Our society has a very interesting paradigm when it comes to “investing” in ourselves. We encourage our high school grads, ages 17-19 to take out massive amounts of debt to go to college right away, at an age where they aren’t even sure of who they are yet, what they want, or where they want life to take them. Yet they are supposed to declare what they will be doing for the rest of their life, and then spend 4-8+ years studying that thing?! To which they may and or may not ever even do that “thing” that they thought they might like to do?
I hear stories all the time of people going all the way through Law School and or Medical School only to find out that once they start DOING that thing that they’ve been studying for 7 to 8+ years, that it wasn’t what they thought it would be and they are left stuck with no idea of what they want to do next. For some, they just stay in it because of all of the time and money already spent and invested in that thing, so they figure “why bother” and then spend the rest of their existence doing something that they don’t even like doing. Imagine all of that TIME and MONEY that they invested, and for what? To find out that they didn’t like that “thing”.
Yet when I first decided to finally quit a job that I spent 40+ hours a week at – that was no longer feeding my soul, and was withering it away slowly but surely every single moment of every single day, since I had found the thing that I felt called to do, the thing that makes me feel more ALIVE, fulfilled, and overwhelmed with a sense of purpose – I was met with SO much societal resistance. The thought of investing my “hard earned savings” to take a “risk” – a leap of faith, and explore this thing that I had uncovered, that I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt was THE thing that I was put here to do, and that the time to do it was NOW – was so incredibly foreign according to some kind of agreed upon universal societal standard that people couldn’t even begin to wrap their head around understanding what could possibly be going through my wild and crazy imaginative head.
I had already dipped my toe in, had explored it, had made sure that it was THE thing for me, and yet so many people were absolutely appalled at my decision and or completely worried sick for me (even my own parents), and baffled that I would give up an incredibly lucrative position with an overwhelming abundance of perks and benefits, a position of certainty, and a future that was secure and comfortable for the next 30+ years. Never mind that it was killing me slowly to not be doing the thing that I felt called to do. Never mind that I had saved enough money to get me through the launch of a business and carry me through the time it would take to build my empire. Never mind that I was completely comfortable with MY decision, and that the same uncertainties about the future that everyone else seemed to perceive as “risky” I perceived as an “Epic Adventure” leaving me feeling invigorated, electric, and ALIVE.
The way I look at it, I was investing my money and enrolling in the University of Me. The University of Me, at a time in my life where I knew exactly who I was, who I wanted to be, where I wanted to go, and what I wanted to do – To play, to travel, to learn, to grow, to explore, to experience all that life has to offer, to master my craft, to build an empire, to be free, to be happy, to be ALIVE, to LIVE my life every single day to the fullest, and to use my gifts to help others come alive.
And yet by some kind of societal standard, this was “insane”. This was “risky”. This was crazy. This was met with a ton of “you can’t be serious”, and “have you really thought about this”, and “why would you blow through your savings like this, this isn’t what savings are for…”, along with an arsenal of fear based objections that started with “but… what if…”.
And here is the thing. I am not saying not to go to school. So if you are already riding that hate train you can slow your roll. I am merely saying, who is anyone else to ever define how YOU spend YOUR money or your time and what YOU deem to be a solid investment? Who is anyone else to define for YOU what YOUR definition is of what your “savings” should be spent on? Do what YOU want. This is YOUR life last time I checked. If I had continued to live my life for everyone else, (which trust me I have spent a LOT of time doing that in this lifetime), I would have continued to stay at a job that no longer served me, which wouldn’t have been doing myself or my employer any favors. I would have continued to ignore my souls desire. I would have continued living a lie. Living a life that was empty and unfulfilling.
Most importantly it’s what I would NOT have been doing – THAT is what makes the biggest difference here. I would NOT have been living my life to the fullest every day. I would not have been doing the one thing that I was put here on this earth to do. I would not be filled with an overwhelming sense of purpose and fulfillment every single day. I would NOT be sharing my light with the world. It would be an injustice to myself and the world had I continued to live a live defined by other’s standards and expectations, instead of standing up and deciding to finally just be me. Unapologetically me.
I was watching a movie recently (one of those super sappy love movies that I LOVE to watch by myself and cry like a big baby and I’m always left feeling so much more open to loving full out at the conclusion of said move) and the main characters were both cancer patients with an indefinite time to live. It got me thinking… Why is it that our society encourages us to start living when we are running out of time?
Yet it is totally acceptable to spend 40+ hours a week doing something you don’t love? To use your minimalist paid time off to LIVE it up and experience life? Here in the US that could be condensed to 2 short weeks, possibly even scattered throughout the year with mere days and glimpses at a time of experiencing LIFE and feeling ALIVE?
We wait until we are forced to make time matter, to live it up, to experience life and all that it has to offer. Only then, when we are forced to, in the face of loss and impending death of our loved ones or ourselves, do we become fearless, fierce, and free. Free from the mundane worries and the BS fear tactics that keep us confined to living the same boring day over and over and over for all of our existence.
It’s like there is some kind of societal agreement of an openly and widely accepted life of living in a full-blown state of mediocrity. Being consumed by inconsequential BS. Allowing others to prioritize what is important to us, to determine how we define things in life, what we should do, what we shouldn’t do, what we can do, what we cant do, how we should spend our time, how we should spend our money, and the endless list of ways goes on and on…
To this – I say NO. No more. Not a second more of it. I’m done.
And so, I tell society to take your shoulds and cants and stick them where the sun doesn’t shine. I will be busy – Loving. Living. Experimenting. Trying. Failing. Making mistakes. Risking it all. Letting go. Breaking through barriers. Defying perceived limitations. Thriving. Feeling ALIVE!
In the words of Taylor Swift – “The haters gonna hate… Shake it off!” There will always be people who hate on what you are doing. No matter what it is that you do. As long as you are living a life concerned by what others think, you will never truly experience what it is to be ALIVE.
Just do YOU.
Would love to hear your thoughts and insights below! 🙂