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On Living the Life You Want [Dear DBN]


Life is a foggy road and very few people are driving with high beams.  This week – how to ignore the backseat drivers and live the life you want.

I’m currently completing a BA in English/Classics and EVERYONE always asks me what I plan on doing once I graduate/If i plan on working at Starbucks for the rest of my life (never worked there before…). What can I say to make people back off? It genuinely upsets me that everyone just assumes I won’t get a good job and will be working for minimum wage my whole life. (Yeah…I know this has nothing to do with dating but you always say the right things.)

I graduated from college five years ago with a degree in journalism.  I’ve been an event planner, an assistant, a lounge singer, a graphic designer, a recruiter, and a project manager.  Oh, and a sailor. The only thing I do that has anything to do with my major is writing a blog. So we can say about 5% of my income comes from my area of study. The other 95% comes from hustle, connections, and life’s fateful twists and turns.

The people who make those sorts of remarks are never the people who pursued their dreams.  They are never the people who pursued their passions.  And they will be left wondering “what if” until they do.  Let them be envious, let them be cowardly, let them be crass and bitter and biting, so long as you never let yourself becomes those things.  Those comments come from a place of insecurity, because they certainly don’t come from a place of love. If the greatest adversity you face is some nitwit asking if you’re planning to work at Starbucks for the rest of your life because you majored in English, kindly remind him that Starbucks has great benefits and really great lattes.  And then throw one in his face.  Just kidding, tell him your mom works there with a confused look on your face.  Kidding again; tell him you’re not worried about money because you’ve got something on the side and then wink at him.  Kidding!  Ask him if he’s happy slinging insurance.  Sorry! I’m done.

Look, these people are not assuming you won’t get a good job, or that you will be making minimum wage.  What they are referencing is the job market, the state of things, the abundance of articles talking about 30 year olds living in their parents’ basement.  Literally for decades, people have been laughing at anyone who went to college for a degree in History, English, the Classics, Art, Music, what have you.  Almost anything other than business, politics, law, or science gets laughed at.  And do you know what they say to law students?  There are no jobs!  To policy students? It’s all lies and bribery!  To business students?  You’re studying to rob Americans!  To science students?  Good luck with your billion dollars in loans!  You are never going to make everyone happy with your decisions, but that’s always why they’re called your decisions – they’re only supposed to make you happy.

Now go be nice to your local barista because some people actually do work at Starbucks and most of them are pretty nice.  And by nice I mean hot.  

I think I’m ready to drop everything and try something.  Everything is just comfortable.  What are your essentials for picking up and leaving?

Boredom at the beginning, and either money or friends at the end.

Let me warn you – the only time you can do this is in your 20s.  You can only do this when you’re single, childless and unattached to anything – so do it.  You only have a few years of this kind of freedom and you have the rest of your life to regret not utilizing it.  I guarantee some people will judge you, some people will doubt your decisions, yourself included, but it’s worth it for the experience.

And always have enough money in your pocket to fly home.

    I've written for Teen Vogue, Thought Catalog, Leveled Magazine, College Candy, How About We, and have been featured on several HuffPost Live segments. Creator and leader of Bold Moves October featured on xoJane and Neil Gaiman's blog. Both Neil and Jane appreciate boldness. I specialize in pep talks, very long bike rides, and matching my lipstick to my heels.