The new American Dream is to be at Zero.
To be at Zero means time. Time means freedom.
“My youth is the foundation of me.” serenades American Teen, Khalid. It’s true. The big house, the fancy car, the ‘perfect’ family are no longer the American Dream. Time is. Travel is. Youth is.
O.G. talk, the term “American Dream” came with a credit line. With great credit comes great debt. Rich or dirt poor, regardless of the life you were born into, if you were born in this great country and worked hard, social mobility was intended to be your right. “Life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” squabbled the great James Turslow Adams in 1931.
A line of credit was the opportunity for a family to build a good family with a house, a car, and freedom. Think about the first time you were offered a credit card, where did it happen? At a bank or a clothing store? Now a line of credit means you can get 50% deals at GAP.
My student loan debt was worth it.
Please Listen. Watch. Feel.
It took writing this article to get that it was all worth it, even though I’m under qualified or over qualified for every job I apply for in 2018. I took out student loans at 16 age for my dreams.
Why is it we barely remember our actual dreams when we wake, but we describe our deepest wants and desires with the use of the word “dream”? Can you really follow a dream?
What about the still dreamers? Aren’t you still dreaming? Or has Kanye’s cruel world crushed what you thought was once possible? Nothing is impossible, but not for everyone. Nothing is impossible for me. Nothing is impossible for Kayne West. Nothing is impossible for that kid that thinks he’s a robot and a dragon and invisible. For those of you who no longer dream, it’s true, there is a lot that is impossible.
This song goes with the feeling of this article. American Teen by Khalid
In a not-so-distant time but very different place, before hashtags and instagram, I was 20 and I was about to graduate from college (I started college at 16), and this name was being tossed around- Peter Theil. He was the co-founder of an online money transferring website that my parents refused to trust, Paypal. Elon Musk’s name had yet to be trending and Amazon was indeed a kitchy used book buying website that Chinese-used-college-bookstores-owners were shit-talking imperiled by. Fucking textbooks, they were so fucking expensive. If you highlighted a textbook, it’s value went down 80%. If you used a pen on your textbook, then it was yours fo life; like the butterfly tramp-stamp you’ve tried to laser away. 👊🏽 Remember half.com? Ebay’s used textbook site? Yeah, if you do, you are in.
I remember the day I invented the iPad. No joke. I have my 2008 sketches to prove it. It looked exactly like the iPad Air. I was always drawing and dreaming up new inventions. I wanted a tablet that could hold all your textbooks and because I was such a fan of Apple, I wanted to be an inventor for them and call it the iPad. (Shit, I still want to be an inventor for them!) I dreamt of book subscriptions and ways to annotate your notes digitally rather than cornell style. Shit, if you remember cornell style notes, then you fo sho are part of The Last Gen. My first year in college was theFacebook.com’s first year of inception (but not according to the Winklebitcoin Twins). You needed a .edu college email address to have a facebook account and you could only be friends with people who were in your college network, which kept parents and high school bullies from creeping on your shit. Oh the dreams kids create. But back to Peter Theil…
I was just about to finish college and suddenly this Theil dude was paying 24 kids $100k to not start or drop out of college, correction “stop out of college”. Not only did they get $100k, but they got two years of guidance and connections from the Thiel Fellowship to implement their dream ideas. WTF? I thought college was supposed to lead to a better life, a baller house, and the American Dream? I had just shoved out $1000 bucks of left over undergrad student loan money to apply to grad school. Did I just fuck up my life by going to college? Yes. Yes I did, sort of… Theil’s idea was that instead of going into debt and spending four years paying an institution for a useless degree, a special 24-in-a-billion-dreamer kids would have the opportunity to bring their inception to life and figure out how to profit from it.
Think about it, if you’ve gone to college you know that for the first two years of it you must fulfill “general education” requirements to even qualify to take advanced courses that work toward your major. What is general education? It’s bullshit, nothing more or less. It’s REAL ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. I took astronomy, a sociology course that I got my first D in because I told the SA she was full of shit when she told me I didn’t understand the word “empathy”, and I slept through International Relations, lost a contact lens during my final, and just wrote on the last page of the hand-written paper test, “Please don’t fail me, I can’t see because I lost a contact lens, and I never wanted to take this course. I will never invest in guns and I don’t need butter, I’m vegan.” I got a B-! Do college students even take hand written tests anymore? You know you’re not a millennial when you can’t answer that question. Remember kids, millennial is a state-of-mind and lifestyle, not an age. The point is, every college student in America takes courses they don’t want to take for two years of their life and the average of 70% of kids that graduate from college have student loan debt for those bullshit courses.
