Who doesn’t want to start with a clip of Ryan Gosling? Am I right?
The journey of life is a continually interesting ride the longer I’m on it. It’s fascinating to experience as you grow through different stages and the stereotypes that come along with them. Obviously, the most recent one I’m currently having the pleasure of participating in, is the 20-something, young professional phase. One of the most eye-opening realizations of this decade is just how polarizing it is. From the beginning of your 20’s, when most people begin to realize how much they don’t have a clue about anything (budgeting, paying bills, how to cook more than ramen, the repercussions of spending all your money partying with friends on payday and having to eat said ramen for the next two weeks until you get paid again) to encroaching on your 30’s, when you may not have everything together in life, but most people begin to have a relatively established idea of the life you want to lead. From people getting married and starting families to hustling up the corporate ladder trying to be as successful as possible. There are the ones that settle into whatever came their way after high school/college that gave up on dreaming in lieu of something safer. And of course, you’ve got a few that are still sucking on that parental teet for every drop it’s worth. During this stage, most of us end up facing the “Holy fuckcicles, Batman! What am I doing with my life?” quarter-life crisis, which I personally believe is an important self-reflective hurdle that we all need to go through. It’s a pivotal moment that either solidifies the path someone has chosen, or it can be an incredible turning point that launches a person into potential they didn’t realize they had. I like to call this the “Get Your Shit Together” stage.
The major catalyst for this Get Your Shit Together stage is realizing you’re not fulfilled by what you spend all of your time on. Doesn’t matter if it’s a job, relationship, or how you occupy your free time. Internally, shit hits the fan and you have an overwhelming realization that something has to change or you accept defeat and become content to be unhappy. It’s unfortunate, but remarkable how many people I know that make fucktons more money than me and hate their job every day, or friends in relationships they don’t want but are too scared of the idea of being single and having to work on themselves.
Which brings us to a segue.
To the kids in or on your way out of high school: There are a lot of people, telling you a lot of things about how to not ruin your life and what you should do if you ever want to be successful. Most of this will be paired with the idea that if you don’t go to college you’ll probably die. I implore you to take these opinions with a grain of salt. To the ones of you that know what you want to do, by all means get at it. If you’ve dreamed about becoming a doctor, lawyer, or rocket scientist for as long as you can remember, then get in the best possible college you can and go kick ass at it. Be the best in your class and use every resource your school has to offer you. Maybe some of you want to go into a particular industry that you’d be best off trying to obtain an internship or a mentor and working your ass off, moving your way up by hustling over the next several years. If that’s you, crush it. However, I’d bet a vast majority of you don’t have a single clue what you really want to do with your life, and that’s ok.
I’ll repeat myself:
People put so much undue, and quite frankly, ridiculous pressure on you guys to have all the answers to situations you’ve yet to be faced with, which has always been bizarre to me. And this isn’t meant to be condescending, negative, or degrading in anyway way, shape, or form, so please, please, PLEASE take this in the spirit in which I mean it. The reality is that you haven’t actually been alive that long, which is neither bad nor your fault. You’re young and in an amazing place to learn so much which is super rad. Many of you have never had a job. You’ve never had life away from your parents with the freedom and consequences to make your own choices. Life after high school is really your first opportunity to delve into figuring out who you are and who you want to be. The best thing you can do is to just get out in the world and start living. For some of you, that’s getting a shitty job and a shitty apartment with a few friends (which sounds terrible, but for me was an incredible learning experience). For others that might be saving money from summer jobs and take some time backpacking through Europe. Use your imagination and start working towards something. Even if it’s not a perfect situation, it will help you begin to learn about yourself and begin to illuminate the things you do and don’t care about. However, do not, I repeat, DO-FUCKING-NOT get pressured/obligated/guilted into going to college when you haven’t decided for yourself what you want in life, just to party your ass off and collect $100,000 in debt. That’s just foolish. If you want to party, I’ll be the last person to throw stones, but you’d be infinitely better off getting an apartment near a college campus, and working for a restaurant. You’ll have more money than all your friends, still get to party with them, be able to find out just how fulfilling a life of partying really is long term, and most importantly: YOU WON’T BE IN INSANE AMOUNTS OF DEBT. Seriously.
To the college/post-college/young professionals and up: Do you love your life? Are you fulfilled by what you wake up and get to do every day? If so, fanfuckingtastic! Keep doing what you’re doing. If not, welcome to the stage that I was in and have had to/still work through.
Most of us have some semblance of a path we’re trying to follow by this point in our life. Be that as it may, we end up lacking joy or a sense of purpose even when we do seemingly dope shit. For me, I began to truly find solace by asking myself the question, “What do you want?”. If you’re feeling the way I did, I’d urge you to ask yourself the same thing. And don’t be a bitch about it. “Rich and successful” is a shitty answer. Come up with something tangible and quantifiable. Once you’ve got something specific to shoot for you can begin to look at every choice you make in life through the lens of, “Does this get me closer to my goals?”. If the answer is yes, by all means do it. If not, pass on it. I started doing this towards the end of last year, and it’s been absolutely game changing for my life (you can check out my personal goals for 2016 here). Rome wasn’t built in a day and your life might not turn into a ball of fucking sunshine overnight, but if you can constantly make measurable progress towards a life that’s going to bring you fulfillment, it will totally be worth it long term. You’ll be amazed how quickly you start seeing the joy seep back into your life.
Are you gonna try and make some changes in your life to get you closer to your real goals? Hit me up and let me know! I’d love to hear about it!
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