Friday, 15 May 2015

Money vs Experiences


A year ago today was an emotional day. In the morning, I was so nervous I almost felt sick. For a few hours I was stressed beyond belief. Then I was relieved beyond belief. And then I was ecstatically happy.

It was my final exam of my final year at university. And at around 12 on 15th May 2014, four years of hard work came to a close. I had done all I could and my uni days were officially over.

I didn't have a chance to relax though - immediately I started trying to decide what to do with my life. And a year on, I am still trying to make that decision. I feel like I am in the exact same position as I was last year. I am still living in a shared house in Reading with three (wonderful) housemates. I am still in a job that pays an hourly rate. And I still have only just got enough money to scrape by. But more worryingly than all of that, I am still no closer in deciding what it is that I want to do with my life.

Actually I lie - I have decided what I want to do with my life. I want to be a novelist. And it's not one of those unrealistic dreams where I am wishing for it but not actually doing anything about it (like how I always say that I need to win the lottery yet I never buy a lottery ticket). It is a dream which I know I can fulfil and I have a somewhat brilliant idea which I have written 60,000 words of. But unfortunately society tells me that I can't just sit around writing despite this being how I would love to spend my life. No no, I have to go out and search for a career that I don't really want just so I can earn enough money to begin paying off my student debt and 'become a proper adult.'

And it made me think how much of our lives revolve around money. And how much of our perceived success is viewed through our income. Since when has life become no more than a series of numbers?

Yes I might not be earning any more than this time last year but since then I have had a wealth of other experiences and little achievements. I have progressed as a writer hugely, and in trying to complete my novel, which is very almost done (the first draft anyway) I have begun to take it a lot more seriously. My blogging has progressed too - I have started writing a few sponsored posts, I have been invited to a load of blogging events and, through them, met a wonderful group of bloggers. I have been contributing to several websites and, while none of them have paid me, I have absolutely loved the experience (particularly at The Daily Touch) and it has meant that more and more of my writing is being read. And last, but by no means least, I have become so much happier over the year, something I have had to really work at. And thrown off another descent into anorexia that was beginning to overwhelm me last summer due to the stress of my final year.

Just because none of these things have resulted in money (yet), does this mean the achievements should be diminished??

Using the same Blogpost title, I could have just as easily written about how having experiences such as travelling/theatre/concerts are more important than saving every single penny you earn. Which is also something I strongly believe.

I can almost hear my mum sighing as she reads that sentence. By that I am not saying you shouldn't save. You definitely should. But do make sure you have fun as well. Get out into the world, whether that part of the world is just down to the end of the road for a drink on a Friday night or jetting over to America for a few weeks of culture. And basically - live.

Regret is a horrible feeling. And you don't want to look back on your twenties wishing you'd stopped worrying about money and just enjoyed the fact you have no real responsibilities or commitments. So don't worry too much about your life's journey and where you are going to end up. Just try to make decisions that are best for you right now. And don't forget to applaud yourself when something goes well, however small or big this achievement is. When you starting doing that you might realise, your life is a lot better than you think.

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