I’m not even twenty and my retirement plan is better than yours.

Photo by Jonas Nordberg on Unsplash

It’s now the summer after I graduated high school. This summer, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my sister. We have a lot of time to talk between work and just getting around every day, and her plans for the rest of high school are a frequent topic of discussion. As she talks about the classes she’s excited about, the ones she’s not excited about, who some idiot is dating, and who that idiot is cheating on, I always feel clear disgust settling in.

Because I’m imagining what it’s like to be in her place. I hated high school for many reasons, but one of the big ones was that it’s the natural thing everyone expects you to do. For many people, it’s a necessary step to continue with life. As I look forward in my own life, I am dreading college, too. And I’m going in nine days, so that’s not good. It’s not just because it’s expensive and coated in pointless rules, it’s because so many people just do it as a step along the way.

I’m talking about school-related things because that’s the stage I’m in right now, but other things people just do when they come of a certain age, like getting married, taking out a loan on a house, or having kids, all sound equally disgusting.

Right now, at the ripe age of eighteen, I’m looking forward at my life for the first time. I’m starting to explore the future in more detail. And what scares me is I hate all the things I see. Think about it: what are we taught to expect of a guy in his mid-30's? Does three kids, a beer gut, and baldness sound about right? What about someone who’s fifty? If you’re anything like me, you would have started googling alternatives to a colonoscopy.

I sincerely apologize if I’m offending some people, but don’t pretend you weren’t scared of these things once.

I’m starting to think about aging, and I’m starting to fucking hate it.

I’m not sure if these are common thoughts for people my age. Maybe that’s why so many people end up with half their original brain mass, a pregnant girlfriend, and $70,000 in student debt by the time they’re 27.

Part of the problem is I don’t have anyone to talk to about this. All the older people I know well enough to talk to are just not killing it anymore. I don’t mean to insult any of them by saying this, but I just expected more out of their years of existence. Maybe I’m making a mistake by projecting my current dense days or growth, productivity, and fun into the future. Maybe the decline in physical or mental prowess is normal. And that’s what scares me.

I don’t want to live long enough to go bald. Or get a colonoscopy. Or forget where I put the car keys. Or spend my Sundays playing mahjong and smoking cigars. Or be one of those old rich assholes with a Porsche. Or go out with my wife and her friends for brunch on Saturday to hear them talk about their grandchildren. Why the hell am I busting my ass working so hard for if that’s all that’s waiting for me in twenty years?

Is this a midlife crisis? I think so. But why the fuck am I having it now?

Whatever this is, my solution is simple.

I came up with a tentative two-part plan. Plan A goes like this: for as long as I can, I do whatever the fuck I want to, every day, every time. I’ll work on what calls me, focus on living my dreams, and change the world in the ways I always wanted to.

And while I’m doing this, I’ll have a close network of younger people watching me. Even right now, half of my friends are teenage girls three years younger than me, courtesy of my sister. And I plan to maintain young friends throughout my life so that one day, one of them can give me a call.

They’ll say, “Mika, you old motherfucker. It’s time for Plan B.”

And Plan B takes effect then: I’ll give 90% of my money and assets to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, move to Tasmania, and become an alpaca farmer. For the rest of my days, I’ll support charities, post inflammatory statements about freedom on Twitter, and learn to play the guitar while I manage a small alpaca wool clothing business. I will also have a pet cow.

In some ways, I joke, of course. (I would actually have three pet cows, not just one. What if Clarke gets lonely?) But this plan is more concrete than you might think. About two years ago, I started the Farm Fund. It’s a place I’ve been putting part of my salary every month to save up for Plan B. In ten years, I’ll have quite a significant chance of being able to actually execute the plan if I start getting old.

Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

I still have many questions.

Don’t judge me. I might be completely wrong about everything. I wrote this partly so some older people can laugh at it and remember the time they thought the same things.

But I do know for certain that, at least once in my life, I want a pet cow.

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