Don’t Listen to Generic Advice. Do What’s Right for You.

In my last post, I wrote about how I balance a demanding job with my lifestyle.  In this post, I’ll explain why I choose to do that, and encourage you to live life your way.

I’ve read countless articles encouraging people to quit their jobs and travel the world.  To not worry about bills or jobs…and let those things “work themselves out”.  I’ve seen that mentality work for many people.  However, there is no cookie-cutter answer, and this approach can be horribly wrong for many other people, myself included.

I could never drop everything to travel.  There is nothing wrong with doing so, but it just couldn’t work for me.  First of all, I have career ambitions.  Second, I need the mental challenges that come with a demanding job.  And third, my lifestyle simply wouldn’t be possible if I sacrificed my professional income.

First, I am an extremely ambitious person, with life goals that include both adventures and career achievements.  I can’t prioritize one of these over the other because they are both important to me.  If I dropped my professional career to have adventures, I would never meet my career goals.  Unfortunately, law isn’t one of those professions that you can just leave for a few years and come back to.

Second, I enjoy intellectual challenges.  I love that my job provides me with mental stimulation and I am constantly learning.  Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to be learned from experiencing the world…but this is a different kind of knowledge.  I’m not saying that it’s less valuable or less important, but it is different, and it would not satisfy me.

Third, while I definitely enjoy camping, have no problem taking an overnight bus in South America, and can totally bum it in a hostel for a few nights, I must admit that I enjoy the finer things in life.  I own a condo in a nice area, I drive a relatively nice car, and I have a bit of a Starbucks addiction.  I’ve also just never been one of those people who is good at budgeting.  I would much rather find a way to make additional money doing odd jobs and afford the lifestyle I want than to cut corners and not live the lifestyle I want.

All of these things mean I need to maintain my professional job.  It’s right for me, and that’s okay.  I will still continue to have adventures and explore the world when I can.  It may not be as often as it would be if I followed the now-popular advice to “drop everything and see the world while you’re young”, but it will still happen.

At the end of the day, you need to do what is right for you.  Mainstream advice that oversimplifies things may not be the right answer.  Think about your own life, your goals, and your priorities.  Then make your life decisions accordingly.


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