I am not conventional, perfect, or follow any resemblance of a normal life trajectory. The only rules I follow are my own and I flow day to day with a big picture in mind but no direct path to get there. My only short-term goals are to experience as much out of life as possible and potentially settle on an idea for my long-term career goals. I am only 23, still newly in my 20s and my life is only going to get weirder, messier, and more complicated as I figure it all out. This is me at 23 and the rules that guide me in life.
1. I am not cookie cutter.. This started way before my 20s. I jumped into college while I was still in HS, acquired enough credits to end high school a year early at the sweet age of 16, then jumped right into the adult world with my own place, a full time job, and college life. I acquired several degrees by the time I was 20 and moved more times than I could count by the time I was 22. I am living in Africa as a volunteer and have more experience under my belt than most people my age.
2. My life isn’t for everyone.. I didn’t do the 4 years in HS, 4 years in college, followed by a career, marriage and kids. I have worked my ass off in school as I try to figure out what the hell I actually want to do when I am not in school, dabbled in as many things that interest me as possible. I am specialized, certified, and degree conferred in so many different areas you might as well call me a life coach! I have worked many different jobs and have no plans to settle down with a white picket fence any time soon or strap myself into a career. I want to travel and explore and not miss out on anything just because society tells me to pick one thing and stick to it. I want it all and I am going to have it all.
3. I am broke, my credit sucks, but I survive.. I was 20 when I first filed for bankruptcy, long story. When I joined PC in 2013, I rid myself of most possessions and remaining debt. I am happy to report that I have zero bills and my credit is beginning to bounce back. But the downside of not picking one thing and sticking to it is the tuition price tag attached to it. I may have relieved myself of most debts, but college debt was not part of it. Oh well. So I have nearly nothing in my bank account, I make only enough to live as a volunteer, and my school debt is still looming over me. But you know what? I am not going to let that stop me from enjoying life. With careful savings, frugal spending, and budget-friendly trips, I am still able to enjoy my life to its fullest and survive.
4. I live minimally and get by fine.. I don’t need first-class airfare, designer clothes, or a fancy car. I enjoy riding my bike, walking, my comfortable non-designer clothes, coach gets you to the same destination as first-class, and hostels are more fun than luxury resorts. One thing I take away from PC is that you also don’t need the fancy amenities to get by. I have lived without running water, a hole in the ground for a toilet, spotty electricity, and no appliances for a year. I am still okay.
5. I am an adventure obsessed foodie with wanderlust.. I love vacation adventures, food, and travel. I am never going to stop loving these things. Everywhere I go I want to eat a lot of food, going on a thrilling adventure, and experience everything I can. It is a great big world out there and I plan on eating and trekking my way through it all!
6. It is easier to worry about the here and now rather than future.. One thing I have learned in PC is the art of doing nothing. Some days I sit on my porch all day admiring the simplest pleasures of my simple life. I appreciate what is right in front of me and don’t give up an opportunity to do something absolutely insane because it may be the only chance I get. Feed a wild hyena, rock climb Pride Rock, pet a cheetah, or jump out of airplane, hell yes!, because I want to live with no regrets. Tomorrow will take care of itself, and I’ll eventually figure everything else out, but right now I am going to take every experience and live it up.
7. Living, loving, laughing more makes me happy.. Everyone is going to live life different, especially in today’s society. There is no longer the idea that getting a job out of high school or college and settling down forever is the right thing to do because there is no right thing. It is your life, just live. I plan on living within every moment, loving as hard as I can, and laughing until I turn red, I want to enjoy the little things and learn (even laugh) from the shitty moments. Every moment you live is a moment to either embrace happiness or let life get the best of you and bring you down. I choose to be happy. So I choose to live how I want to live. I live for me. I embrace my wanderlust, dirty hippy, healthy foodie, adventure and adrenaline junkie, no regrets, all or nothing, broke college student lifestyle.
8. I apologize for nothing.. You may not think I am doing it right. Well tough shit. I don’t think you are either. We all live individual, separate lives with different goals and aspirations. You may not like what I am doing or don’t agree with it, but I won’t apologize for anything because it is how I want to do it.
9. Party smart, play hard.. I don’t enjoy going to clubs, getting drunk, doing drugs, or a number of other things people partake in to “enjoy themselves.” I find the sweet intoxication of life is more than enough to receive maximum pleasure. I drink because I enjoy it but not to get wasted, I dance under the basking moonlight on a beach to my own music, I do crazy things that won’t put me in jail, and I enjoy all of life’s little pleasure just as much as the next person. I tend to venture out solo or with a very small group of people and find the best company wrapped in my own thoughts or my lover’s arms. I am my own three ring circus and if you are lucky to be invited enjoy the show.
10. You have to get dirty.. Other than work and fancy events, life isn’t a Hollywood movie set or magazine shoot. I believe you need to look neat enough to not look homeless, but a full coat of makeup and perfect hair is hardly practical. Skip all the primping and prepping and go all natural, feel comfortable with yourself, and unless you are sweating or doing something dirty, it is okay to skip the shower. Save some water, embrace a little people pleasing freedom.
11. LetItGo.. You don’t want to travel the world with a lot of baggage, so why carry it all around in life? The concept is easier than the implementation, but trust me, learning how to let it go will give you a lot more space for the important things. For instance, a peace of mind, happiness, and space for new things. Life experiences shape everyone but if you are clinging desperately to ten year old bags falling apart at the seems and filled with junk you never use but is weighing you down, toss it overboard! Liberate yourself and you will discover there are so many better bags and more valuable items you can have with you.
12.Lose your expectations.. PC has taught me many valuable life lessons, an important one is check your expectations at the door. Do something without preconceived ideas and you just might find you experience more, plus you aren’t set up for dissapointment.
13. Life is a beautiful disaster; it is an accumulation of successes and failures, but it is all an opportunity to learn and grow.. This my life and I am living large. What’s your excuse?