I knew the moment I heard of this Theil dude, that I was fucked…
The damage was done, so why not keep going? I took my first student loan out at the age of 16 because I had no choice if I wanted an education and a better life from the blackhole I was born into. I had never taken a loan course, had no clue what tax was, had never had a lesson in finance and you know what, I still have never been properly taught what an interest rate is or how to do my taxes, yet I’m required to pay debts and taxes. My only source of financial education has been talking-heads also in debt on youtube. I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me and the choices I made as a kid, it was ALL WORTH IT.
Fucked up thought, but you know how kids who commit crimes before they’re 18 go to juvy, but when they turn 18 their slates are wiped clean? That’s how it should be for former students this country loaned money to who didn’t know any better. Federal Loan Servicing made me take a “Loan Exit Counseling” course to graduate, but what about a loan ENTER course? Yeah it was my choice to sign a paper to repay thousands of thousands ofmdollars at age 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, & 23, but I WAS A KID! Some punk kid could have shot up his entire family and gotten a second chance at his/her adult life. I went to college, got a 3.8 grade point average, the most dangerous thing I did was join a sorority for a semester, and if I didn’t believe NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE, then I’d be in the hole, in the jail of debt, FOR LIFE.
When I got out of college, there was this boom of 23-year-old’s getting rich over night. They jumped in the start-up game bubble, bought up domains like hipster.com and then were acquired by huge tech giants like AOL (true story). This allowed them to pivot and invest into guns and melt butter at the same time. The difference between those kids and me were they weren’t rich either, but they weren’t in debt.
What does debt do to a young mind, aside from owing money?
I mentally tortures every part of you. Student debt is a violation to your potential. Just knowing you owe more money every day due to an unreasonable interest rate will crush you and your ability to dream. A young person with student loan debt no longer feels the world is at their fingertips because it’s not. They can’t leave their apartment for a year and take an around the world trip to find themselves because they owe money every month. Even if they are on the wonderful-thanks-to-Obama, Income Driven Repayment Plan, their interest rate goes up by the day. Do the math, a grad school government loan interest rate is the lowest of 8.5%. If your grad degree tuition cost six figures, in ten years if you don’t make your minimum 4k a monthly payment, you’ll owe almost ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Those 20-something kids that took risks and got rich from the start-up bubble were kids that had time ON THEIR MINDS, and time means freedom.
Dark Fantasy by Kanye West
I remember for my the first three years out of grad school I felt worthless. On the days I felt like waking up, I would wake up crying, I couldn’t date because who would want someone who owed so much, and I even had a hard time applying for jobs without feeling desperate and worthless. I had been on top, started college at 16, finished grad school at 23, yet I already felt like I failed and that effected me for years, it still so deeply does. To be frank, I no longer date because of my student loans. Every time I meet a great guy with an average salary, I don’t feel good enough, the invisible red flag appears, and then darkness. I used to feel like a homeless person was worth more than me, because on a monetary value, he was. I have reframed how I place monetary value on my mind and body and it’s priceless, but most with the weight of debt on their souls, can’t do what I’ve been able to do.
When you talk to a former student in debt about their debt, they can’t talk about it.
It’s become an unspoken shame and it eats away at the majority of the 70% of students who leave college in debt. No one truly talks about what student loan debt does to someone’s mind years and years later. Have there been studies on people to started their true adult lives off in debt?
No, because society gives up on people in debt and invests in the youth who are at ZERO.
It’s sick and this should be taken into serious account when allowing children to borrow money. You know what else gets eaten away? DREAMS!
DREAMS GO AWAY.
Are you listening Peter Theil?
Can you channel my vibes Elon Musk?
Alexa, send message to Jeff Bezos now.
Nicki Manaj is onto something!
TLG ARE THE GUNS!
18 year olds need time to grow, until then they’re butter.
What’s the real difference between those at ZERO and those in debt. The ZEROS have time. The indebted use that time to work for money and they’re always playing catch up.
“I never thought about it. I’m at Zero. I chose to start my own business, but I could have bought a house somewhere or another car. I was able to start my business because I’m at fucking Zero. I’m thankful I’m not in student loan debt, I get what it does, but I can’t imagine it either. Fuck, wow. I AM A ZERO.” realized a 26-year-old millennial life coach that left her former career to follow her dreams.
