Sometimes I feel like I am surrounded by brilliant 20-something year old women. Tough life, right? Honestly, yes.
Let me explain. Thanks to the internet, I have found people who inspire the hell out of me. People like Kyle, who takes gorgeous pictures and has made herself a successful business mostly out of sheer self-confidence and hard work. Andi, who has been all over the place to pretty much everywhere I want to go and is a hot shot acupuncturist on top of that. Jenny has a template for whatever you might need in life and is getting her book published, Ashley’s just come out with her e-book and is living the location independent blogger dream (currently in Santiago, which means I’m meeting her mañana)…the list goes on.
All this, of course, is great for my social life. I get to hang out, both virtually and in real life, with some really really cool people who make me laugh AND make me think. This is my idea of a good time.
It’s not always, however, great for my crazy mind. See, these ladies along with plenty of other bloggers out there have this thing about finding and following their passions. This is of course great. It’s ideal, in fact. But it makes me crazy because I do not even know what my passion IS. If I did, I could follow it. My issue isn’t fear of the unknown or lack of funds or aversion to hard work. I just really do not know quite yet what it is I’d like to be when I grow up.
This has caused me periods of stress over this past year. Moments when I felt like I was headed right smack dab into my very own quarter-life crisis. E-mails to friends wondering whether my life, which I happen to like quite a bit, was really any good at all if I didn’t spring out of bed each and every morning ready to conquer the world in the field of my choosing (ask Kyle, she received most of them and for that deserves sainthood). Gen-Y bloggers are all out there planning round the world trips and starting online businesses and encouraging others to do the same, and it’s great but also somewhat maddening for someone like me who wants to play along but doesn’t know yet what her game of choice is.
But then I stopped for a second. And I remembered something: I like my life as it is. Like, a lot. I realized that a lot of people out there hate their jobs. They feel stuck, trapped by a perceived need for security and traditional success. Those people might need to take the advice being doled out all over the internet. The people who’ve already made the decision that it’s time for a big change and want a little guidance or support on how to do it probably need to take action based on the same posts. But that doesn’t mean that I do, at least not right now. There is no shame in contentment, even if every blog I’m reading is challenging me to think about what I really want rather than what I have.
I like my corporate 9-5 (who’re we kidding, 9-6). Does it make me feel over the moon passionate? No. But I am interested in what I do, I learn new things all the time, I enjoy the people I work with, I feel valuable, I think that what I do now will help me either directly or indirectly in the future…and honestly, that’s enough for me right now. That’s a lot, it turns out, compared to plenty of people out there. And really, forget comparison, because the whole point here is that this is about me. If it’s good enough for me, that’s all that matters.
I like being a homeowner. I like my stuff, unfashionable as that may be to say. I haven’t filled my place with crap, and the things I do own bring me joy. I like being tied down by a husband and a dog because they give me so very much happiness in return. So if I like pretty much everything I’ve got going on, maybe I need to chill out and stop letting other peoples’ successes make me worry that mine aren’t enough.
I will be the first to say that the one area in which I get particularly stressed over all this is travel. I would like to do more of it. Being an expat means that I have to use vacation time to go home to see friends and family, leaving me with precious few days to explore new places. But the idea of a round-the-world trip has never particularly appealed because I know I’d get sick of life on the road and long for home. And while sure, if I started my own location independent business I could travel more, I’m pretty lucky with the job I do have. In 2010, I went to Coyhaique, Aruba, California and Sao Paulo. In 2011, we already have tickets purchased for Punta Arenas/Torres del Paine, California and Hawaii, firm plans to head to Buenos Aires in May and a commitment to my dad to make it to England before the year is over. On top of that I think it’s realistic to say we’ll have at least one further South American trip plus a stop-over somewhere in Europe. Not bad for a corporate drone.
So while yes, I still envy these people who’ve found their passions, those who are seeing the world right this second and plenty of others who’re doing equally inventive things, there’s no reason to let it drive me crazy. I’m doing what I want. I’m happy. Just because I’m not sure yet if what’s making me happy at 25 is going to make me happy for the rest of my life is no reason to throw that happiness away in favor of wallowing in some invented despair.
With that said, here’s to 2011. The year of more travel, enjoying my conformist lifestyle and, hopefully, soaking up the awesomeness of all those inspirational people out there without letting that quarter-life crisis rear its ugly head again.