Do you ever wonder what you are supposed to do with your life? How to live it? Honor and respect those that you should, balancing between doing what you should and what others (family, friends, and even the world) think you should?
You don't want to be a bum.
You want a successful life.
But who gets to decide what is successful?
Who decides what makes one educated and accomplished? By whose standards are you going to pursue a meaningful life?
Even those of us that will answer "God's" still have more than enough choices.
This world is not an easy place to live.
And I realize this more and more each passing year.
People are so caught up in a struggle of surviving that most can't breathe. But we are told we have no other choice.
We must graduate from the designated 12 years of school, which includes all the subjects that they feel are necessary for every individual to know. Then we must go to a university and get some sort of degree – it doesn't really matter if we love what we are studying, or even if it's what God has called us to.
What matters is if this degree will make us successful. In man's-eyes-successful.
Will we be able to have money, social status, houses, cars, foods, vacations, and so many other things that make up the standard, perfect life?
And once we have been established in this college career, it's then that we can consider marrying – dating before hand was acceptable.
But it was never serious. And there was a high chance that each of us are responsible for hurting (and being hurt) by many people. But that doesn't really matter...because society has completely downsized the importance of relationships in our lives.
They don't matter. Other people really don't matter. Just being successful matters.
Career over marriage, money over family.
Things over healthy desires.
After the marriage stage of life, it is then acceptable to have a couple kids. But not too many. You want to be able to afford your two cars (or more), their expensive clothes, your special foods, daycare, schooling, your house, all the taxes and insurances and health care.
You really can't afford to have more than two or three kids – that is if you want to raise them correctly.
After that you will live a crazy, stressed-out life. Husband and wife always on the go between their different jobs. Kids at school - and needing to be taken places: sports, ballet, swimming lessons... And the list for their activities never end.
Mom is overtaxed trying to take kids where they need to be, keeping up her job, and hoping she has time to put the house in order. Maybe even cook a meal every now and then.
Dad is overworked with stress from the family, stress from work, stress from the multiple bills, and he can find no outlet in his stress – as the whole world is too busy and stressed. He will most likely resort to things like excessive drinking and porn.
Once the kids are grown and starting out on their own life set up by society's standards, the parents find they are still entrapped by their work and separate social lives.
Finally. Finally. They get to retire. But by that point the two have forgotten how to live together. Divorce may follow. Or just the continuance of separate lives.
And so they grow old and die, having lived a successful life.
They die happy? – no, dissatisfied.
And so, life ends. Successfully.
Success was worth it all. The large beautiful casket proved everything.
Who truly thinks that life looks appealing? Sure I dramatized it a little…yet, there really wasn't that much to add, was there?
I rebel against such a life.
Against the standards and expectations of others'.
I do not need another telling me if I am successful or educated or living well above the poverty level.
In fact, I wonder if this whole poverty-successful level is part of the gimmick.
Who cares if we don't have more than one car? Or if we don't have a million unnecessary bills? Who cares if our kids' clothes look decent instead of stylish? Or that we don't have the social life? Or if the mom doesn't work? Or if the dad has a honest, hardworking job that pays less than what is t he thought should be earning?
What is so wrong with all that?
Why is it that those that choose the better life are looked down upon? And to even choose the better life, you are told things like:
“Don't waste your talents. You could do so much.” … if you went to college. Like, if I am smart, why do I need a bunch of idiots educating me while taking piles of my money?
“Don't do this thing. Sure you think you love it, but passions change. Just take some time to get to know yourself.” Of course the best way to do that is by going to college, or moving out, or getting some sort of good job. Or experimenting and dabbling in stupidity.
Is it just me, or does anyone else see how messed up our lives are?
Here are some ways I plan to rebel against the standards set up by this world.
Life: The Path I Take
18 year old's are not old enough to make rational decisions. And they know this. I knew this when I was 18.
I had originally planned to attend college when I was 18. But then I realized that I wasn't sure I wanted to – or that I needed a degree to do any of what I wanted to do.
I was uncertain and for once saw just how big the world was and how my small decisions weren't that small.
Most kids would have just jumped into school regardless of being unsure, as that's what their parents are expected to make sure they do.
Because, after all, getting in debt for a BA toward nothing is waaaayyyyy better than doing nothing.
Things worked out for me to go volunteer at a place called Above Rubies. There I learned to live on my own, work a 9-5 job, interact with people that weren't my family. Do things because I believed them. And be faced with countless choices and decisions.
Most of which I have no regrets from.
It was a perfect setting for an 18 year old. It helped me mature and grow in confidence with out throwing me into the atmosphere of college that ruins so many young girls.
