I was talking to a close friend the other day about whether or not he should quit his job to travel. He has a good job for his young age and a solid career plan, but he still toys with the idea of giving it up. “I just don’t want to be thirty and have nothing to show for myself,” he finally admitted.
Well, neither do I, and no matter how much I hide, thirty isn’t all that far away for me. The things I want to show (to who?) are probably less tangible then money in the bank or a highly placed job, but they are still important.
There are people out there who think I’m flighty or ambitionless because my major desire right now is to quit my job and travel full time. They don’t often say it to my face but I can see it in the eyes and in the uncomfortable way they change the subject. These people generally aren’t invited to hang around in my life too long. I find them less threatening than amusing. I think I’ve thought out the principles that govern my life better than many people have.
- There’s no reason you need to do what everybody else is doing.
- Don’t put off your dreams until later when you could be doing them RIGHT NOW.
- Above all else, be interesting. Take risks, learn and treat everything in life as an opportunity.
Laid out on paper they start to sound less like revolutionary principles and more like clichés. The down and dirty truth is I don’t really know what I’m doing or how things are going to turn out.
People tend to ask my advice a lot. I think that is but it also perplexes me. I’m twenty-five, single, I don’t like my job and I sleep in my childhood bedroom. Does that sound like someone who has it all figured out? In reality I am just a girl with a tirelessly upbeat attitude, a lot of big ideas and either enough luck, willpower or blind stupidity to make them work.
So there is 30, just five years away. I think about myself five years ago. Oh man, I was a different person then. You guys wouldn’t recognize me! I’d barely been out of the country and I was way too caught up in my own insecurities and personal dramas to think beyond the semester, let alone configure a life plan. There are a lot of things I’d like to go back and change about being 20.
So, will I feel the same way at 30 looking back on 25? Will I seem foolish and idealistic? Perhaps, but I don’t think so. I don’t know what my life will look like then, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to change so drastically that I regret what’s happening now. I’m not racking up loads of debt, and I’m not slamming doors. I’ve observed enough lately to know that there are grounds here for a career and/or lifestyle. And even if my life goes in an entirely different direction than expected, I’m confident that my thoughts and beliefs now are going to guide me, not spite me.
So no I don’t have it all figured out, but anyone who says they do is lying.
The thing that I should have reminded my friend is that there is no panel of judges you have to face at thirty to have the merits of your existence evaluated. You don’t need anybody’s rubber stamp of approval to go on living. In the end the only person you have to justify your actions to is yourself.
The only things I can justify doing at this point in life are the ones that make me happy. They are what makes sense to me and I’m pretty sure that in the end, I can live with that.