I was doing an interview about The Mongol Rally the other day and was asked what I wanted to be when I “grew up.” I got sort of angry at the question for a multitude of reasons. Did they thing because I had driven from London to Mongolia this summer instead of working that I wasn’t an adult? The fact that I prefer to travel with my money than save for a down payment on a place shouldn’t indicate my maturity. I just choose to use my money in a different way. After thinking about the question for awhile and getting over my initial annoyance at it, I came to a realization.
This notion of “growing up” is a bit behind the times I feel. With so many different career paths and lifestyle choices now, what is perceived as being “grown up?” Having a 9-5 job I hate in a cubicle with a house, a mortgage, and 2.5 kids?
That sounds awful.
I thought I wanted that, and maybe I will one day (lord i had a dream about being pregnant last night!). This is not me shaming anyone who has that life. If it’s what you want and enjoy, then all the power to you. I’m happy for you. The idea of being stuck somewhere is horrifying to me. I wrote about my inability to stay still almost a year ago, and it seems it’s that time again to reevaluate my life. Ironically, it was also around a month after returning from abroad that I felt this same itch. I guess it’s going to be a yearly tradition.
I read an article a few years ago about micro-lives and how there’s many people who live certain lives for a year or two at a time and then move on. That’s me. I lived and taught English in Japan for a year. Then I moved to England to try and do the “grown up” thing and do my MA at a prestigious school, but I hated it. So I moved to New York City and was a live-in nanny in an apartment overlooking Central Park for a year. Then I moved back to London to do an MA, but this time in a field that I was already succeeding in on my own with my podcast. I’m looking at possibly moving to New Zealand next year on their Working Holiday Visa scheme.
I get restless if I am in a place onto long. There’s too much of the world to see. I am getting serious about my freelance writing and audio work so I can move around more easily. Ideally I’d love to live in different places around the world while working on things I enjoy.
It’s not the typical “grown up” life style, but it’s the one I want, and why shouldn’t I have it?
I’m not naive enough to think it’ll happen easily or even soon, but it’s a goal. And it’s vital to have those. As long as you have something to reach for, be it owning your own car or moving to a foreign country or marrying Tom Hiddleston, you’re making progress in your life. Even if they’re just baby steps, they’re steps, and that’s better than staying still.