I don’t fault my friends who had parents that could pay their 6 figure tuition, because I DREAM to have several kids and to give them the world and let them go or not go to the college they choose, but everything happens for a reason. Some parents are smart and make sure their kids don’t end up in debt, but that’s not the same blunt life case for many. My mom encouraged me to borrow money because when she was in college, a student loan was at a reasonable 2% interest rate and a college degree really mattered. Oh what a different time it is.
I admire the 20-something-kids that are still living at home with their parents, because lets face it, parents owe you for bringing you into Kanye’s cruel world.
I had a brief Aziz Ansari style Modern Romance with a 24-year-old who had just moved out of his parents apartment the week before I met him. He never went to college, had the biggest heart, but was young, much younger than I was at 24. There was something so innocent about him and that feeling stuck with me. I instantly wanted to protect him, his eyes were different; like a kid’s. He was never going to know what it was like to go to a frat party or go to college games or switch majors three times or wonder what to do with his life after getting a college degree. He had two jobs, one selling luggage and another as a high school sports coach. When I asked him what his purpose was, he knew so deeply, “I want to be a role model for kids. I want to be a counselor someday.” I felt jealous of him. What the fuck was I so worried about at 24? At 24 I wrote in my journal that I was turning 25 soon and was scared to get old and not have a job I loved. I wish I could be so free as to get a fucking job at a luggage shop for just a little bit without judging myself, but I have all these college degrees and talent and I’m scared to waste away and never be seen. My fears at 24 are still my fears at 29, the difference is, I love myself now. Not going to college gave that 24-year-old man time and clarity to know his life’s purpose, to simply be a fucking role model. Everything comes down to love. He’ll end up happier then most.🙂
My million dollar debt was worth it and before I tell you why…. Back to my dreams.
8teen by Khalid
I grew up with nothing but my imagination, and I was always aware of it. Some kids are so innocent and protected that they don’t realize only poor kids drink grape soda, but not me. Fuck grape soda, I’ve never taken a sip. When I was 7, my parents divorced and my mom moved my brother and I from a upper-middle-class house in the suburbs to a place I just call a black hole. The thing is, I was stupid enough to believe in Disney movies and happily ever-afters, maybe they were my escape, but there was something else brewing inside of me, a deeper purpose. Whatever it was, my life story lead me to see nothing but opportunity. My student loan debt wasn’t the first hole I had entered, the black one was and at 12 I went to junior college at night, doubled up on courses, skipped two grades, and got the fuck out. Even though college was bullshit, my loans did get me out. If there is anything college does, it gets you out into the world and if one has the opportunity, they should experiment and fuck up and try again.
Student loans allowed me to see the world and to truly be in.
Because of my loans, I studied abroad in Paris and for the first time, my professor, my hero, Marc Eli Blanchard, told me what my life’s purpose was. He put something into words that I was never able to comprehend, until now and it was to be a voice and a writer of impact. My loans kept me from getting stuck in the blackhole, poor in the mind, and possibly pregnant on welfare not by choice but rather socio-economic circumstance. Where would I be without my student loans? Not writing this. Who know knows, because the only thing that matters is right now, and everything happens for a reason.
I hit a breaking point, it was either to die in debt, or live with EVERYTHING. When I chose everything, I learned that I was STILL DREAMING and that is what’s kept my heart beating… but there has been that something else, that magic I can’t put into words, that has kept that it in me going. My genius.
Elizabeth Gilbert, the writer of Eat, Pray, Love describes a genius as magical entities. You are not a genius, no one is, not even Kanye West, BUT you can have a genius. Those genesis ideas are not yours to own and if you don’t use those ideas, they will be passed onto another genius and given to someone else. It’s like a genie in a magic lamp, if you don’t truly wish it, it won’t come true, but it will for someone else. In Roman mythology a genius is a creative spirit that lives in the walls of artists studios and assists them with their work. A genius accompanies a human from birth to death, but it is separate from the human. I was born with a genius, I know this because I feel it so deeply that there are no words to describe it and I also know that this genius is separate from me and can go way. Maybe it’s not me that’s still dreaming, maybe it’s my genesis. My genius see’s the Still Dreamers and saw the new American dream, Zero.
