(Originally posted on June 25, 2020)
When I was in grade school, the general idea as I understood it, was that we were to do well in school so that we could get into a good college, so that we could get a good job and make a lot of money and then it would be happily ever after. At the time, this all made perfect sense; even well into college it seemed like this path was the most efficient way to achieve happiness in life, and so I stayed the course.
Reflecting on this idea today after nearly a decade of real life experience since school, I’ve developed a fundamentally different view of the world. While appreciative of all the work experience I’ve accumulated thus far, I have found that we actually had it all wrong. In the ideal scenario in which my early years were leading up to, the end goal of early schooling and college was to find a good job in order to make a lot of money; however, I now realize that the goal shouldn’t have been money, but rather freedom.
Why do you go to work everyday? I’ve asked this question many times towards the end of long drunken nights on the town and almost universally, the response that I’m given is something along the lines of, “to make money,” or “to pay rent,” or “because I have to, we all do. It’s a part of life.” I was initially amazed at how many times I received some variation of this answer, but now I think that this is just how the average person views the subject.
“There are some things that we must do that are unpleasant, but that’s life.”
Well, I call bullshit on that. From my point of view, there is nothing in this world that I cannot do, get, or achieve. We live in the age of information; a world in which all of the answers to every question are at our fingers. The phones in each of our pockets are connected to the vast collective knowledge that mankind has accumulated thus far in history. If there is a skill that I want to learn and master in order to achieve some goal in my life, the simple solution is to research and learn it. For this reason, I find the idea of going to a job that I don’t care for because, “I have to,” to be absurd.
In recent years, I’ve replaced the crushing anxiety associated with being in my 20’s with a sense of peace. I’ve come to value my free time over money. When there are things that I want that I cannot afford, I simply find a way to make more money. If that requires learning a new skill, then I put in the time to research and learn that new skill.
I’m always open to new opportunities, but there are only three reasons that I will work for someone else.
- It is an industry or job that I’m already passionate about.
- There is just a shit-ton of money to be made.
- There is a skill or industry that I’m curious about, and the position is one that will aid me in learning and mastering said skill.
Outside of these three scenarios, I find it hard to consider trading in my freedom for money. I know attorneys that make great money but that have no time to enjoy it. Conversely, I know stoners that have all the time in the world but that don’t have the means to live a comfortable life without leaning on those around them. My intent is to find a happy medium; a life that affords me the freedom to pursue my goals and interests, while also allowing me to fund such ventures without worry.