Dear teenager, Money or happiness?

Welcome to adulthood, or at least a couple of years into late teenage-hood when you’ll be expected to have a clear plan on how your future will be like. It all seems pretty exciting at first when we take on this humongous task as though we are pros, but soon we realize that there’s more elements to planning a future than a movie date. Whether we want it or not, the day will come when we have to answer to society about how we have decided to define ourselves through professions. We will suddenly be showered with unwanted attention that we weren’t familiar in all of our young past, and the worst part is, we cannot get out of it. Now, when you’re reading this, I assume you are one of these three people:

Number one: You are a student who, regardless of whether you are good in academics or not, or involved in extra-curricular activities, you are completely unsure of what you want to do in life. Of course depending on your family background, you have either grown up in a household where you were taught that money is everything, or in a household that valued relations , love , and family values more than anything in the world. You are confused about what you really want in life and have a breakdown whenever you think about it, or ignore the matter completely thinking that there is still time .

Number two: You have strong opinions when it comes to taking decisions about your future and have a definite plan that you know will take you from point A to point B. However, this little voice in the back of your mind comes up every now and then to tell you to consider something beyond the plan you’ve painstakingly created for yourself. And you are left confused, but not as much as person one.

Number three: You are not entirely clueless, neither do you have a definite plan. You are good at so many fields that bring you contentment, but you have a hard time deciding on one. You think long and hard about this, and some friends and relatives try to give you their perspective , just to help you out, but it only seems to confuse you even more!

So, after you have identified yourself from one among the three, I’m going to tell you to sit back and relax. If you don’t have a proper chair, no problem, just relax . And if you somehow found yourself completely different from the three generalized “types” above, again, RELAX.
The facts of the matter are, whosoever you may be , are two things: Happiness comes before anything. Jot that down in your mind.

The second thing is that you definitely need a career plan.You are not alone in this struggle for finding a way to define your identity in this modern era. You are not the only one at whom fingers are being pointed at by family and friends. You are not the only one being compared to your same-aged cousins . YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Ask yourself this, and it may seem like a very Clichéd question, but where do you see yourself as in about forty years? Do you see yourself doing what you love, having given rise to a wonderful happy family, balancing both your professional and personal life, or do you see yourself grinding away day and night, making a lot of money doing what you thought you loved, but can’t help but think of it as a curse, and without a soul in the world to care about you ‘cause you put money first instead of being more human?

It is quite pitiful to know that a lot of people, who seem to be living luxuriously are in-fact so anti-social and emotionally burdened that they are sometimes witnessed taking rash decisions and even go to extreme measures, so as to end themselves in frustration.

Okay, leaving all that aside, let’s see how we should probably go about preparing a realistic career plan. But before we begin, I’d first advise you to trash society and what it has to say about your choices. And once you’re sure you are ready to make the right decisions for yourself, go through all of those events in your life, where you felt you were at your peak performing level, and actually felt good about it. It can be academics, a hobby that could potentially be a source of passive- income, or a sport you know you’re good at.

If you are really into science, or math, or any other academic field , or if you are a good dancer, singer or writer, or if you enjoy being a sportsperson, or if you’re good with computers, I don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t pursue them.
Somebody once said, that one must be able to love doing something so well, and much better than the others, that people actually pay them to do it. But beware, you mustn’t dive into multiple fields of your interest just because you’re fascinated by it for you’ll then end up as a mere “Jack of all trades” and a master of NONE. And we don’t want that.

If you enjoy acting, or if you are good with words, go for it. If you have won several accolades in a field and things are quiet obvious you would excel in it, then go for it. If you know you are capable of becoming a good teacher, go for it. If you have a burning force in you that is passionate about something and wants to do it well, then GO FOR IT.

Of course, things will not look so good initially, and you’ll probably sleep hungry or tired for days on end, even have sleepless nights during the time you’re working hard on something. But you’ll still stand out one day, for it is you who is passionate about something that only you know the most about..and have never once thought of giving up. Maybe you are a surfer, in a little hut on a coast, dancing with the waves trying to make your mark, or maybe you’re a research scientist, having locked yourself in your laboratory, working till the dead of night, or maybe you’re a writer like me, coughing up thousands of words everyday ‘cause they help show you the marvels your imagination can conjure.

The point is, find something you love doing and be passionate about it. It could be anything , and there are no boundaries. And strive to do it well than anybody ever could by learning from the best mentors. Never think about stopping, for if you do, you might as well drown yourself in a sea of people who have lost their self-worth and identity.

All the best. ❤️

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