What’s the difference between dreamers and non-dreamers? A non-dreamer can be rich, but they most likely inherited their wealth. A dreamer, no matter their economic status, will always find new ways to gain. A dreamer is a gun and should be invested in and a non-dream is butter, they are nice, but one day they’ll melt into nothing and not truly be remembered.
Someone will always remember a dreamer, and will probably #hashtag their quotes on Instagram.
The slogan of the Peter Thiel’s Fellowship is, “Some ideas just can’t wait.” Kanye West has a genius that he raps about in the song Gorgeous. He battles with it slipping away from him. IT, is his genius and his genius’s ideas. Imagine if STILL DREAMERS had time and the mental freedom to execute their ideas? There are more geniuses out there then you think, they’re just stuck in debt and hiding in walls they can barely afford to rent. It’s why I invented the iPad, but am not the inventor. It’s why your ideas get made by someone else. We get Kanye.
Don’t let that shit slip away.
Gorgeous by Kanye West
This month, Jeff Bezos, who became the richest man on planet earth last month, donated $33 million to TheDream.US, an organization that will pay for 44 thousand “Dreamers’” college tuition. The application is simple, I just applied. You need a 2.5 grade point average and the application doesn’t even ask “What do you dream?” If Jeff Bezoz’s hasn’t heard, a grade point average means nothing today. I have a B.A. and an M.F.A. with the grade point average of 3.8 and not once has anyone ever in a job interview asked me where I went to college, what I went to college for, nor if I had good or bad grades. After I quit my last bullshit office job due to harassment, my boss wrote to everyone in the office that the next person to fill the slot “can’t have a masters degree” and needs to be under 25.
TLG took a STILL DREAMERS Poll with The Last Gen’ers
and the poll blew our hearts away! 🌬💕💕💕💕💕
33/33 TLGers texted “Yes” they still have dreams.
33/33 TLGers texted “Yes” they believe THEIR dreams can come true.
3/33 TLGers could answer they recommend going to college with a just a simple “Yes” or “No,” BUT 30/33 had mixed positive answers! My iPhone 6s battery finally blew up from all the responses! Everything seemed to be dependent on knowing WHAT YOU WANT.👁Many said they felt you need a few years off before going to college. NOT ONE PERSON IN OR NOT IN DEBT TEXTED NO.
3/33 TLGers could answer if they’d still go to college knowing they’d be in debt their 30’s, but it was a mixed bag of very honest and candid responses. The one’s in debt felt strongly about not going to grad school unless it was for med school or a specialty that required a masters degree but felt dominant against going into debt if they planned on working in the creative field. TLRers NOT IN DEBT all texted, “Yes” debt in your 30s would be worth it, without question, because THEY’RE STILL DREAMING and when you dream, nothing is impossible.
3/33 TLGer’s texted “No” Kanye is NOT a genius (We are among the yes, but this is because we believe he has a genius rather than that he is one, but we get not everyone gets IT!😉)
For me, writing this article was worth ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
Never in my life would I expect almost every last gen’er to respond YES, STUDENT LOAN DEBT is worth it. It is! Everything is worth everything. Jobs are hard to get, having people see your talents is few and far between because the majority have their eyes closed, but you know what?
WE’RE STILL DREAMING!
I don’t even feel negative about my debt anymore, because I truly believe they’ll be paid off somehow. I know I’ll never bring a child onto this planet without being debt free, and I know I’m meant to have a good family one day, so they’re going to get paid off.
My purpose in life is big and it comes with a heavy responsibly, much like Jesus. The million dollar student debt cross I carry is to help make sure freedom and youth isn’t taken from anyone else. My debt is for dreamers and for the STILL DREAMERS. My genius writes and designs and tells me to take the path most will judge and shun, but it’s for the bigger outcome for the future. There is a purpose to everything and if there is anyone out there meant to have student loan debt, it’s Me.
Peter Theil’s fellowship is onto something, but the one’s that should be supported are the STILL DREAMERS. The Still Dreamers are the one’s that can teach young innocent dreamers how to really dream. They’re the ones to teach kids to wait to go to college and to know what you want. Let the past serve the future. Yes I went to college again and again and again and I would never take any of it back because that was my path, but we should start to think differently about education and how teach how to dream.
I know I’ll get out of debt and soon because nothing is impossible for me, but the impossible exists for so many.
