“Well if you don’t go to grad school, what will you do?”
The professor glared at me, confused—as if graduate school were a life or death decision. It wasn’t the first time I’d been asked that question. That’s why I hated it –it felt like a trap. I needed to break free.
I scanned his office. The ‘Bachelors of Science in Accounting’ degree and ‘Certified Public Accountant’ certification caught my eye. I was about to give all that up…on a whim.
“I don’t know. I guess I have to figure that out,” I chuckled.
I packed my things and thanked him for the advice.
I was free. For the first time, it felt like I chose life. I swapped a future of security for one of uncertainty.
And I was petrified.
But also excited–because there were no longer any limits.
For the first 21 years of my life, I had a set plan. Society laid it out for me. I shoved that plan back in their face.
Now, anything was possible. I could be a star, or a dud. But I had control–and it was exhilarating.
It’s been two years since that day. I’m not a millionaire or a star…yet. (Although I’ve had a few close calls.) This path has been a crazy one. Twists and turns, ups and downs.
If I ignored my gut, went to grad school, and got my masters degree, I’d be working in a cubicle in a corporate accounting firm.
I’d follow the ‘expected plan’, and it’d look good. People would be impressed.
But I’d hate myself.
Instead, the past two years were filled with the craziest adventures of my life. Adventures that never would have been possible if I chose the conventional path. Here’s a few:
-Freestyle opened at a Big Sean concert
-Lived on an elephant themed houseboat in downtown Boston
-Picked up girls in Hollywood with the guys from Simple Pickup
-Went on a cross-country bus tour with the #1 DJ in the world, Hardwell, and shot confetti on stage
Along the cross-country tour, road every roller coaster in the Mall of America and experienced Niagara Falls–with two of my best friends
I used to look at people in my corporate jobs (I had a couple over the past two years)…”Is this it?” I would think. “Are they cool with this life…cool with being in this office for the next 5-10 years?!” And then, uncomfortably, I’d look within myself, and realize I was in the same position. And if I was going to get out, I’d have to save myself…because nobody was swooping in to rescue me.
After I quit, there were tough moments. Times when I couldn’t see the light and I thought I’d resort back to a cubicle job. I had to move back with my parents to save money. People thought I was a little crazy.
But somehow, some way, things always worked out.
Two years ago, I was a different person. A validation junkie. I spent my life trying to look good, and avoid looking bad.
I haven’t completely escaped the need for validation. A part of me will always enjoy it–I think it’s part of human nature. But the difference is, I don’t let it run my life anymore. “Looking good” doesn’t factor into my decisions.
I’m just trying to craft the best life possible.
And now, in 2 months, I set out on my craziest adventure yet: moving to Vietnam.
Sounds crazy, right?
“Dave…Why the F**K would you move to Vietnam?!?”
I’ve been asked this question countless times.
What most people don’t realize is that Southeast Asia is a hotbed of expat entrepreneurs. Not to mention, the cost of living is nearly half that of America.
It’s the first step on my adventure to travel the world. Networking with entrepreneurs, working from a laptop, and creating a whole new stream of possibilities. Massively changing my trajectory.
But really, what it’s about is hustling my ass off and enjoying life.
I haven’t ‘made it’ yet. No, not even close. I have a looooooong way to go. But I’ve managed to craft a lifestyle infused with freedom and opportunity, and the possibility of adventure. And at 23 years old, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
People say life after college sucks…and it does, if you live somebody else’s story. Get the job because you’re supposed to…the car, because it’s cool…the house, because you’re an adult…the wife because etc etc.
But, instead, if you completely stop giving a f**k about ‘looking good’, and choose to live life on your terms, then it doesn’t suck. Then, it’s amazing, and scary, and frustrating, and beautiful.
Then…your dreams are a possibility instead of an afterthought.
How do you feel about the ‘real world’? Does it suck, have you mastered it, do you miss college? What’s your next big adventure? Let us know in the comments below!