Currently Reading: When to Jump by Mike Lewis
Here’s me using my favorite social influencer as an example of well, reality we forget to realize is under our nose! @thegreylayers
Picture this: a young, late 20s woman, quit her typical workforce/corporate gig a couple of years ago to enter a saturated market based on pop culture trends, consumerism, and often an invisible idea of “inspiration” (whatever that is). Current status: CEO of her own personal brand and living her best life.
I struggle with some of the messages she writes, BUT I think that’s also why I also love and can’t get enough of her feed. I’m so disturbed sometimes it hits a nerve. A nerve that at this time, I can’t change. Reading rants intending to inspire people to “let it go”, travel, explore, denounce status quo, essentially go against the grain— it’s often too easy to be said than done (especially to the extent she does, sometimes jetsetting multiple countries in limited dates, sometimes first class).. when I read phrases like that they often make me roll my eyes when it’s meant to speak to me. She appears to live this lavish life of jewels, designer things, world travel, and a free spirit. I would define her nothing short of lavish and it irks me when the reality of my mundane life working for the richest man in the world making a grain of sand compared to the ocean of his profits kicks in. Done wrong, this kind of life rubbed in your face can often come off as privilege.
As I go through my quarter life crisis, I’m distributed that I can’t take phrases like “let it go” or “travel” or “explore” so literally because, well, money. But if you pay attention to what is behind the photos of people like @thegreylayers, I’ve come to know someone my age who figured out young that if you’re smart and deliberate about all your choices, what you let into your life, where and what you invest your money in, what you choose to affect your overall well being— anything if not everything you want is possible. And when you do it correctly and share your real story instead of a pretend version people expect you to tell— people will know and it is a blessing, and not a right nor a privilege— to live that lavish life and tell people to try it too.
Here’s what I learned. Be deliberate to bless yourself. Everything comes down to your choices— from the things you spend your money on, where you spend your time, the things you read, follow in IG/Twitter— it all becomes the energy you attract!
Don’t let the world create you as school systems from a young age and generations before us subconsciously tell us— or become victim to marketing and societal messaging— create your own world of defined “lavish”. Today at least, for me that means determining what I buy second hand or brand new for my apartment. Saying no to having a closet with higher end things so I can afford to pay the credit card bill that paid for our European family vacation. My deliberate choices may not mean I have the same sacrifices nor the same gains my inspirational Instagram heroine gets to call lavish— and I hope that one day that changes for me. But in no way am I discontent where I stand, or would I be ashamed to take about my struggles, and still call myself satisfied. I’m satisfied knowing there’s so much more coming as I intend to continue to be disturbed when someone challenges what I think is impossible based on my situation, challenging me to be deliberate about well, my life.
Someone told me long ago I had to go to college to make money, get “a good paying job with benefits”… to do that I had to use money I didn’t have and expect to pay it back with a future I couldn’t guarantee. Now I’m working hard and sleeping little but no regrets because I love my career and trajectory. But I’m also indebted to Sally Mae and there’s probably a reason I’m telling my Lyft drivers I can’t wait to retire when I’m only 27 years old. Maybe reminders to let it go, explore, and challenge ourselves are just what we all need to be a little disturbed and get us to be more of ourselves every day.
In 2019 my resolution is to challenge myself and others who believe that you need to be driven by where the money is. Instead, be moved to know that money will come where you are driven.
Lastly, I’ve wanted for a long time to write a post about the world “successful.” Two years ago someone told me they were really happy for me for being “successful”. I laughed because then and now I still don’t know what my end game is. Based on where I spend my 9-5, it’s funny how many people use this word to describe me— a person. Let’s leave calling people “successful” in 2018. Success is a status for feats and things, not people— there is no singular right or wrong way to define the end goal.
(Written at SEATAC airport waiting for my delayed flight home.)