We were never meant to face so many temptations, trials, and ideas all at once at such a young age. It is too much for the mind and emotions. And more than likely most will cave in and leave behind all signs of a stable life.
I know few girls that have walked out of a secular college and still hold onto half the decency she did before entering. And many of the guys I know seem equally disillusioned with life and beliefs toward God and relationships.
Many will completely reject God with out the right group of friends – it can be hard to find good friends when you are in such a new and terrifying environment. Not impossible, for I do know of people that succeeded in having good friends through out their college years. But I know more that did not succeed here.
Now, a couple years later after Above Rubies, I am still needing to decide what to do with my life.
I still have the option to attend school.
I know I could get a degree in many things. I could very easily have a successful life – all I need do is start playing the game.
I love learning. I love people. I would most likely thrive in such a place.
But is it what I really want?
Most importantly, is it what God wants of me?
But more than that what I want, I can tell you what I don't want.
1. I don't want to work 9-5 job.
Working at Above Rubies showed me just how draining such work can be. And not all that satisfying.
One of my good friends just told me recently that she feels she is 9-5ing her life away. I totally sympathize. Those sort of jobs do take your life away...unless you just love the sort of job those hours entail, I do not think they are for most people.
And they aren't good for you in many ways. Health (no exercise and plenty of opportunity for snacking). Mentality. Spirituality (it's funny how those jobs can drain you so much). And it even takes away from your relationships.
But, let me clarify: I am not against working hard.
Or working for 8 hours, 5 days a week. I am against the structure of the whole thing. I would rather work 10 hours every day, every week doing something worthwhile than wasting away my hours doing nothing lasting for some other person.
But that doesn’t mean I wouldn't do it. Some times necessity and practicality must come over desires.
2. I don't want a career doing what I love according to another's standards.
I would love to be a history teacher – but I do not want to be told what to teach. So, why even get a degree? I know I do not want to teach in any school - public or private. I also know that everything that I could learn in a school I can learn on my own by reading the right books. And for so much cheaper.
I would much rather be a nanny or tutor. And I don't need a degree for that. I just need to know things.
I love styling hair – but I do not want to pay 10K so that I can work in someone else's salon and have to deal with all their nasty chemicals.
I love writing – but it's pretty obvious that only requires experience and heart, not a degree.
I know what I love. I know what sort of life I don't want.
I know I love school – but I know debt is not an option. And being self-taught, attending conferences and lectures, and listening to podcasts is the best way to learn anything.
And I most certainly don't need a piece of paper saying I am smart enough or qualified to live a life I am confident of living already.
I can still teach (tutor and nanny).
I can still write my own curriculum.
I can still do hair for friends' weddings.
I can still write (and become published).
And while I work, I can travel, and make people a priority over career.
Also, there are other ways of making money with out a degree.
Such as what I do: housecleaning.
Many people actually seem to look down at this way of making money for various reasons (among other honest, hardworking jobs).
There is most certainly a stereotype to house cleaners that I do not want to meet: The socially awkward middle aged lady that is way anorexic skinny, most likely smokes and does some sort of drug, and though she works well, you never know if something may come up missing. They are also very nosy…and love to talk and gossip about all their personal problems. They usually hate all their friends, too.
Yeah, that's not me. I am fast, yet methodical. I get the job done. I plug in my ear phones - music and lectures! And I'd prefer to have silence (no visiting as I clean). I usually prefer to not snack as I work either...crumbs kinda defeat my whole purpose of being there.
I love housecleaning because it is a productively active job that pays well and leaves you feeling satisfied.
A Success Story
I recently talked to this really neat older lady. She was telling me her success story. She never got a degree – but worked for the AT&T phone company back when it was part of this regional corporation split into 7 companies across the states called the Baby Bells.
She told me how every one had their own job, yet they would get to know each others' departments and work well to provide better customer service.
She told me how one of the reasons customer service is so lousy now days is because people can barely work in their own department, let alone anyone else's. But back in her day every job she had - from this, to being a manager of a large craft store, to working at a car rental - she was familiar with every person's job and what they did, so that if a customer needed help she could help them 100% with out referring them to another.
A skill like this, one could never have learned at a school...it's something you apply on the job. It makes customers happy, boss' pleased, and herself satisfied with her work.
Her daughter, starting out life, wasn't sure what she wanted to do. So, she worked at a pharmacy for a couple years. They recognized her skills with the work and people and kept promoting her. Eventually they payed her way through school to get a degree so she could work with certain drugs, and she had a lasting career that was both successful and satisfying with out the dead years of debt and college and uncertainty. She kept busy doing something productive that she loved, and it payed off, as had her mother's career life.
