It’s been a year since I started this blog, a year since I graduated from college, and a year since I got too scared to commit to a full-time job and decided to start traveling instead.
I was only 21 years old and made a decent amount of money from my online work and businesses that I started when I was 17, so I justified to myself that it would be okay. Still, the idea that all of my friends were entering the workforce with such promising careers ahead scared me and made me feel like I was falling behind.
Looking back, I’ve grown a lot, but I’ve also come to realize that growth is not a linear thing. People go through different timelines, where some people succeed early in some aspects, they might fall short in others. Meeting people of all ages from all across the world helped comfort me a lot. I’ve met people in their thirties who have just chosen to leave their jobs after realizing how much world there was left to see, and how limited our time was to see it. At 21, almost every traveler I met was older than I was, and you’d think that meant they’d have their lives more “figured out” than I did. It was comforting that even at 25 or 27 or 32, some people still weren’t sure what they wanted in life, but that they were still doing fine.
As an American, there is definitely an indoctrinated vision of what our future timelines should be like: go to school, get a job, work your way up the company ladder, looking forward only to those two or three weeks of vacation per year. Societal norms make it seem like that might be the only reasonable path, and anyone who strays from it is a no-good failure or dirty hippie.
I’ve met dozens of people who have done things that most people wouldn’t even know was a possible direction to take in life. From volunteering at elephant sanctuaries to becoming surf instructors in foreign countries or even just buying a house in the hills of rural Colombia, people have taken those norms and said “f*ck you” to its face in favor of what made them happy. What struck me the most was that most of these people were not special. They were just your average people who found their happiness and chose to pursue it.
Right now is the youngest you’ll ever be for the rest of your life. Take that how you will.