Do what makes you happy.
I was always the type of person that had a plan. I graduated high school and went to my top choice college. After four years at Syracuse University I got my first job in New York City as an Art Director. It’s exactly what I went to school for, which is a rarity nowadays. I'm hyper-organized, living by my to-do lists and even having my clothes picked out the night before work. From age 22 to leaving my job at 28, it was a significant part of my adulthood from the actual work, to office culture and the friends I made along the way.
I didn't realize how burnt out and unmotivated I was from my workplace until I wasn't there anymore. When I stopped working it was the first time in my life, at 28, that I didn't have a plan. And you know what? I was so f*cking excited to not have the daunting pressure of always knowing what my next move is.
If you're feeling a bit unsatisfied or stagnant, a gap year, no matter the age, isn't a detour – it may just be the best thing you can do for yourself to get you where you want to go.
How do we know what we want to do at age 18?
Being a teenager carries a lot of responsibility. You graduate high school, go off to college and pursue a career path you’ll do for the rest of your life. That’s a lot of pressure for a young adult who’s just getting their feet wet in the real world.
Obviously, who you were at 18 isn’t who you are today. Your interests and passions evolve, life happens and maybe you want to do something that was never in your playbook.
F*ck your five year plan.
How can anyone actually know what their five year plan is? Did anyone have a crystal ball to see a global pandemic on the horizon that would keep all of us in our homes?
Have goals and work towards them, but don’t get so bent out of shape if you’re not married with kids with a white picket fence by age 30. It’s corny I know, but it really is about the journey so whatever you’re doing, just make sure that you enjoy the damn ride, okay?
Taking time to explore your passions at a mature age can lead to extraordinary things.
What I take away from most conversations that I have with people is how much passion I see in their eyes. To feel how excited someone is about what they’re doing. Even though I had a really great job in New York City, I lost that spark in my eyes.
Taking a gap year doesn’t mean you have to travel. It’s about taking time for yourself to do what makes you happy. Giving myself a break allowed me to recharge, get inspired again and really think about what I wanted my next move to be. I started writing more, got published on more than a dozen publications over time and haven’t looked back.
Ironically, without a salaried job I never felt more in control of my life. I’ve become a more spontaneous person and have tried new things I never even imagined doing, like getting advanced certified in scuba diving, swimming with pigs in The Bahamas and hiking through glaciers in Iceland. I’ve taken what I learned from my corporate experience and have started playing by my own rules, which I might be biased, but is way more fun.
Be good, JB PS. Add me to your address book so I don’t land in your spam folder. If you enjoy this newsletter, forward it to a friend.