Photo by Joseph Parker Creations//CapeMayRachel©
Special to the Star & Wave
If I had a dollar for everyone who asked me if I plan to stay in Cape May long term, I would have made $3 this week.
Instead of replying, “Why are you asking me that,” I give them the typical answer. My parents plan to retire here; I just beat them here.
The real answer? Yes, for the foreseeable future, I plan to live in Cape May. I am following a dream I have had since I was a tourist visiting here every summer. I do not have a five-year plan, I don’t even know what I’m eating for dinner tomorrow night.
When I graduated from George Mason University in 2016, I thought I was going to find a full-time journalism job. Realistically, I probably could have found said job if I stayed in Va., commuted into Washington, D.C., and lived with my parents.
I knew living in Cape May and having a full-time journalism job were probably not congruous, but I was determined to make my dream of living at the beach a reality. Just shy of three years later, I have not only relocated to Cape May, but I have had two journalism jobs, one that was full-time.
I have come to realize I cannot get offended every time someone asks me about my future, if I truly do not know what the next few years will bring. I have often felt the reason people ask me the question about my future in Cape May is because they think my choice of residence is holding me back from my career.
There’s a difference between a job in your field and living somewhere you hate and having a job in your field and living somewhere you love. I am currently in the medium or gray space, where I love where I live, I love what I am writing, but I still wonder about my future. But I think it is OK to feel that way, being only 25.
The experience I have had in the job field in Cape May has shown me I can do the hard work. It is also frustrating to realize in this economy, it is almost impossible to bring in the income needed to survive. It is a struggle fellow millennials understand entirely.
A Sept. 25 CNBC article said 66% of millennials do not feel on track when it comes to saving for retirement. The No. 1 reason is housing costs. It is true – rent is a big expense, which makes it hard to save for the future.
I grew up being told to save money, but it is a lot easier said than done. Some days, it feels fruitless, when you consider the state of the world. I hear about the stock market going up, then closing with low scores. I hear about NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) saying the Earth is heating up every year by two degrees Fahrenheit. I also cannot forget how the ocean levels are rising. Soon enough I might be living oceanfront. Basically, it will be so warm on Earth and the sea level so high by the time I am “retirement” age, that saving money hardly makes sense.
Will millennials be able to retire? A Sept. 17 Forbes article said “we have melting ice caps, mounds of garbage in landfills and in the middle of the sea, and deforestation happening at alarming rates. It’s no wonder some millennials wonder if saving for retirement is even worth it.”
I feel like at this point in my life, I want to enjoy my choice to live in Cape May, do what I love for work and hope I hit the right lottery numbers.