Opting Out Isn’t Just for Your Subscription Preferences. It’s For People’s Expectations of You, Too.
We can get so stuck on the rules–what’s expected of us and the way things are “meant to be”–that we often end up taking the hard way around just because we don’t realize the unsaid third option. And there is a third option: it’s called listening to your gut and integrity meter.
Questioning expectations is hard because it’s so easy to do things because we’ve been conditioned to think we should do them. But it can put artificial limitations on your path. Picking which rules you can leave behind is hard. Are there places where it would be wise to look for a third decision? Or is there something you want to do but don’t know how to?
Have an adventure. Go travel. Buy stuff you want. Quit your job. And find a plan to put success in your hands.
Getting to travel is on the top of the list for a lot of people, but often might feel like they don’t have the funds or are stuck where they are. Unless you have tiny humans to love and take care of and actually can’t steal away even for a couple days, then you—yes, you–can go travel.
Whether you want to go work abroad as a nanny or at a resort (great option for broke ladies), money doesn’t have to limit your wild escape into the world. If you have a mountain of student loan debt that you feel like running away from, you can always consolidate and pay while working abroad. When your housing and food are taken care of, it is a little less stressful to slip money to your loans.
If you aren’t down to work abroad, but are still broke, living at your parents, and want to travel, then going for small domestic excursions can give you tiny tastes of travel to keep the adventure bug satiated (before you jump off into the wind hoping it’ll take you everywhere!). There are a million places to visit around America: a summer weekend in New Orleans, a road trip to the Grand Canyon, or you can go see the million amazing things in every state. Again, unless you are stuck at home with some adorable babies, there’s not a reason you can’t travel.
Do you hate your job?
You don’t have to.
Looking around for a new job could be perfect, or you could put more time into your side hustle to make it a little more profitable for you. That might mean a little more marketing (authentically guest post on some sites, ladies!) or improving the way your infrastructure works: buy in bulk, improve your cashflow, put your company on more platforms. If you hate your job, if it makes you want to pull out your hair, and if it leaves you drained at the end of the day, consider switching jobs. Just start entertaining the idea. There’s no reason not to. You might be better suited and happier doing other things or just being with other people.
Buy Something Unnecessary
You can buy something completely unnecessary if you want.
It’s really dumb, and you totally shouldn’t do it (according to whom? Society. Pscht!). If you really want it, buying something unnecessary is fine. You’re not going to die. It’s the habits that make us, not the one-timers.
If you want to buy something that seems frivolous, but also don’t want to die like an Irish peasant during the potato famine, the consider finding a reason or use for the nonsense you want to purchase. For example, if your city has a kickin’ public transportation system that you use everyday, but you want a car because they are pretty cool, calculating your time-cost saved can help you justify the costs. Just fifteen minutes each way, on the average American wage ($25 an hour) would cost you $12.50 of your own time. For four weeks of 5 day-work-weeks, that’s $250 of your own time wasted on slow transportation, or over 5 years of $250 a month, $5,000 of your own time wasted. That’s a lot of money to waste on inefficient transport, and that’s just getting to work. If you’re suffering from slow transport, it might be worth it to buy or lease yourself a car if you really want one. Just get one that suits your needs.
The same can be said for other unnecessary purchases. A two thousand dollar Fendi bag that you will wear everyday for 3 years (around $2.75 a wear) is a lot more cost effective for you than a fifty dollar bag that is only okay, that you’ll only wear for a month (and won’t get repaired when it breaks).
Don’t go blow your money all in one place, but if you want something nice, treating yourself could be worth it in the long run, especially if it will make you feel better.
There are many pathways to success and fulfillment.
→ College is great if you have scholarships, or know what you want to do, but it isn’t the only way anymore. There are alternative options (as much as your parents want you to go to school). You could start working (underwater welding and radiation technicians are careers that require less training than a degree, pay well, and can help you travel), traveling, selling poetry to internet rappers, hitchhiking across America, sailing across the Caribbean, starting your own rum company, getting way too into MMA, or joining a worthy cause. College is great. You should totally go to college if you have some clear goals. But if you have no immediate goal, why spend money without purpose?
→ Getting married is often an expectation your family will have for you. A good marriage is a wonderful experience. It’s a celebration of love and eternal commitment. It’s a way to celebrate that you have found the person you want to be with. But that’s because the RELATIONSHIP is good, not because they put rings on it. If you don’t want to get married, that’s also an awesome option.
→ Children aren’t right for every person. That’s cool. And it’s not something you have to choose right now.
There are so many things we feel like we have to do. Go to work, transport ourselves like this, wear that, save money, get married, have kids… But really, the world is full of adventure, and if you chose to go the other way–your way–it’s worth it. Your life is for you to live. If you want to do it the way you’re told, then go that way.
Ultimately, there are no expectations for your life that are more valuable than your own.