We were out to dinner with some friends, and we started talking about work. We hadn’t seen each other in a while, and were catching up. We touched on the subject of jobs, and one of our friends was very open with us. He said that even though it isn’t what he wants, it pays his bills, and that there is no shame in that. He proceeded to say how our generation struggles with that truth. “Struggles” might be an understatement.
We belong to a generation that has enjoyed wealth, peace, freedom, options, and technology like no other. Our world is a result of the battles our (great) grandparents fought and the hard work of them and our parents. For the most part, it has been served to us on a platter. This isn’t stated in ignorance of those who aren’t privileged, but the point is that opportunities are more easily available today than in the past.
Arts, sports, and science thrive in the 21st century. It can be a lucrative job to be a musician, or be a scientist working on a cure. Athletes are worth billions. There is no need to survive in a world where you don’t fight for your life. On the other hand, you can focus on thriving. If you don’t need to survive, you will focus on what you want to do.
Many in this upcoming generation genuinely struggle with what they are going to do for the rest of their lives. The desire is to do something one “loves” above all, many times putting that above being able to afford a decent living. To be honest, it is very demanding to present to a very young adult (or old child) options upon options and expect him or her to make a good decision without any experience or insight into what the results will be and how much it requires to get there.
Let me be sadly realistic: the amount of people who would do their job for free because they love it so much is very small. I would dare say that the number is essentially null. Most of us work because we need the money. We prefer a life of comfort over enduring hardship, so we work. To continue on my realistic streak, that is not a bad thing.
Yes, it is not ideal. You would want to enjoy what you are going to do for the next forty years. I agree! But what happens if you don’t know what that is? Will you work a minimum-wage job until you get a revelation? What will you do to find your muse that will guide you to the truth? If you want a simple answer from me, it will be to learn a skill and go to work.
Find something that can give you a decent living with benefits and do it until you find the next best thing. Because here is another truth: we are only young for a period of time, and we will have needs tomorrow for which our careless un-aged self has to prepare. A serving job might help pay the bills today, but are you going to want to be on your feet all day ten, fifteen years from now, without any retirement or health insurance? Your forty-year old self will probably say a hundred times no.
I totally identify with our friend because I am not a very passionate person. I am naturally very dry, and have been this way since I was a child. You can ask my family about it, and they will sigh and say yes. I don’t like frills and prefer efficiency. I don’t like rudeness and aim for kindness. I am still learning how to be practical in a balanced way, where I am not short and also not stretching myself too much.
Now I have noticed, after chatting about the same thing over and over again for years with family, friends, and even strangers, that the things that I love take over my life. There are only a few topics that fall into this category, and learning to be better is one of them. I tend to gravitate towards growth a lot. This helps me continue to learn about new things and prepare me for whatever my next step might be. I want to be open and prepared for whatever possibilities come my way. For this reason, I created this blog with the mentality that if I invest in it, it can lead me to places I never could have imagined.
Thinking through the topics that you selflessly seek the most can be a way to identify your true desires in life. Another way is trying new things. The friend I mentioned above has a two passions that he continues to pursue through networking and serving friends. He found these through his work and by seeking new hobbies. The below video addresses this and helped me reconcile my situation with my desires. I recommend that you watch it and let yourself relax in your current space.
Please, keep on dreaming and dream big! Your passions can make this world be better! Yet also be responsible to yourself and make sure that you can provide for you and your own to live a comfortable life. Don’t cut your wings in order to pay for a fancy life, but take a look at the scenery and have courage. If you don’t know your destination, pick the next stop that will allow you to keep searching. The unique mix of your abilities will open up doors.