Things I believed at 21 that I no longer do
“Working a 9-to-5 is for losers.”
If you come from a privileged background that set you up to do whatever you wanted in life and you still chose to spend your time in a drab windowless cubicle farm, I would have absolutely judged you.
If you had given anything less than 100 at your job, I would double down on my judgment.
This was the Move Fast and Break Things era, and I was hardly 21. I, among many, worshipped entrepreneurs and bowed down to the rise-and-grind culture.
These days? Not so much.
Holding down a 9-to-5 sounds liberating, especially if it’s not sucking the life out of your soul, making your brain cells atrophy, or giving you stress lines, white hairs, and sleepless nights.
Maybe you have a family that depends on you to stay housed and fed.
Maybe you grew up poor, and a predictable income gives you the sense of security you need.
Maybe you have loans to pay off.
Or maybe you find that it gives you a competitive advantage and the freedom to fail.
Plenty of people work jobs they tolerate to make ends meet. There’s something noble in that, especially with a greater purpose and some background context, like the immigrant dad or the single mom.
Regardless, finding meaning, fulfillment, and enrichment in life is subjective and personal.
Who are we to judge?
“Money doesn’t buy happiness.”
But it certainly helps, and of course, it does.
Money buys you time that you can use to rest. Use that rested energy to build up passive income, and have that hold you steady until you make your next move.
Money buys you hobbies like tennis lessons or painting classes to keep you active and social.
Money buys you tropical vacations, time with friends and family, grocery store hauls, skincare products, Netflix subscriptions, and wardrobe upgrades. Need I say more?
Money buys you things that can make you happy.
With the right mindset.
Of course, some people with plenty of money are still deeply miserable. Something about golden handcuffs. Still, if that’s the case for you, money isn’t what’s holding you back.
“Career switching in your 30s is a no-no.”
Having secured disposable income as young as my early 20s, I observed two colleagues who had made career pivots at 35 and 36, respectively.
They both took pay cuts.
As an outsider looking into their lives, career pivots looked daunting, disorienting, and as if they were lost, somehow.
I, for one, intended to be a subject matter expert by the time I turned 35 — someone to turn to for a specific niche or topic.
Yet, plenty of leaders pivoted well into their careers.
Vera Wang, ex-figure skater and ex-Vogue editor, turned fashion icon and designer at age 40.
Surely, skills and connections from their past set them up for success. Still, only life experience can reveal how much courage and conviction it takes for someone in their 30s to take a leap of faith.
In the end, we’re all on our separate journeys, and that’s something to respect.
“A jack of all trades is a master of none,
but oftentimes better than a master of one.”
Going after what you want always comes with certain risks. Make the most of your one life based on your values and priorities and what you can or can’t afford.
Photo by Olga Lioncat: https://www.pexels.com/photo/happy-woman-with-red-wine-on-balcony-fence-7291233/