To be honest, I had one desk job in my entire life. It was an internship with a communications and event planning boutique in the Washington, D.C. area, and I didn’t even get paid! If I’m going to be extremely truthful, I was “let go” after one month of my internship. It was the most horrible summer, the most horrible feeling, and it’s left me even more terrified of the idea of the 9-5 desk job. Before I started the internship, I was already wary about the idea of sitting behind a desk and doing the dirty, grunt work for someone else. I know, everyone has to start from the bottom to get to the top… but I’m part of the generation that wants instant results! I felt this sort of anxiety in the office that I’ve never experienced before. Plus, I may get distracted way too easily, and find myself browsing other blogs, tumblr, Facebook, and sneaking peeks at my Instagram feed.
From this first paragraph, you may get a sense that I have commitment issues. And to be honest, I quite possibly do. I have commitment issues when it comes to “sticking to one thing, and only one thing”, when I have so many ideas and interests/likes that I want to explore! I can promise you, I am not a lazy worker. I actually really enjoy working, when it’s a job that I find to be fulfilling. As a Hospitality Management major, I love working with people and being able to interact with them in a face to face setting. Before I left for Spain, I was a “Cheese bartender” at a wine bar/restaurant. I loved working there, despite the long hours, not so great management, and being on my feet all day. It gave me a chance to talk to diners, brighten their day, and see instant results. One of my passions is to take care of people, and working at this restaurant let me “take care” of diners.
Now that I’m here in Spain, working 12hr work weeks, with three day weekends every week… the idea of returning to the United States and finding a desk job sounds terrifying. If you’re like me, you’ve either been bitten by the travel bug and don’t want to stop moving and discovering the world, or you have this gnawing gut feeling that if you were to sit behind a desk and work, day in and day out, you’d lose it! For me, I want to break out of the social norm and create my own definition of success and find a way to happiness with an unconventional lifestyle. Now, what is an unconventional lifestyle? I’m not talking dumpster diving (I’m a germaphobe), anything scandalous, or even anything illegal! I’m talking about creating a lifestyle that fulfills my financial needs (hello… shopping and shoes!), my happiness needs, travel needs, and still connecting with the hospitality industry. As of now, I’ve been brainstorming plenty of different ideas to obtain my goal of unconventional and still making a difference (world domination is still in the works).
While the rest of my friends are making more money than I am, with steady salaries, healthcare, new cars, moving out into their own homes, and moving forward into the world of “adulting”, I am over here getting paid monthly by the Spanish government’s stipend, and am nowhere close to buying my own car. It makes me anxious a bit, and slightly worried that I’m headed in the wrong direction in my life; that I am not financially ready to move out or even put a down payment on my own car. Then, there are moments of clarity when I come home from teaching and feel completely inspired, or when I have the time to be able to take a trip to an area of Spain and have the opportunity of experiencing something completely different.
I should cut myself some more slack, because I’ve achieved the things I dreamt about doing three to four years ago! I know that to create my (unconventional) lifestyle, I have a lot more to do and a lot more to grow. So, no, maybe I don’t have the high paying job, a super steady salary, paid health insurance, and paid time off. But, does that mean that I’m not successful? I have my retirement fund set up, I’m working hard over here, I’m enjoying what I’m doing, I have the opportunity to travel more, and I really love it! Alright, you caught me, I may live paycheck to paycheck a bit, but it’s not so bad, when I think about the dreams I’m chasing and how I’m working to achieve them. I can’t buy lavish things, and I’m nowhere close to having enough money to buy my first car or move out of my parents house (sorry, mom and dad!). But, if there’s one Spanish phrase that they always tell me here, it’s poco a poco [little by little], and I know I’m on my way.
So, shout out to the grinders and dream chasers who are out there hustling to fight for an unconventional lifestyle outside of the norm! I’m with y’all!! Shout out to the grinders who are working hard in full-time 9-5 jobs, because bless ya soul, I commend you! And shout out to the hustlers, who have more than one job, and are working their butts off to chase their dreams. Cheers to y’all, because when it comes down to it, work is work, and we all need some cash money to enjoy a little of what life has to offer.