Graduating high school; going right into a University and graduating with your bachelors within 4 years’ time; maybe going on to graduate school and getting that degree; finding a nice man or woman to settle down with; finding a 9 to 5 job where you’ll be making money hand over fist; finally purchasing that new house/apartment/condo that you can make your own; getting married; having children; watching them grow up into the perfect adults and achieving everything you did. That’s the dream, right? That’s the American Dream. That’s the path I was taught that I need to follow.
But what if I don’t want to follow that path? What if I don’t want to do what society tells me I must do? Or follow the norm?
In fact, I don’t want to and technically I already f***** up that path anyway, so why not keep the trend going? I didn’t go to a big University right out of high school. I, instead, attended a community college because I had no idea what I wanted to major in (which for some wild reason, we’re all supposed to know our future during senior year of high school). After two years and an associates degree later, I went off to the University of Rhode Island where I thought I finally figured it out—my path.
Turns out, I hated my major, my school, and my roommates. I failed society once again by not having that ultimate “college experience.” So, after a year, I left. I enrolled at Stony Brook with a whole new major. After two and half years there, I finally graduated with a bachelor’s degree. Now if you were following any of that, you can do the math that it took me a year and a half more than the time slotted, according to the path.
Anyway, now I’m expected to find a nice, cozy 9 to 5 where I’ll be expected to waste my days away. Can you guess what I did instead? Nothing. That’s right, nothing. It’s been four months since I graduated, and I haven’t looked into a single job possibility. And do you want to know why? It’s because I have no freaking idea what kind of career I would like. None. Squat. And you see, that’s a problem because, according to the path and everyone around me, I should know by now. I should have a plan.
What a lot of people don’t actually know is that I do have a plan. A plan that doesn’t involve keeping my butt planted in a chair for 8 hours, 5 days a week. What a lot of people don’t know is that I’m earning money through my part-time job and saving. I’m not pissing it away on material items that society is telling me that I need to have, like the newest iPhone, or iWatches, or things that are simply unnecessary that the world tells us are.
The one item I am saving for and am determined to purchase is a van; a steel box on wheels. My dream is to renovate it into my own personal living space, complete with a bed, solar panels, a kitchenette, and plenty of storage. When it’s completed, I’m going to get in it and drive away. Simple as that because that’s how I believe life should be—simple. I want to enjoy what is surrounding me that most of us neglect to even think about or notice. I can spend eight hours a day looking into a computer screen and learn a lot, but at the same time, I’ll be learning nothing that will be worth my time. I want to learn about the land I use every day. I want to see it’s beauty and experience life outside of my comfort zone. And that is exactly what I’m going to do no matter how long it takes me to get there.
I realize there’s something very unconventional about my dream; about the way I want to live my life. I’ll be honest, it’s still taking me some time to adjust to the thought of living off and depleting my savings account while living on the road, but that is exactly the kind of thinking that I’m striving to dismiss, so if that’s what I have to do if I want to live on the road, then bye-bye savings account.
I understand this is going to sound crazy to a lot of people, but it’s not your life; it’s mine and this is how I want to spend it. I can ensure you that I’ll be much happier this way and that’s all that matters because I’ll be coming away with much more than what money can ever give me. I’ll be coming out with real-life experiences that I actually lived through, not seen or learned through a computer screen. I’ll be coming away with a new respect for our world (which we so desperately need right now). Most importantly though, I will learn so much about myself and I will grow as an individual. I will not lose sight of who I am and strive to be which I fear will happen if I stay put and follow the set path of full-time jobs and babies.
So, if you’re out there and you’re reading this and thinking about doing something “crazy,” do it!