A thought that has been crossing my mind repeatedly these last days has been the idea of being a grown up. I’m 20 years old and so are my friends, some of them being 21 or 22. It is becoming something natural to start making comparisons between us, to try to realize who is doing the better, of course always in a friendly way. But doing this is also a very good way of creating healthy competitivity, and sometimes is also funny. The thing is that it seems very funny to me trying to define which are the functions or variables that make one’s life better than the others. What do people use to judge you as a person, and are they right references or not? References such as money, job, lifestyle or a college degree. Let’s discuss this.
Of course, the first thing that comes to my mind is work, do you have a job? but the most important, do you have a job related to your field of study? Wich guides us to the next very important question, do you study? I could say it’s even the most important question given that with 20 years old maybe we are still too young to be able to find a good job.
These two initial variables, a job and studies, I’m sure most of us will agree are the better signs to “judge” if you are doing better at life than other people. But again, the most intriguing thing for me is to think about the social conventions around us and that sometimes give us little space for imagination when it comes to creating your own path in life. Having no studies or just being a drop-out from college or high school seems to be a very bad symptom. But why does this have to be this way? I know many people with low level of studies that are doing pretty well in life, so why is it a requirement to have a good life, and most of all, is official education a requirement to be considered smart?
The case I can not stop thinking about when talking about this is Alaska, one of the most important stars in music and culture circles of Spain. Born in Mexico, she was the huge icon of the ‘Movida Madrileña’ an intense explosion of culture that took place in Madrid back in the 80s. Every Spanish person will know the lyrics to smash hits like A quién le importa o Bailando, performed by Alaska along with the different groups she has been part of through her career.
So, this woman pops in my head every time I think in exceptions to the relation studies – success because she barely managed to finish basic school. It’s not that she is famous now what I want to address, because thousands of stupid people get famous every day for stupid reasons. It’s the fact that she is known to be one of the most intelligent, well-spoken and cultured famous people in Spanish television right now, able to speak up for a lot of different topics with a very reasonable perspective. This is due to the fact she is a huge reader and has had always interest in learning in her own way. No need to go to college if you are truly willing to educate yourself respect the things that interest you.
So what I’m trying to say is, should college always be an unconscious requirement for being seen as a responsible person from the people around you? I get there are a lot of reasons why this can be a guarantee of ambition, but well, I’m just fooling around with there thoughts.
Now it’s the turn of the job. Are there possible ways of living a good life without the need of a job? Can a person be considered a grown-up adult without working? These days, with the brand new types of jobs that are being discovered, such as being a YouTuber, a bitcoin investor, an influencer, an Airbnb owner or an organic farm volunteer, the need of a traditional 8 hours office work is questioned. Why don’t consider certain lifestyles that reject the need for big amounts of money, like minimalism or living in a little house in a village, instead of big cities? The amount of money is definitely another, and maybe the key point people use to judge you as a person.
A person can be very happy just traveling with Couchsurfing and giving free hugs, or becoming a Buddhist monk. That shouldn’t make you less valuable, should it? I’m just thinking we should open our minds to more possible paths that we might not even consider, while they could make us happy and we don’t know it.
That’s dakota of earth, a youtuber that posts videos and podcasts about its traveling lifestyle and talks about his interests, such as DMT and spirituality. A great example of what we are talking about. In my opinion, he is very successful given that if he uses its channel to obtain money to support his own lifestyle, he is winning the game! But would he be seen by others as successful too? What do you think?
That also makes me think about self-sufficiency and economic independence, that’s also a great factor. If you are self-sufficient then you are successful right? But, if people keep judging your job, it can still be difficult to be seen as an adult example if you are the one making gameplays or cleaning streets. The social perception of the value of jobs is really important.
I guess it’s all a matter of balance. If you are not in studying but you are becoming a best-selling author with a novel you just wrote, then I guess people will acknowledge you as a successful person even though you don’t have any titles. And in the opposite, if you are in university but you are not getting anything out of it and neither are you really interested, then what you are doing is useless.
But well, what other functions or variables could be added as a must for grown-ups? I was thinking in extracurricular activities or ambitions. Such as music, art, taekwondo or sports. These are things that, while they can be seen as useless by other people, not only make you happy but also make you smarter because you are using your brain to become better at something, also you learn routine and they can serve as a principal reason to get you up from bed. Having a ‘hobby’ or a special taste for something, is, in my opinion, a good symptom of the right adult.
Is happiness itself a reference for success? Do people count their level of happiness when making an auto-evaluation of their life? This should also be an important variable, you may have no money but you can be extremely happy at the same time, so why should people feel bad about you?
In part II of this article, I’m making a graphic of the success level of me and three friends of mine, based on the variables we talked about in this text. It will be fun. Remember to subscribe to the feed to receive the updates!