding out all of those secondary fleeting notions of taking those guitar hero skills to a professional level.

now i would not call myself particularly unmotivated or unaccomplished - at 26 i am bi-lingual in german and english with a undergraduate degree from Skidmore college under my belt and i will be receiving my masters in german studies. i am a photographer who recently had her first paying gig this summer and am not half bad at music. however, i cannot say that i am particularly versed in the "real world", read: a world where i have to pay 100% of my own bills and make "grown up decisions". this tends to be the trend for those in similar situations such as myself - highly educated academically but completely and utterly aloof to this real world. i have worked as a waitress, in retail, and as an english teacher; as i do not think that my family's income entitles me to sit on my bum and watch tv all day. (only sometimes) that being said, i am rarely posed with the question of "can i afford x, z and z, and still put dinner on the table and make sure i pay next month's electricity bill?" in my complacency and self-acceptance of that which has become my status-quo, i am passively stating that i am entitled to a specific standard of living.

this topic has been something i have been painfully aware of for some time now and have been attempting to remedy. don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being well off in and of itself. no one is saying that 20 year olds from all around the globe with disposal incomes and lifestyles financed by parents should simultaneously drop the keys to their range rovers (for the record, i do not and have never owned a new and or luxury car), unilaterally reject all wordly possessions and money not directly generated by their own hard work and elbow grease, and go live an ascetic life in the forest amongst the birdies and nature. i mean we all saw/read "Into the Wild". look how that turned out. (was that too soon?) a disposable income is meant to be enjoyed and parents are meant to spoil their kids to an extent. i am just trying to say there needs to be a bit of a balance between receiving and doing. nothing feels better than kicking back after a long hard day and turning on that new flatscreen tv that YOU bought yourself. (if tv and movie watching is your thing, that is)

with all forms of privileges there is no way getting around them. denying it helps no one. one needs to acknowledge it in order to have any hope of learning to work with said priviledge. i know and appreciate how lucky i have been. i don't expect to become 100% financially independent overnight, or even within the next few months. being a foreigner in germany with limited access and legal rights to work make things all the more difficult, but i am starting with cutting back, budgeting, and trying to find a damn job now that uni life is coming to a close. wish me luck, folks.

lg, Rae
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