Well, being young, free, and experiencing every single thing in the world for the first time is a blessing. We all miss that feeling from time to time. Apparently, being young includes a few issues I am happy not drugging to my adult life. These issues exist on both sides of life: inside and outside of my head.
I’ll start from the outer layer, then move to the darker layers of that bright time. They say, memory gilds the past. Actually, I have a lot of very sweet memories from that time. They are connected mostly to people, fun we had together, first achievements. But I definitely don’t miss the layout.
In case you are not born Paris Hilton, your early adulthood is/was pretty much the same as mine, and a few billion other youngsters. High School/University, first shitty jobs and bosses from hell, living on bread and water to buy a piece of apparel, shared facilities and the feeling of not being a part of this world. And finally, add an introvert twist to the cocktail.
Here is my never again list:
- Keeping fit without any external effort. Walking to the Uni every day for about 1h15min kept me pretty toned. Naturally, there was public transport existing. Make Google search for “metro rush hours” in Shanghai, NYC, St. Petersburg or Moscow to get the idea. The weather was not always that sunny that I’d have liked it to be. Winters were chilly, wet and windy. Well, it bred my inner stamina. I’m actually glad that I completed my MD in a much warmer country than Finland.
- Doing school assignments at the laundromat. That sucked. About two hours of torture fighting others’ intentions to force me into a conversation, while I tried to hide behind my homework. The problem was, I really needed to complete that assignment for the next, no kidding. And two hours in the laundromat was absolutely impossible for me to use for idle chatting.
- Sharing room, bathroom and kitchen with roommates. Possibly, somebody really needs a company, at least more often than me. Practically, I ended up living a library nomad life. I left at 7.30am in the morning and came back at 9.30pm. It was an easy task to fulfil as all of our Uni premises were open till 8.10pm for students and staff, and sometimes we had classes from 9am to 8pm (usually 9 to 5 only).
- Being broke most of the time. Finding jobs was not a big deal. But for some reason, young people are supposed to be paid less despite their real contribution. I’ve done a lot of different jobs between the age of 12 and 20, when I graduated. The easiest money came from retail. The hardest – from a professional internship. Most internships I’ve done for free, which was definitely not always fair. E.g. 8 months internship with very real operational tasks. Time to time they offered me lunch.
- The inner uncertainty combined with the external pressure. Everybody seemed to have an opinion on who and what I should have been. My own opinion was the last in the row. Doubts were frequent guests in my mind and the outer layer of life was in pieces. I didn’t know what route to choose, where my dreams were supposed to roam and if it was financially possible to chase any. Should everybody have a dream? Or a greater destination in their life? The GOAL. What if I don’t? If I want just a life, not anything special. If career is not the only goal in my life, what’s then?
- Everything hurt much harder then than now. The first betrayal by a friend, a boyfriend cheating on me for the first time (*), first professional failure (**).
- Being a professional Duckling, thus dependent on others’ opinions. The lack of knowledge and experience in pretty much everything – life, profession, structure of the Universe – made me vulnerable and dependent on others’ opinions, knowledge and mercy. It was hard to be innovative, creative and inspired when I had to rely on others’ experience and points of view. Not to mention, that I made some really brave career decisions that were bashed, both into my face and behind my back (***).
(*) That boyfriend had a chance to cheat on me only once. The case was the one, where making up was not an option. So, I just turned my back and walked away. God knows what effort it did cost to me.
(**) I actually screwed up my first job interview. I didn’t fit their dress code and was so frustrated about it that I couldn’t get anything out of my mouth. Well, I put on the best clothes I had. The truth was, I had just that one set. My problem was that the company had a different dress code than the local ones. They could have mentioned it in the interview invitation but they wanted to check on the candidates if those are familiar with the company. I was also asked if I had visited the company’s site. Well, I hadn’t. That sounds crazy in 2020, right? In 1997 most people didn’t have the Internet at home. We used it in Internet cafes. It costed money. A lot. We were charged for each kilobyte transferred. Do you still remember (or know at all) what piece of information a kb stands for?
Oh, and I’ve got another job within a few days. With no dress code in use. Half year on I moved to freelance (which I am, ever since) and a year on I refused to accept the above mentioned company’s job offer as I made nearly twice the salary they could offer.
(***) Well, now I am a digital nomad with 20 years experience. When I moved to another country for the first time, it scared me a bit. Also statements like “you do it only over my dead body” don’t bother me anymore. Of course, I ignored it also that time. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be where I am now. It’s my life, and I live it just the way I want. Exceptions apply 😉
Via Per Aspera Ad Astra – blogger’s life with no filter
In Via Per Aspera Ad Astra – a road trip to the star
DIGINOMAD WORLD – “Wherever I rome, where I lay my head is home” – Metallica