Almost six months ago I turned 25. Early on my birthday, I joked with a colleague that my days of rounding down to 20 were finished and now 30 was in-sight. My friend, twisting the knife as fair punishment for my feigned age-anxiety, pointed out that, actually, I now also rounded up to 50.
By no means did this make me feel old, but I did pause and think: I am halfway to 50 …. and what have I achieved? I looked to my resume:
- + High school valedictorian
- + WashU undergrad with College honors
- + Internships at Teach For America and Goldman Sachs
- + Business Analyst at McKinsey with offer to return after b-school
- + Fellowship at Khan Academy
- + 760 GMAT
Great … right?
But then I thought about what wasn’t on my resume (and things that my resume could not reflect)….
- + I had never lived abroad and my travel abroad had been limited
- + I never finished that book I started in high school and worked on in college
- + My physical health and fitness never took priority
- + My last visit to the doctor revealed I was low on vitamin D (not enough sun, she said)
- + My longest romantic relationship didn’t even stretch a year
- + AND, I felt tired and stressed all day, all the time (with an 8+ hour night of sleep feeling like a miracle rather than a certainty)
At what point had the destination eclipsed the journey? At what point did accolades and jobs and diplomas and bragging rights become more important than personal enrichment and happiness? And, most important, what could I do to reset the scale?
A friend of mine, maybe having reached a similar impasse (?), had already chosen to make his goals and his happiness his guiding star. His plan: quit work in January, move to NY for Hacker School, then move to Bali in May and work on a project of his own.
Like a good friend, at first I felt raging jealousy at the choice he’d made. And then, like a better friend, I began to talk to him more seriously about the path that led him to his decision. Realizing that his rationale was the final evolution of how my own thinking was taking shape, I asked if (or maybe I assumed? – sorry Joel!) I could join him in May.
So here we are: < 1 week before I move to Bali. Joel is already there (championing the way!). I cannot wait to follow his lead and kickoff my next quarter-life with an adventure all about the journey, self-fulfillment, and the lines that won’t be on my resume.
Bring. It. On.