After my last Facebook post inspiring people to take the road not taken, I was motivated to write a blog post on the things one should achieve before leaving this earth. It’s so important to live your life by your own standards rather than live a life based on what society thinks you should be doing.
The standard road to success is a daunting, boring, narrow formula that too many people choose to follow because they we are told to do so. It’s all they know. It’s what many of our parents and grandparents did, so we think it is the right way. This formula is practically engrained in us from day one.
We go to school, get a well-paying job, pay taxes, retire, and that’s basically it. That’s the road to success… apparently.
But what is the point of going to school for so many years to get a mediocre job that many people grow tired of, just to come home and pay some bills and have the same agenda from day to day? We live for the weekends but shouldn’t we be enjoying the rest of the week? Monday through Monday?
I don’t ever want to wake up and hate my job. It’s where I am going to be spending 90,000 hours of my life… so why should I get into a career I am not in love with, just to get by?
The ideal successful career path looks something like that of a doctor or a lawyer. Not to say these are not great jobs and the people that choose these career paths are not happy… but for me, these are not roads I am interested in going down. Sure, I would be making BANK, but I don’t think I would be happy going in to work everyday.
So then what? I make over six figures but I hate my job. I hate five out of seven days of the week. Then on the weekends, I spend that money on material goods to fill myself with temporary happiness, then it’s back to the same old boring grind for the next five days. And the cycle repeats itself for eight hours a day, five days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, for forty-five years. No thank you.
I want to be able to wake up every day, knowing I am getting a new experience and learning something new everyday. I want a career where I am able to be myself and expand the banks of my knowledge and share it with the world. I want to actually live my life before I die. Because otherwise, what is the point of living? What is the purpose behind working a job you don’t enjoy?
There is not just one road to success. Success is subjective and can only be defined on the basis of your own standards.
Although success to many Americans follows the same basic formula, if it doesn’t feel right for you and is not making you happy, don’t follow it. Be you, and live your life the way you want. What kind of life do you want to live so you can be on your deathbed and be happy with the way things turned out? Whatever came to mind, make it happen.
I don’t think any sensible person wants to be on the brink of death wishing they had experienced more. I know it sounds cliché, but you only live once. Don’t simply dream of the life you want, make it happen. Because you won’t get another chance to make those dreams a reality. And if your dreams don’t end up happening, at least you tried. By simply trying to make your dreams a reality, you are already a step ahead of those who end up miserable in their life choices. And chances are, if you have the right motivation, enough ambition, and good work ethic, you won’t fail.
When you don’t make an active effort to make your dreams a reality, you live in the shadows of those living the life you could only hope for… and trust me, you don’t want to be that person.
It’s just sad to think about how many kids grow up wanting to express their artistic side when their parents already have a roadmap set out for them. Many parents shun their kids for wanting to choose a career that steers away from the traditional path to “success”. To many people, the arts will not make someone successful. To many, art is simply a hobby.
… But why does it have to be? There is a possible road one can pave to integrate their artistic side with success. Success is not just measured in numbers. Success is also measured based on happiness. I could be making millions of dollars doing something I hate, but to the rest of society, I am successful. I am successful because I have a ton of money and can spend it on whatever I want. I never have to worry about being financially stable. Never have to worry about having food on the table, clothes on my back, bills being paid, and having the latest and greatest of everything… but on the inside, I could be burning alive in misery. Money does not buy anything except temporary happiness. It is life experiences that someone takes to their deathbed.
No one reminisces on the hallmarks of their life thinking, “Man, I am really glad I bought that 70 inch HD-TV.” They remember the people who have had positive influences on their life. They remember the trips they took, the achievements they made and the experiences they had.
With that said, it is absolutely possible to live the life you want and still make a lot of money. The point is, don’t build your resume to make money. Build your life and the money will come with it. Live the life you want and instead of being focused on how you appear on paper, make a strong effort to actually live your life in a meaningful way. If you merely focus on the aesthetics of what other people see, you will end up miserable. Your resume does not define you. Your experiences and what you take from them do. If you want to make art your career, DO IT! Like I said, build your life, not your resume. If you practice enough, talk to the right people, and keep honing the skills of your craft, you can ABSOLUTELY make BANK doing what you love. And that goes for anything, not just for art. The opposite can be true as well. If your parents want you to choose a career path in the arts, but you want to be an accountant instead, DO THAT. Do not, by any means, live a life according to what people tell you is right.
On that note, I chose a career path of Journalism because it encompasses everything I love in one job. I love writing, meeting new people, learning new things, travelling to new places, informing the public of the latest and greatest, and experiencing what the world has to offer… the world is my oyster! I feel this is the perfect path for me because through my journalistic career, I will be able to do many things on my bucket list. The media decides what is news, what is entertainment. If I am a journalist, I can help decide what to report on. I can be a travelling journalist and report on my findings and experiences. I can anchor for the news and get that on-camera spotlight I’ve wanted since I was a little girl. I can interview anyone I want, people from all walks of life, and learn something new about them and their paths. I can try the latest and greatest activity and report to people within the community about that experience.
I can do whatever I want…within reason of course.
For everyone else that has a difficult time trying to figure out what you want to do, you do not have to choose a career that already exists. Many of the most “successful” people create their own jobs based on what their interests are. If that’s what you need to do, GO FOR IT. Make it happen, because chances are, you are not the only one that wishes a job category like that existed. You could be the next entrepreneur and owner of the next greatest thing. You just have to put your mind to it.
So don’t be discouraged if you haven’t yet found your niche. Go out and experience the world and you WILL find something that interest you…Something that you could do for the rest of your life and never get bored. Find something that will make you never want to retire.
Experience the world you live in before you die. Otherwise, you will never know what you missed.