The other day I was taking a break from writing and enjoying a rerun of the Beverly Hills Housewives when a commercial came on that made me scratch my head.
In this 30 second Prudential ad, people on a busy city street are asked what they would do if they were paid to do something they love. The first woman proudly exclaims that she wants to be a writer. Then came a flurry of other responses – an architect, a pie maker, a pilot. The camera pulls back, and you see this big yellow wall where all these people had written their real career aspirations.
The point of the commercial is that you should start saving the money you’re making now in the job you don’t love so that one day you can spend it on what you actually want to do.
As a mom, I’m always encouraging my boys to think big. My job is to help them so that they can grow up to do what they want to do. I sure hope to God that they won’t have to wait until their 65 to do it!
At first, the upbeat, inspirational music and the smiling faces on these people make you think the message of the ad is positive. How wonderful that they’ll one day be able to do something cool like bake pies and have the money to do it.
But, then you think about the real message. These people would really rather be doing something else. They’re sitting in artificially lit offices, putting up with irritating supervisors, struggling to make ends meet in low paying restaurant or retail jobs. God only knows what else. What a dreary concept for an ad campaign!
I’m all for saving for retirement. And, I get that we all can’t be pie makers and pilots. I also get that Prudential can help you manage your money effectively so that you have enough to get through your golden years.
But, I don’t dig the message that you should be saving now so that hopefully one day you can actually do what you love. Shouldn’t we all be striving to do what we love every day? If you’re not loving what you’re doing, shouldn’t you be working on that now instead of waiting 20 or 30 years to fix the problem?
I feel incredibly blessed that I get to do what that first woman in the commercial said she wanted to do – be a writer. This begs the question. Since I’m already getting paid to write and I love writing, do I really have a reason to ever retire?
I can’t imagine not writing. And, I plan to continue writing long past the age of 65. Retirement isn’t the goal when you’re actually doing what you love to do. Instead, it’s staying healthy so that you can keep doing it.