When do you know it’s time for the next step? Many of us struggle with everyday decisions such as choosing which pair of leggings to wear or whether to pay extra to get guac on our Chipotle burritos or whether it’s worth the effort to shave in the morning, so obviously when it comes time to make life-changing decisions, we all shy away – too nervous to commit to something that would take more than five minutes of thought. The phrase “making a plan” can send you into serious panic mode. Taking the leap into the unknown abyss that is the future is terrifying. So which path do you take when you get to these crossroads in life? Here are 3 steps to get you moving in the right direction:
1. Don’t Play It Safe
You’re 22 and a fresh college graduate. You have a steady job, 401K, benefits, and paid time off. Your daily routine consists of waking up, drinking your morning coffee, commuting to work, sitting behind your desk for 8 hours straight, commuting back home, making dinner, and watching Netflix till you pass out only to repeat the entire day all over again tomorrow. You’re basically Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. You can’t even remember the events from the week before because they were so uneventful and as far as you can recall, are the same as they have been every week before that. When you play it safe, you make sacrifices and don’t even realize it. Many people wait to follow their passions until they’re older. They save money and spend it on things to remain stationary and comfortable. Why not find ways to follow your passions now, while you’re still young? Figure out what it is that you’re passionate about. If you don’t know, start traveling, do odd jobs, meet new people. You’ll eventually figure out what makes you excited to roll out of your warm bed every morning. Once you figure out your passion, ask yourself how much you’re willing to make a living off of. Sometimes your passion will not earn you much money. Or it will earn you just enough to survive. Every decision involves some form of sacrifice, but in the end, it’s worth it (Or at least that’s what my fortune cookie said).
2. Google is your friend
Research is one of the most important steps when making any decision. What is your passion, where do you want to be next, when do you want this plan to take action? A good place to start is looking at blogs and figuring out what other people with your same passion did to get where they are now. Another idea is to check out odd jobs being offered from around the world. What can make you money in the place you want to be? It doesn’t have to be the job you majored in. It could be working in a coffee stand in Bora Bora, or scooping poop at a local zoo in London, as long as you have enough to pay for the things you need in the destination you want to live in.
3. Just Go
Sometimes you don’t need a plan. Sell your things, buy a plane ticket, and enjoy a beer on the way there. You’ll figure it out. No decision is a mistake. So you get to your destination and things don’t work out the way you planned. Then just move on to the next step. There’s always going to be money to be made. There’s always new people to meet and make connections. You’re not a failure because the idea you had didn’t work out. You’re learning. You’re growing. You’re gaining experience. You’re becoming the person YOU want to be and not the person society told you to become. The options are more endless than the dessert menu at The Cheesecake Factory.
Ask yourself if you are making the “easy” or “safe” choice by remaining where you are. Also, ask yourself if you have become complacent by choosing to remain where you are. “Easy” and “safe” are such treacherous words, these words deceive people into believing they are making the “right” choice. We’ve lived our lives up until recently making “easy” and “safe” choices. You will always be told what you should be doing by those around you – coaches, professors, bosses, friends, family – the list goes on. Like us, you will most likely get to the point in your life when you feel miserable for not having the courage to pursue your passions. We still struggle daily trying to decide what exactly it is we want to do, but we do know that we will not find that out by settling for the “safe” or “easy” choice. We know one thing for sure, and that is we are going to travel as much and as often as we can for as long as we can. It is understandable that just the thought of sitting down and planning out huge life decisions can give you the sudden urge to vomit and wonder why you ever became an adult. Yet sitting stationary and remaining comfortable should honestly be more terrifying than following your passions and goals. Planning your life out is not easy and you WILL have night after night of sleeplessness attempting to contemplate what to do next.
After our Dude Ranch experience, Kami and I have a plan to move to Hawaii in January. We know it would be an amazing experience, and after bringing it up in casual conversation, we decided why not? What is stopping us? We have no commitments holding us back, we both have a passion for traveling, and we both have a strong craving to live near the ocean. So, you ask, why Hawaii, and we respond, why not? We’re going because we want to. It’s that simple. There’s no hidden agenda, there’s no jobs waiting for us in the Aloha State, there’s no apartment waiting for us to personalize, there’s just the fact that experiencing different places and cultures is what we love to do.
Take the leap.
And try to keep up.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Connected.”