I turn 31 in a couple of weeks and a birthday is always a good time to take stock of one’s life (read my reflection on turning 30 here). So how are things going? I mean, really. Let’s be honest here.
Well, here are the facts. I haven’t bought a house. I don’t own a car. I don’t have the security of a real job. I travel constantly. I rent in a hip neighbourhood because eating avocado toast at cafés for breakfast makes me happy. I rarely go to bed before midnight on weeknights. The terms ‘mortgage insurance’, ‘variable interest rates’, ‘capital gains tax’ and ‘stamp duty’ don’t exist in my vocabulary (what do these things even mean?). I run away from lock-in contracts. Basically, I suck at this thing called adulting. So when am I going to give up this game and finally get my shit together? Aren’t I too old for this kind of lifestyle? Isn’t it about time I got serious?
The thing is, I actually DO have my shit together. It just doesn’t look the way we’re conditioned to think it should look. No, most people think that having their shit together looks something like owning property, getting a mortgage, acquiring possessions, popping out a few kids, climbing the corporate ladder, always aiming for a promotion to earn more, buy more stuff and borrow more money, looking forward to their one vacation per year since that’s all they can afford (due to said mortgage and debt) and it’s the only time off they can wrangle. Sound depressing? Well, this is the reality of what adult life looks like so you better get used to it. This is the way it goes. This is what ‘normal’ looks like. If you take a different road, you’ve gone off track, but you’ll come round soon enough. You’ll realise how wasteful and irresponsible your choices have been. But that’s all part of the maturing process. You’ll see in the end.
I’m calling bullshit on that. To me, this sounds and looks like a prison sentence.
So you know what? I do have my shit together. It just looks different. I stopped playing by the rules a while back and here’s how it turned out:
I’m not a slave to a company but I’m my own boss. I’m not drowning in mortgage repayments but have money in the bank instead. I don’t own a house but I can afford to rent in an inner-city, cool neighbourhood. I don’t own a car but I use public transport to get around most places. I don’t have to ask my boss to take time off work because I answer to no one. I don’t dread Monday mornings and I’m actually excited to get to my desk every day. I rarely buy new things because I’ve learnt that possessions tie you down and don’t make you any happier. I don’t travel once or twice a year, I travel almost every month (read about my 2016 in review). I’m not sacrificing my happiness now in the hope of one day enjoying my life in retirement because that seems like the actual opposite way we should be living.
Having my shit together to me means being abile to remain flexible, mobile, free, independent, honest and empowered. This is how I’m doing life. So I think I’m going alright in my early thirties after all.
Like this post and interested in reading more reflections? You might like to browse the Journal category or read:
- Why You Need to Re-think Your Definition of Success
- Why Your Crappy Job Might Be Exactly What You Need
- One Year On: 10 Things That Happen When You Quit the 9-5