I don’t read newspapers or listen to the news on tv/radio anymore. Why? They’re filled with articles of people that have run out of options.

Like the person that is getting ready to enter her junior year of college and has no idea what to major in, doesn’t even like the courses she’s studying, has no idea what job she wants in the future, and already has $30,000 in debt. The thought of finding a job after college with a decent enough wage to pay back the student loans in addition to making enough for rent, car payment, car insurance, water bill, heating, health insurance is already making her nervous. And her parents.

Like the person that is living in a house she bought a couple of years ago with a high interest rate loan that is now worth considerably less than she paid for it. It continues to cost even more because the water heater went out, the roof needs replacing, the oven no longer works. And she just found mold growing in the basement.

Like the person that is still doing a job fifteen years later because everyone told her what a great job it was. Sure, she hasn’t gotten a raise in three years, and she took over two other colleagues’ work when they quit. She has to answer texts and email at all hours of the day to ensure job security, hasn’t had a full weekend off in months, and hasn’t had the time to attend one of her kids’ soccer games. But hey, it’s a job.

Like the person that is so majorly in debt because her credit cards are filled with charges from the clothes, the furniture, the dinners out, the vacations, the events, even the car payment she had to make in an effort to look respectable and doing well to all of the friends and family around her. She struggles every single month making those monster payments, especially now that the interest rate has increased to a very high double-digit amount. But it’s all in the name of keeping up with the Jonses.

In all cases, the media makes it seem like these people have run out of options. You have to have a degree, but who will be there to get you a job or help you pay the student loans? You have to buy a home; it’s a part of the American Dream. You have to stick with the job, that’s where the security is.

We should feel sorry for these people, and in most cases it works. They’re all just like us, after all.

When you run out of options

But what should we truly feel sorry for?

The fact that this is their reality? The fact that it so closely matches our own reality, and that scares us?

Maybe it’s time to see it for what it really is, and step into change.

You don’t have to accumulate debt just to get a degree. There are many ways to get a degree – even a masters degree – almost for free. And depending on what you want to do with your life, is a degree even required any longer?

You don’t have to own a house. You can rent for far cheaper.

You don’t have to keep your job. Why not give entrepreneurship a try?

And if you reduce the amount you’re spending on your house, own a smaller home that won’t hold as much stuff, and quit the corporate job to work out of your home, you won’t need to keep buying things on credit cards. (Which means you can pay them off sooner rather than later … And never use them again.)

Yes, all of this is possible. I know because I’ve made each of these changes in my own life.

I’m not saying they are right or wrong. Or that there’s a correct or an incorrect way to go about it.

My point is there is always another option waiting for you to choose it instead of your current path.

The media would have you believe it’s “someone else’s fault” that tuition is high, and jobs aren’t available, houses are a mandatory purchase for anyone wanting a stable lifestyle, and you have to fill that house with stuff.

It’s all clearly rhetoric.

Yes, you do have options.

The first step is to choose what’s right for you. NOT what everyone else says is the right path for you.

The second step is to do it. Quit the job. Say no to traditional school (and I’m not just talking about as a 20 something in the school. Why are you pushing your child into a traditional college if it’s not the right path for him or her?) Quit the job. Start the business. Sell the house. Simplify. Move to a lifestyle you love. One that makes you happy and allows you to be more in love with everything you do.