Do What You love
It’s travesty, isn’t it— …not just yet. or at all, even. We make a case for sitting still, even for a little bit.
telling a millennial maybe she shouldn’t consider putting her parentcultivated, Internet-honed, and peer-pressured Ambition to good use. Almost a crime, really, when all 18-to-30-somethings have been conditioned to make “Carpe Diem” their mantra, YOLO their driving force, FOMO their deepest fear. Yes, I know how hard it is to scroll through your Instagram feed full of friends moving to NY, or taking their dream fashion design course, or selling cupcakes full time, sandwiched between flatlays and typography urging you to Live With Passion and Find Your Purpose. It’s like a bad cocktail of inspiration and insecurity burning through your gut.
So you dredge up a dream, and make its fulfillment your life’s purpose. You pressure yourself to make your passion a profitable enterprise. You live in a series of stops and starts, Trying Something New, then, inevitably, Try Something Completely Different. We all firmly believe we are special snowflakes trying very hard to find our place in the sun, melting away in the process, burned out by Living Your Dream Life while Being Extraordinary.
But what’s so wrong about being ordinary? What’s so inherently bad about your 9-to-5, which you fall in and out of love with, that pays your bills and funds your lemming for trendy makeup? I’m not saying stay in a job that treats you like crap—there just may be overlooked merits in staying in professional purgatory a little while longer, cutting your teeth doing things you never thought you’d have to do. You might find that the very things you like least about your job are slowly buffing away your sense of entitlement, honing your good work ethic and grit.
Yes, grit—something you only learn when you look down and realize you’re neck-deep in muck, and— here’s the important part— being okay with it, because you know it’s only for now.
I totally sound like a bitter, dreamless downer. Maybe I am, when you judge my life—at 26, I’ve worked the same job since graduation (gasp!) and recently married my best friend, and with a little girl on the way (double gasp!). It seems I’ve settled down when everyone my age is on the way up. But I don’t delve too much into What
But What’s so Wrong about Being ordinary?
FEBRUARY 2016 My Life Should BE—I focus instead on What My Life Is, Right Now.
And you know what that’s taught me? That it’s not so much ‘settling down’ as it is ‘buckling down’—there’s something about getting off the same elevator onto the same office floor for five years that teaches you patience and a sense of seeing things through, skills you realize you will sorely need when you’re off pursuing a passion. That there’s nothing quite like permanent life decisions (like, um, a human child) that forces you to be creative, resourceful, and discerning with the goals you do have (see, I am not a bitter, dream-less robot)—again, a realization integral to the success of your life’s dreams, because face it, some of them might just be a passing fancy. (FYI, mine include becoming a pastry chef and learning to play the violin. Whether they are passing fancies remain to be seen).
I’m not telling you to live an unexciting, or worse, unexamined life. But I do believe in not letting your existential angst dictate your decisions and lead you into rushing yourself to change every little thing you find wrong with it. There is merit in waiting a few years before getting that Mba—because your priority of earning and learning how to save money now is just as important and character-forming. There is value in respecting your parents’ wishes that you work in the family biz for a while—what you learn there will prove handy when you get to do your own thing. Yes, even that dead-end job or horrible boss will teach you something you might not learn had you become a superstar right out of college. If you can find what’s good about where you are right now, you can be damn sure you’ll always be grateful for what you will eventually achieve. Because you know you’ll get there, right? But it’s only when you’re okay with not being there yet that you actually get that much closer.