Yesterday afternoon, as I was enthusiastically, sadistically, and tyrannically pulling weeds in the garden, I was listening to an NPR "Story of the Day" podcast. It was a little story on the new corporate world, and how much different it is for the twenty-somethings now, who seem to want to climb the corporate ladder much more quickly than ever before.

The corporate world was as far from me and my gardening; our wonderful trees literally crippled with apples, the grapes on the fence, the weeds that I was ruthlessly, murderously, and determinedly ripping; as far as maple syrup is from the poison dart frog. But one thing the guest mentioned caused me to sit up in the dirt and listen.

She said, and I paraphrase, that she would not encourage twenty-somethings to attend graduate school because the twenties are a time for many relationships, for fun, for travel, for discovering yourself and who you are, not for responsiblity, not for settling into something that will cause you to spend too much of your time working or studying. (Once again, my paraphrase.)

Well, I thought, I don't think I got THAT memo! Rip. Rip rip rip rip.

I am all about alternate lifestyle (in case you didn't notice). One of my mottos in life is "Do things a different way." Something not working? Do things a different way. Feel trapped or stifled? Do things a different way.  There are so many myths of the way things have to be. The rules of conduct that North Americans have written for themselves are sometimes treated as the ten commandments. I'm reading a great book recently (about parenting) that suggests that sometimes the things we do, which we think are righteous, we actually do because we can afford them. Because we have more money than most people in the world.

And that is precisely my beef with the guest author (whose name completely escapes me) on this show. A whole decade for self-discovery?

How much time do you think we have?

We are all much more responsible than that. We have a say in the way things go on this big ball in the sky. There are so many possibilities, worlds of ideas, forests of actions that each person can run through, screaming with hope. We demean people if we put stock in the idea that a career is for making money, life is about climbing the corporate ladder. I believe that to truly radiate the potential that we are given, with integrity, we will inevitably make decisions about our lives that cause us to earn smaller paychecks, because we couldn't with good conscience earn the bigger ones. Corporations will have to make a few million less because they decide that they can't use slave labor after all. It's not worth it to take the livelihoods of most people of a nation into subjection in order to make the stuff that another nation's kids will break and throw away. We need to stop building our empire on the backs of others.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about graduate school. And I love to travel. And have fun. But I think that if we are assuming that our thirties is the decade where we start to get serious, it is only because we can afford to.