Why I Prefer To Be Rich in Experiences
Before I graduated from university, I envisioned my post-grad life to be somewhat of the following: successful career in PR, apartment in the city, happy hours with my girlfriends, etc. After I studied abroad, as cliché as “I found myself in Europe” may be, I did absolutely discover that travel was going to be a priority in my life and the aforementioned vision of what I though being a young adult entailed was getting blurred.
As graduation neared and it came time to start looking for a job, I couldn’t help but question if I really ‘had to’ jump right into my career. Thankfully, the bad economy was on my side, and try as I might (though half-heartedly) I wasn’t met with any offers. Instead of being disappointed, I saw it as an amazing opportunity to ditch the path laid before me by so many others and create my very own.
Most of my fellow middle-class Americans are set on the road to success: go to college, graduate, find a ‘real’ job, marry, have kids…rinse, repeat. This is a perfectly respectable path, handed down from the hard-working generations before us. It’s a path many of my countrymen before me have taken; and most when met with old age, can reflect on life and be thankful for taking this secure route.
But for me, there was something crucial missing in this cookie-cutter plan. I realized it’s easy to get sucked into a life of climbing corporate ladders and before you know it, you’ve worked your life away and aren’t free to explore the world until you’re 65. It both broke my heart and made me utterly happy to see old couples hand-in-hand amongst the ruins of the Acropolis, or the majestic Alhambra.
It broke my heart because I could only imagine how hard it must be to get around and spend a day on your feet sightseeing when you’re old, but it made me happy that they were out there anyway, enjoying their retirement that they’ve worked so hard for.
It made me realize that while the rest of the world works to live, my hard-working fellow Americans live to work, and that I never want to live like that. I never wanted to wait until I’m old to start seeing the world. So whether you have 2 weeks of vacation a year, or 3 months, use it wisely. Make travel a priority.
And though my post-grad life looks nothing like I imagined it would, I’m doing what I love and I’m seeing the world while I’m still young. It’s not because I’m lucky, or rich. It’s because I prefer to be rich in experiences and made it a priority to do so. It’s because learning a new language and experiencing a different culture was something I wanted to do, so I found a way to do it.
It wasn’t easy to get here though. It took a lot of self-doubt and “what the heck am I doing?!” to get where I am and realize I’m exactly where I need to be. For right now.
I’ll leave you with this: “The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.”- Anonymous So, what are you waiting for?