If you learned nothing in 2020, I hope you at least learned this...

The year 2020 has been a confusing year to experience.

It would seem that a veil has been lifted and many of us are finding ourselves vulnerable, scared, unsure, and unsupported. We were told that if we did well in school, behaved, were respectful of our elders, went to university, got degrees, applied to all the right jobs, kept track of our volunteer efforts on our CVs, networked with the right people, said yes too every opportunity, and kept looking for ways to advance that we would be happy, safe and secure.

I do believe that at one point in our recent history, that that was true. That was the way the world once worked. The hard working, clean nosed, stiff collard people were rewarded, while those that challenged the status quo would be doomed to work minimum wage jobs and eventually develop a drug problem.

At least that was how I was (unintentionally) raised to see the world.

My dad was a police officer, and some of my uncles (on my mother’s side) dealt with alcoholism and drug addiction. At a very young age, I saw the struggle that came with being a rebel, and my only example of rebellion were those uncles. It made rebelling not appealing to me. It made following all the rules and being a good kid extremely important to me.

I did everything right.

I got good grades, I had good friends, I didn’t get into trouble, I got really good at hiding any bad behaviour that would be frowned upon, I went to university, I had a good job and climbed the ladder, I said yes to every opportunity, I opened a restaurant, and I worked hard. The result was excessive stress, health issues, weight gain, and I was time poor.

We have been taught to believe that if we do everything right and we colour within the lines, so to speak, that we will succeed and makes lots of money which will make us happy.

But no where in all these rules for living is it described HOW to be happy. We are told to pass the tests, do our job, be good little citizens and we will be rewarded. We assume that the reward is happiness. But it isn’t, is it. The reward is getting stuck, smothered in debt, more stuff, and short escapes from reality in the form of vacations all until we eventually get to retire after we’ve given them the best years of our lives.

We are born, we go to school, we go to work, we die. Is that really what being human is all about? Is that really why we are here? Is that really what you want for the rest of your life?

I thought the way to escape this was to own a business, so I bought into a franchise and opened a restaurant. I used someone else’s banner, someone else’s recipes, and paid someone else for this privilege. Essentially, I bought myself a job.

Restaurant owners are not entrepreneurs, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Entrepreneurs INVEST in restaurants and other people run it, restaurant owners WORK in restaurants. I wish someone had clarified this for me when I opened my business, I probably still would have done it, but my expectations would have been vastly different.

The amount of people who lost their jobs and still saw big business thrive during this pandemic has shaken a lot of people awake this year. The amount of corporate executives whose companies received tax dollars for support and still received dividends sickens me.

We are exiting the era were human labour is necessary for business to thrive and we are entering the era where workers are replaceable by someone who will do the work for less money, or by a machine.

What is scary is we have been raised to be normal, to fit in, to be a cog in the wheel of our society in order to achieve security. Now the world has changed, and that normality and fitting in mentality is exactly what is causing us to lose our jobs, lose our security, and to be left out in the cold.

Following the traditional steps to success is no longer an option, and that is very scary.

Unless you have a skill that few possess, unless you are the entrepreneur behind the massive corporation, unless you are the only person who can solve a problem that the masses have, you are at risk.

So what is to be done about it?

We need to change how we view security and how we get it.

My personal solution is to not be a cog in the economic wheel by spending money on a big house, fancy cars, expensive groceries, nice clothing etc.

My solution is to be able to pair down my costs and find ways to produce my own food, heat, water, and other basic needs as much as I can.

My solution is to not be a consumer. But to be a creator.

When I tell people that my fiancé and I intend to buy an acreage, grow our own food, raise our own meat, and find ways to live off the land as much as we can they think I am crazy. Why wouldn’t they? They know me as the kid that was going to have the big fancy career. They assumed that I would be like them and buy a nice big house, have a couple of kids, work for them to go to university, and follow along the path that society has made ‘normal’ for us all.

Going against that way of life is weird to people.

I am not saying the answer is that everyone needs to sell everything and go live off the land. That is not the answer to everyone’s security issue. But what I am saying is you need to be willing to change what you value. You need to be willing to look at our society critically and decide not to be stuck in the economical wheel that many of us are slaves to. You need to be willing to stop being a consumer and become a creator.

EVERYONE has something beautiful and necessary to bring to the world that only they can do. Your experiences, your path, your skills are useful to someone out there. You need to find those people and share your creations with them.

You need to be willing to challenge the norm in our society and decide to change it, change how you act within it, or figure out how to make it work in your favour. If you don’t, you only risk more insecurity, reliance on our governments, and a constant fear of not knowing where your next pay will come from.

I for one, do not trust our governments both the right and the left. In North America, they have shown over and over again how much they are in support of big business and not in support of the working class people. Taxes climb, support for small businesses is decreased, money is misused, big industries that support small towns are outsourcing over seas or being shut down, and people are losing their income and stability. And it really seems that no one cares.

So, what will it be? Continue being a consumer or start being a creator, the choice is yours.

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