In the last article of this series, stop this train, I wrote about the train of life, full of expectations and formed by what everyone else is doing. This train has something scary. It can make you feel like you don’t have control, that it won’t ever be able to stop even if you wanted it to, that you’re attached to the rails but don’t even know where they are leading to. On the other hand, this train has a calming effect and can give you a safe feeling. You know what to expect, you can follow the beaten paths: go to school, go to uni, work. There is always an indication for what the next step may be, simply because everyone else is doing the same thing.
I was in that train myself. After high school, I chose for a study and became a student. I started specializing myself on certain topics. I decided to go abroad for a semester. With always the idea in mind: there are still some years to go, I will be in this place for a while. The future will sort itself out.
And then suddenly that future became the present. Or that was at least how I felt. Last spring, suddenly I fully realized: in a few months, I’ll be graduated. And what next? What will happen to the dreams I had? Will I continue the road in this train, or will I step out just for a short while to see what’s happening outside?
That was what I was talking about last time. That train. Sometimes limiting, other times giving you the safe feeling you need. I can’t decide if it’s a good or a bad thing. However, there is something else I found out: working life isn’t as bad as I thought.
Life isn’t over after you graduated
I always thought that life would be over after graduation. What I mean by that, is that I thought that the times of carelessly dreaming would be over. Once I started working I won’t ever be able to reach my dreams anymore, so I’ll have to let them go, is what I thought. Now, while I’m interning for three days a week, I’m slowly finding out that it’s not like that. Maybe work is even better than studying in working for your dreams. Because when you work, in a lot of jobs your working day will be from 9 to 5. And that’s it! Unlike studying, where you’re constantly busy with your projects both in time and mind, a job can give you some extra time to work on those side-projects.
Earlier in this series I wrote about the podcast Millennial. From the moment I started listening to this podcast I was a fan, and I still am. Megan takes her listeners into her life as a graduate, full of dreams and ideals but also insecurity about the future. I have currently finished the first season and the end of this season perfectly fits to what I’m trying to say in this post: working life can be combined with pursuing creative purposes perfectly. Megan decides to take a 9 to 5 job, a nice one, but not as exciting as she may have wished for. However, this gives her time and opportunity to work on her podcast during the night, a project she does feel passionate about.
What is success?
Also, I try to keep in mind what I’m actually striving for. And that’s simply: to be able to do the things that make me feel energized, that I would be able to do all the time. The things that make me forget about time. There are a lot of things that make me do that. And of course I want to get better at those things, improve myself. Being seen and being recognized would also be very nice. But the most important thing is that I don’t aim for some kind of success that can be measured in numbers. This fact gives me a lot of freedom to feel already content with what I’m doing right now.
Of course something else is true for everyone, which is exactly what people talk about when they say “your definition of success”. And although it sounds logical, it might be something to consider. Too often I catch myself thinking: I am still not world-famous because of my music, why am I still even trying (a little bit exaggerated, but you get the point). But my definition of success is not to be famous at all; I just want to keep doing what I do!
You see: I’m trying to be a little bit more content with what I already have. Because it’s a lot, actually. At this particular moment in my life I really have nothing to complain about. Sometimes that feels like a surprise to my brain, which is always searching for something negative to whine or worry about. But no, although there are a lot of things to learn still and not everything is always going according to plan: life is good. And that should also be said from time to time.