This lady agreed with me about college. And knowing what I didn't want as an end goal was a good start. Housecleaning, continuance of educating and learning whenever I could, never passing up opportunities, continuing to develop better networking and social skills – those are more key than pursuing a college degree that may or may not ever benefit me.
Career Over Friendships, Marriage, Children
Another thing that has me frustrated with the system is the whole outlook on marriage and family.
It is 100% wrong.
Career is not the highest goal, nor should it ever be. Especially for girls.
But our society has turned us into a bunch of selfish brats.
It's all about “me.”
Especially with women. - Do feminists realize that they are just hurting themselves more by refusing to admit that their qualities and femininity has much need in our society? Why must they give up all their goodness and strive after crudeness, selfishness, and rebellion?
It doesn't' matter that a girl might rather get married and have a family.
She must first do a few things:
1. Live on her own and figure out who she is
– first off the whole self-identity stuff is garbage. Never were we meant to discover ourselves, but God. Never are we meant to follow our dreams, but serve God and people (Galatians 5:13, Romans 7:6, John 12:26).
Girls (even girls that are leaders) tend to follow what's in their nature and conform to those around them.
Whether it be family, friends, or her husband.
That is why it's extremely important to choose good friends and date a good guy.
Because you will be like those that you choose to associate with.
Proverbs is full of verses about being wise with those we spend time with and take counsel (advice) from.
2. Go to college and get a degree.
Never mind the fact that her utmost dream is to raise a family, she must first spend a good 60k on a degree she'll use for a few years until she dumps it for the guy and kids.
And as she's being taught how to use a career that she may or may not end up pursuing, she is never taught how to be a woman. How to run a house hold. How to be a friend. How to deal with kids. How to be a nurturer, teacher, encourager. Or practice hospitality.
3. Not marry the first guy that comes along.
This is both good and bad advice.
More bad than good.
First, I do agree that one shouldn't just marry the first person that comes onto the scene.
But neither should you act like it's some trivial thing.
Giving yourself to someone is HUGE. And the more people you open up to, the harder it becomes. When you finally find the right guy (that should have been the first one) you have become so hardened and cautious that the process will be harder.
And you will always be missing pieces of yourself that have been given to another.
4. It's about you.
No. It's. not.
If you are a believer and follower of Yeshua (Jesus) then you will realize a few things.
Man was created for God's glory (Eph 2:10, Gen 1-2).
And woman was created to help and complete man toward serving God.
Never was she created for herself (Psalm 100:3).
And so nothing is about her. The perfect woman will lead a life of complete servitude – toward God and husband. She will raise children to send out and conquer the world. She will influence their minds and bodies for great things. She will comfort and follow her husband. She will encourage and work to no end for every person that God sends to her.
The perfect woman is the epitome of beauty, encouragement, submission, and servitude just as the man is the epitome of strength, action, and leadership.
By the way, these last 4 points loosely apply to guys, too.
Life isn't about career.
It's about honoring God. And fulfilling His perfect will – which for most is done through marriage and raising a family for His glory.
Hospitality is more important than a busy life.
Witnessing and discipling and encouraging should be common elements of our lives – not stress over money for things that we truly do not need.
Are You Fed Up?
The thing is, I believe I am not the only one frustrated with the direction we are being pushed toward.
So many kids my ages are being pressured by family and society to do things (sometimes drastically opposite things that both go against God's perfect will).
There is so much pressure about what is right.
Whether we're being told by the super conservative, patriarchal side to stay at home forever, or the secular side to leave home and get a career, we are constantly being told.
Yet, many of us know neither way is the way. None of it is right.
And though we are fed up with the career world…many of us don't know how to escape it.
We are still caught up with the belief that work and money are security.
Money is a important to survive. Yet, we don't want to be it's slave or it our God (Matt 6:24).
And most individuals are jerks (girls and guys, each in their own ways), so the option of raising a family is close to non-existent for many.
And thus we are forced to do something with our lives. To live under the consequences of an imperfect, sin-filled world.
Yet, do we have to conform, even then?
Just because what is the perfect will of God can't be fulfilled now doesn't mean we have to resort to playing society's game. No.
We can still let God be our focus. Not career, nor money, nor fear of the future.
We can base decisions on the talents and opportunities God has given us – not the debt-filled world society offers.
We don't need to be successful in anyone's eyes. Just do what is right according to God's standards and leadership.
It's OK to stand against the expectations of everyone, to appear unsuccessful.
I think this should be our standard. It doesn't matter if we are or aren't "successful". Whether we decide to go or not to go to college. What matters is how we follow God and the actions and words that proceed from our internal beliefs.