To Peter Theil’s Founders Fund, to Jeff Bezos’s Bezos Expeditions, to Bill and Melida Gate’s Gates Foundation, and to every free rich A.F. human with TIME, we used to look at the youth for the future, but the future now lies from lessons of the past. Don’t give up on the STILL DREAMERS. If my student loans were paid off, there would be no stopping me. What’s the difference between an 18-year-old’s dreams and a 29-year-old’s dreams? The understanding that earth time is very limited and real life doesn’t look like an instagram store window, it looks like a weathered window that needs to be opened to let the fresh air in.
My dream is to be at Zero.
To be at Zero means freedom.
The day I am at Zero, the day I owe nothing and have nothing is the day I can start living my life. That day is when I can decide what I want to be when I grow up.
Moral of the Story
It’s true, your dreams can slip away from you, but if you’re part of TLG, then what you still do have is time. Don’t let your dreams slip away.
Cinderella kinda got it wrong. She said, “If you tell a wish, it won’t come true. After all, a dream is a wish that will come true.” A wish is different from a dream. Dreams are real, they are part of your unconscious mind and live in the many paralleled paths one can take. A wish is a hope and one should tell their dreams and wishes to EVERYONE, otherwise how will you ever get what you want? Don’t ask for what you want, take it! Be Robin Hood! She has a shit ton of followers and isn’t even on instagram.
Owe nothing to no one. Never put yourself in debt unless you have a dream that you’ll die trying to make come true. I didn’t know better, I was 16 and wanted a better life, but college doesn’t mean a better life. The American dream isn’t dead at all, it’s bigger and better than ever before. It’s the wild wild west out there. Being young and born in this country today means bitcoin, viral youtubers, free youtube information about everything, self publishing, one-click manufacturing, and guns blazing everywhere. Do what you gotta do to get to ZERO or die trying!..
Guns & Butter – How to get rich.
Yes there is bitcoin and yes there are miracles, but in the meantime, “don’t invest more in something when you can get the same thing for less,” explained my beautiful life coach bestie Carla Romo. She was practicing the theory of guns and butter without knowing it. The idea is, don’t go buy Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso when Peet’s Coffee Espresso will give you the same caffeine jolt for half the price. We all love luxury, but luxury will come if you invest. Coffee is butter, you don’t need it and can get the same burst of energy from moving your phat ass and going on run. Now imagine if you stopped buying butter all together and put that money toward cryptocurrency or real guns? You most likely won’t lose money and if you do, you’ll learn something, and the probability is slow and steady won the race. Guns don’t stop working and are hard to destroy, butter doesn’t really exist. Ms. Romo stopped using butter all together and invested in herself, because she saw herself as a gun, indestructible and growing in value. Since she’s been able to have something better than butter, she has her own business, she travels the world, and met a really hot dude whilst on a grand adventure. That’s what The Last Gen like’s to call the HONEY POT. 🍯
If you somehow managed to skip out on an economics GE course, this self-made cute asian dude that I want to adopt me, John Chow, summed up my whole class in a $150k car and it’s totally free.
The Last Generation
TLG was the last to be told college is freedom. TLG was the last to be told, good grades and SAT scores measure your true intelligence. You know what matters? Self love, love for good people, and knowing when to let go of negative shit.
“Be at ZERO is the new American Dream.” You heard it here first. It’s been my dream for a long time. We know Kanye West has a genius.
To be a better person starts with listening with your eyes, ears, self, nose, and to your genius.
To be called a genius, you betta listen to your genius, but the moment you take full credit for the ideas of your genius is the day no one will take you serious. Bitch be humble.
I know many people at Zero, but they think so much is impossible. Cruel world.
I don’t have a diploma. Seriously. My undergrad was trying to charge me for my paper diploma because I didn’t pick it up within 7 days and my grad school wouldn’t give me an actual paper diploma unless I paid $800 for a parking pass for the remainder of the year because I graduated in the middle of the academic year. So pretty much college meant nothing.
I call my debt “my million dollar debt” because that’s what it is. If you ask anyone with a large sum of student loan debt they’ll tell you, “It doesn’t matter if it’s 6 or 7 figures at this point. It’s laughable.” But then they don’t laugh… ha!
My first credit card was a Macy’s card. I was 18 and didn’t even know what a credit card was. I got approved in 5 minutes and bought a bra and forgot to pay it off for 4 months. Ended up being a very expensive bra for a girl with small tits.
I’m proud to say I am no longer fucking vegan and enjoy a bloody steak at least once a week.