This is a guest post by Vincent J. Monteleone.
My four-year journey, turned five, was coming to an end. The train was getting ready to pull into the station at my stop. No more thirsty Thursdays, no more shutting off your alarm and rolling over because you’re too hungover to deal with today. I was about to enter the real world. College graduation was now just a stone’s throw away. I was officially going to become a man. I was now going to become a full-time member of the real world.
The only problem was, I didn’t feel like a man. Not even a little bit. I did not feel prepared to enter the real world, whatever that means. Could this be all college had given to me? Mostly hangovers, mixed in with anxiety over calculus that I’ll never use again; what is the limit of negative infinity? In a few weeks, I was going to be considered a man to the world after I shook the dean’s hand while he handed me my diploma. Never in my entire life did I feel more like a boy.
I wasn’t sure why I went to college. Why not? Everyone goes, so I went. It is the next step after high school. I am not sure what I expected, but I definitely anticipated more. I felt as if I wasted four…I mean five years getting drunk on weekdays and cramming for exams. What did I learn that brought value to the real world? What did I take away to make me a productive member of society?
After voicing my concerns to my peers, my elders, and anyone who would listen, I received one common answer: you can’t get a job without that piece of paper they call a diploma. Is that a good reason to waste four plus years not learning?
I was one of the lucky ones who was actually able to get a job upon graduation. Not for what I wanted to do, but hey a job is a job. That’s the goal, right? Work a 9-5, or more like 9-6, or 7, or even 8, make money, put it into a 401k, lease payments, rent, eventually a mortgage, then start saving up for your kids’ college so they can repeat the cycle one day. Is that really what life is supposed to be all about? This is where the motivation behind Dying to Live came from.
I found out that my worst fear would be to wake up in my 40s, or 50s, to realize that my only success was financially, and that it came at the expense of everything else. The main thing college drives home is that you must fit into a square hole, even if you are a round peg. Then after you make yourself fit, you have to fit for 40 years and hopefully at that time have enough set-aside in your 401k to truly start living. That being said, no matter what your attitude is to life and work, planning for your financial future in retirement is crucial. Plus, there are so many different options out there nowadays, that it is important to do your research as soon as you can to ensure that you make the right decisions with your money. Whether you intend on taking out an Individual Retirement Account after checking out this SoFi calculator, or intend on investing your money in other ways, it is always better to have resources in place.
The grim reality is that tomorrow is not promised for any of us, never mind 40 years from now. If you put off living today, you will never get that today back. We lose sleep over things that add little value to our lives at the expensive of the things that mean the most to us. We all write family first, in the caption underneath of our Instagram pictures, but do our actions speak to this?
Through the main character, 43-year-old Brendon Merullo, in Dying to Live, he realizes my worst fear: being successful only as far as his accountant is concerned. Brendon realizes too late that he amassed his fortune at the cost of everything that supposedly mattered the most to him.
Throughout the pages you are taken on a journey through Brendon’s regrets, and how wasteful he was with his most precious resource: time. He soon realizes that the past is done, and the future might not come for him, all he has is today to make right by the ones he loves. The startling reality is that all of us only have today, even if we choose to live as if tomorrow is guaranteed.
Vincent J. Monteleone has poured passion into writing Dying to Live, his debut novel. In 2013 he earned a business degree from Baruch College. Since then, he has discovered alternatives to the view of the world he learned about in his college classes. Theres alternatives shape his passions and his writing.
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