Our late teens and early 20s force us to make an incredible amount of important decisions, probably more so than any other stage of life.
During this time, we learn to become independent of our families. We decide our career paths and find ways to follow those paths. We gain work experience and climb our way up the “ladder of success.” We make selections about our partners. We decide what type of lifestyle we want to live. Essentially, at this age, we decide who we are going to be for the rest of our lives.
Having to make all of these decisions can be extremely stressful, especially for those who are unsure what they want out of life. The funny thing about it is, most of our lives will turn out much different than how we originally planned them, so there is no reason to stress in the first place.
I want to encourage you to occasionally stop the planning and studying and stressing.
Recently while working on a journalistic project, I spoke to a stranger who said, “If you can’t do what you enjoy in life, what’s the point of living?”
Most people have to spend the majority of their time and the majority of their lives working in order to survive. An overwhelming number of people spend a ridiculous amount of time and effort trying to move up in jobs they hate, or working to make money that they will never have the time to enjoy.
When sticking to your script is your top priority, life becomes an endless circle of monotony.
Obviously, life cannot always be enjoyable. I have come to realize that, in order to do the things you want to do, you will always have to do things you don’t want to do. For example, I am currently studying abroad for the second time in London, a city which excites and inspires me daily. Coming back to London was something I really wanted to do. But in order to get here, I had to work three jobs and save virtually all my money in addition to spending an entire semester filling out forms and contacting different people daily
Experiencing things you will never forget is worth sacrificing what you won’t remember. The first time I came home from a semester in London, I had absolutely no money. I worked every day for two months before I had any money to spend on myself. Although those two months were tough, when I look back at my first experience studying in London, I hardly even remember that rough financial time. Instead, I think about all the amazing things I did and saw while in London.
Although I did have to work very hard to recuperate, my struggle ended quickly and was well worth what I gained in return.
Even things that may seem like a massive problem now won’t be important in years to come. When I get really upset about failing a test or running out of money, I ask myself “am I going to remember this moment 10 years from now?” Of course not! But I ask myself the same question when I start to pursue my passions, and the answer is “absolutely, yes!”
Often times, especially at this young age when we have so many choices to make, we get so caught up in planning our lives that we actually forget to live them.
The truth is, you can start doing what you want in life now. You don’t have to wait until you have a degree and a career to start doing the things you love.
You will have to make sacrifices and take risks in order to live an exciting life. But 10 years from now, or even 50 years from now, you want to be able to look back and be proud of the risks you took to make your life worth living.