F*ck the Pressures of Living A Mainstream Life

From young, it was instilled in me to follow these steps to success;

  • Graduate
  • Find a stable job,
  • And work my ass off to make a living for me and my family.
Photo by Gary Chan on Unsplash

At the time, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with that plan – I still don’t actually. But 24 year old me – as an individual, hates every aspect of the EXPECTATIONS put on me to live that traditional lifestyle. Now more than ever, I constantly find myself asking whether I’ll be fulfilled.

Honest moment?

This past year, I’ve truly felt challenged in life by the amount of questions I find myself asking.

What’s the right move? Am I doing enough?

At my age now, I feel the pressure of having it all figured out and doing something that the world – especially my family would approve of. I’m often frustrated and angry because of these social constructs of how society and the world wants you to be. Instead, I find myself unlearning all of the limiting ideas of my family and society, and focusing on the things I love to do while embracing my own thoughts, beliefs, and ideas.

In the process, I’ve found myself conflicted about the value of higher education and the importance of needing a 9-5 job. Mainly because:

  1. Outside of careers such as engineering, law, dentistry, etc. that require the skills affiliated with specific degrees, I realized that getting a degree has nothing to do with my level of success. Knowledge is easily accessible, is it really necessary to learn only in a structured institution? 
  2. There’s also a big chance that you won’t get a job relevant to your degree, yet you’ll be in debt trying to pay off your loans for the rest of your life.
  3. Even worse – I can attest to this, working low paying jobs while working my ass off for companies/corporations that don’t give a shit about you and treat you like replaceable commodities.  

Settling is the art of taking the easy way out. Sure, it will work. But you will never know what was truly in store for you if you had the courage to do what was right in your heart.

The Better Man Project

Don’t get me wrong, I support higher education (if that is your choice), and fully understand why most people stay in a traditional work environment. I’m insecure about not knowing what comes next for me, not knowing how far I will actually get, and fear losing steady income that pays all of my bills and allows me to save. That shit scares the fuck out of me and enables me to complacent. 

The constant downside of it all is that I realize how unappreciated I am, how burnt out I often feel, and constantly fearing that I will be stuck there. I know I’m all over the place with this post, but this is literally how scattered my thoughts are. I wake up every morning frustrated and ready to say fuck it because I’m sick of living an unsatisfying life.

I hate feeling stuck, and not being able to pursue my passions because of feeling burnt out or being told that it’s not the right time or move, and working for people I don’t want to work for. I don’t want to live in a world where I’m just getting by… what kind of life is that?

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

SUCCESS IS SUBJECTIVE

What I realized is that I don’t want to JUST make money, I want to ENJOY the process. I want to connect, experience, and learn to trust my abilities and go for something different. And if I’m being honest with myself, school and a traditional job just doesn’t support my vision right now.

I want to work when I’m most energetic and motivated, not because I’m obligated and because my job demands it. I don’t want to be on anyone’s time, I want to be on my OWN time. 

Success is subjective, and the only definition of it that matters is your OWN. 

Although I am grateful for my job and the flexibility it gives me, and the skills/knowledge school has afforded me, I am unhappy. I am unhappy in my environment as well – mainly because I see so many people like me who are just as unfulfilled. Even more, their depressed and overly stressed.

Living in New York, I feel like work is an obsession; lacking in work-life balance. I understand the importance of money and welcome professional challenges and advancement, but it is not end all be allI’ve found myself prioritizing work over my mental health – constantly feeling overwhelmed to the point of breaking down. All for what?  

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Trevor Noah said we’re not all designed to live the same way. We all have different personalities, passions, and dreams we want to pursue. The one thing I’m trying to get past is doing it – even when it’s not encouraged.

At my age, I CAN do it; I don’t have anything holding me here. This is my time to be selfish and enjoy life – travel, work in between jobs to finance trips, move to a new city, work while experiencing different cultures and people, or build community. Who the fuck knows! I just want to live my life according to my OWN rules. 

Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash

With all that being said, it’s time to put all of these thoughts into action and take the chance. Plan, embrace the fear, and go down an untraditional route. Learn to discipline myself (which is a challenge in itself), and do it like my life depends on it. 

Like many, I made the mistake of valuing other people’s opinions over my own happiness. But they’re not the one’s living my life – so their opinions should never be the determining factor. So I am committing myself to planning and putting all of my time in things that fulfill me. 

Fuck all the other shit.

Drops mic. (haha)