Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Hmmmm responsibility

I read this post of Che Tibby's the other day, plus the article he referenced, and it got me thinking.

I wonder what it is like to opt out of the career and success track, and to do your own thing?

Some people would say that I have opted out, albeit in a more modest way: I quit law school, and have never made an effort to get a fancy corporate job like many of my peers.

But in other ways I've opted in to early grownup-ness: focusing on achieving my goals and setting myself up for the most pleasant time possible both in the present and the future.

At any rate, my main goal for the past 5 or so years was (and still is) happiness. Hard to achieve but worth the effort.

Meanwhile, the people I went to school with, who all did the "sensible thing" (i.e. not quitting law school or similar because it bored them), are now running away from corporate jobs at high speed, and chasing happiness like it's only available for the next 5 minutes. It's like they forgot about being happy till just now, and they have to do whatever it takes to be happy immediately - like it's a one-time offer that expires.

With a mortgage and career (of sorts) at the tender age of 25, I certainly had (and continue to have) a different kind of responsibility than most of my friends. Do I like pretty new things and long, lazy lunches at nice cafes? Do I love international travel? Sure. (Do I want to let my parents pay for me once I've moved out of home? Not really.) Do I want to get us out of debt quick-smart by paying the mortgage off? Hell yes!

Although I am actually very happy with my lot, it certainly is different from how I envisaged my life progressing. I never intended to become mega-responsible!

You see, as a younger person, I fantasised of my important job and a lovely apartment in a large international city. I focused on how successful I would be and how I'd live in this great, exciting city.

Fast-forward to the present and just about all I got right was the apartment bit. I mean, my job is important in many senses (gets the job done, pays the bill etc.) but it certainly isn't the high-flying role I thought I'd want. And Auckland is a nice city and all, but exciting-international-city-of-my-fantasy it ain't.

Of course, I never fantasised about being in a fantastic relationship, or dreamed of getting married, either. Meeting The Trouser and realising I love and want to be with him above all other things has been quite a shock. Realising I'm looking forward to marrying him one day was an even bigger shock.

I am really, really curious about what it is like to be truly footloose and fancy-free in your 20s right now. I wonder if it is empowering, or if it's just a recipe for later unhappiness? So many people have regrets about how they spent their youth on both sides (irresponsibly or as far too much of a grown-up), I wonder if you can really ever get it right?

Each to their own, I guess.

3 Comments:

Blogger Violet said...

I really regret not having taken more advantage of my youth, free time and relative wealth in my 20's. But better late than never (except for the wealth bit, of which I now have none).

7:58 pm  
Blogger Nyx said...

For most people I think we go with the flow. For me personally, I didn't plan to be a mum at 22 and own a house at 23. I hadn't done the big OE thing yet and I wanted to figure out a career of sorts.

In the end, I'm really happy with the way my 20's ended up (I'm 30 now) although it is so far off what I had imagined for myself. Perhaps that is where true happiness lies, when we let the present control our lives and not the future.

How can you be happy when you are not living in the here and now but always planning ahead?

And won't you fall hard if that planning is flawed and it all goes horribly pear-shaped?

Regrets are part of experiencing life and mould us into who we are. If you only experience regrets after you have lived your life then you have missed out on a lot of living.

Good post, quite thought provoking.

12:56 pm  
Blogger The Skirt said...

(blush) thanks :-)

I am really, really glad to be living my life as I do for the most part, and the stuff I regret is largely unimportant in the larger scheme of things.

I think you're right about planning - you can only plan so much, because life has a way of being unpredictable!

10:02 am  

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