"Perhaps some of us are meant to move around every few years, change jobs and live many different micro lives."
For those of you who know me personally, you know that I LOVE to dream about the future. If you've read this post, you even know that "futuristic" is one of my strengths according to StrengthsQuest. I am so energized by dreaming about the future. I always have been.
Also if you know me personally, you know that my family and I love the TV show "FRIENDS." Although I've seen every epsiode and grew up with the show (it came out the year I was born), and I fall asleep to it every night on Nick at Nite, I have been taking advantage of its migration to Netflix. (Disclaimer: I'm not prioritizing Netflix over blogging, so don't get mad at me! I rarely watch Netflix -- I don't have time for it. Promise!). When watching it the other day from the detox bath (aaaah, so relaxing), I had a thought that I've never had before, even in all the times that I've watched the show.
My entire life, I've never watched FRIENDS and been able to say, "I'm about their age." But, here I am. A twenty-something not far from the real world. I'm watching what will be the next stage in my life. Rachel leaves Barry at the alter and decides to reinvent herself in New York and live with Monica. Monica has her culinary career. Everybody in the show starts out pretty much single, considering Ross was just left by his wife and Chandler continues to break up with Janice. They're single, young people working to live on their own and living in apartments with roommates. This is when a few things came to mind.
1. Relationships. The show ran for 10 years. Although Monica and Chandler get married, Phoebe and Mike get married, Ross gets married several times (...and divorced several times...), and Rachel gets married only to end up in an annulment (face it, this just does not count), much of the show depicts their single lives, and they aren't getting married young. Everyone in my family has gotten married young, and everyone I'm surrounded by here at my ring-by-spring university is getting married young. I would never insult that or frown upon that. That is a personal decision and no one else's business. But for me personally, watching the early seasons of the show, I was realizing: I don't want to get married right when I get out of this stage in my life. I don't even know if I want to get married at all! Watching the characters with the mindset of "they're about my age" put it in perspective: when you get married, that single life, apartment with roommates, run around the city and do whatever you want stage of life is OVER. Over forever. Some people skip over it entirely! (Which, I repeat, is fine). For me, I'm not ready for that. I don't want that. I want that stage. I want to be single and do whatever I want.
2. Jobs. Nobody really knows what Chandler does. Ross, well, even though his job/degree is prestigious, it's off-the-wall, but it's what he loves. Monica does what she loves. Joey does what he loves. Phoebe is just running around living the life. And Rachel works to reinvent herself by going from waitressing to her fashion career. One thing that they mostly have in common is that they love their jobs. Someone once told me, "real people hate their jobs." If this is true, then I just don't want to be a "real person." I want to make enough money to independently support myself, but I want to do this by having a job that I enjoy. I am so looking forward to being a young professional. I love to work.
Those who know me also know that I love to travel (check out my new travel blog here). I was a smart kid growing up in school. I learned how to read when I was two years old. I made pretty good grades. There was always so much pressure on me to go to school, make good grades, get a degree, get more degrees, and just do something amazing with them to roll in the big bucks. I plan on this -- I really do. But I want more out of life.
I want to travel. I want to take a gap year and see as much of the world as my savings account can afford. I want to live my bucket list instead of write it. I am almost finished with my degree, and I know it won't be the only degree I obtain in my life. I will eventually get a Masters degree. I will come back from traveling and make sure that I have enough money to get on my feet, land that job that I've always wanted that everyone has always wanted for me, and do the things I've planned on doing that I still want. But there are plenty of things I planned on doing that I don't want.
I don't want to get married young. I'm panicking because I suddenly don't know if I want to get married at all. I always thought, all my life, I would get married young, have a ton of babies right away, and just live this sweet little life with my sweet little family. To be honest, nothing sounds more terrifying to me right now than being entirely responsible for anyone other than myself, having someone nag on me all the time, needing to tell someone where I am and what I'm doing all the time, and giving up my independent lifestyle. That sounds terrible to me at this time in my life. I watch my friends who are in serious relationships, and while I am so happy for them, I wonder why they aren't afraid of all they're going to miss out on in life, and why it's my biggest fear. I hope to God I don't meet anyone worth marrying for the next 10 years. And I NEVER thought I would say that. EVER, in my wildest dreams. That is the opposite of what I have always wanted. Is something wrong with me?? Why is there so much pressure to get married?? What if I don't want that?? Essentially, I just really wouldn't mind being the Joey. I mean READ this. AHHHHHHHH!!!! A date night here and there and some flowers on my birthday isn't worth that list to me. I bought myself a steak this week and buy myself flowers regularly. Why would I want someone calling me, touching me, and bothering me??? Sounds miserable.
I have so much more soul-searching to do. Studying abroad with Global LEAD was just another factor that helped me to realize that I am capable of so much more than a conventional life. My degrees and my job opportunities and the search for a man will always be there for me. But right now, I would rather travel the world, read more books, make money doing things I enjoy, supporting myself and living on my own, enjoying my AGE and what this stage in my life has to offer me, all while learning more about myself, cultures, and perspectives.
I used to frown upon people like me. "That's not real life," I would say. "Grow up. Do something with yourself." Well...after thinking about it...after completing a degree, I don't see anything wrong with traveling the world during a gap year if I'm working during my travels, making money to support myself, and planning to continue my education and professional life upon my return -- while putting my love life on MAJOR hold. To me, this sounds like a pretty great life. To go back to the StrengthsQuest conversation...Maximizer is another one of my strengths. I like that one :)
Here's a quote that pertains to what I'm talking about:
Here's a good Ted Talk I watched tonight. While my experience doesn't really relate to hers (I am planning on doing a gap year after college, not after high school...and to be honest, I'm not totally sure that I agree that post-high school is the best time), her mindset is exactly what I am trying to say. I just wasn't meant to live a conventional life. Even being the Conservative that I am, and having traditional views on more things that I'm making it seem, this stage in my life is the last one that I can have to be independent and unpredictable. I'm not settling down anytime soon. I appreciate this girl's worldview and understanding of real-world hands-on applications and growth experiences. She is way ahead of the game. We need more young people to think this way.
“...a generation of young people who are really good at following directions and really bad at thinking for themselves."
- I'm excited for the next stage of my life as a single young professional. Think FRIENDS. I'm not willing to miss out on this stage of my life just so that I can uphold more of a societal norm (getting married, moving right into a mundane career, etc.)
- I'm excited to pursue a gap year, and I'm hopeful that eventually, more people will view a gap year as a year "on" and not a year "off" like the title of this video.
- I'm using all of these experiences to become the right person, not to find the right person.
AND WITH THAT... I leave you with my first blog post on my personal blog in MONTHS! I hope you enjoyed it!!! Please keep up with my travel blog if you miss my regular postings!!! I leave on Wednesday :)