As I sat down to write out my goals for the new year, I asked myself what could possibly follow a year of adventure. 2016 will likely stay as one of the most memorable years of my life. I visited three foreign countries and made friends with other twenty-somethings from all around the world. I have now been home for about two months. In those two months I have found myself a boyfriend and a part-time job. I've continued to live on very little and I admit I have had to ask my parents for assistance a couple of times.
The truth about quitting your career and spending all of your savings to travel the world is that when you get back, you have a lot of rebuilding to do. That's what 2017 will be for me—the unglamorous truth that I am ready to face.
I've been reading a book about millennials. The author talks about how my generation has such a hard time making decisions. We were raised to believe that we could do anything, be anything and succeed at anything, no matter if we put effort into these things or not. When we graduate college we have so many open doors that more often than not we get overwhelmed and so we fail to open any of them. That's why so many twenty-somethings are still living at home, still working at a coffee shop and still unmarried. Where the generations before us stepped up and put on adulthood, marriage, career and family, my generations squeals at the thought of commitment for fear of missing out on an even better opportunity. In part, that's exactly why I jumped ship to go to Australia.
However, part of my evolvement in Oz was learning that it was okay to grow up. I needed to accept my adulthood and start taking charge of myself. The fear of commitment has been replaced with confidence in my future. This year I will rebuild my savings account. I will resume putting money towards a retirement fund. I will steadily seek out a career and I will not spend all my extra time daydreaming about traveling the world. While continued travel would be fun, the truth is, if I go on another big trip before the end of the year, I will be avoiding my responsibilities. I need at least six months to get my bills in order and another six to get everything in a steady position.
I'd like to say I traveled the world and came home to find a big-shot career in a big city that paid me tons of money and respected the fact that I took a year off to travel. But that isn't what happened. What happened is that I came home and searched desperately for a part-time waitressing gig and I am working that until another opportunity arises. In essence, I am starting over, back at square one.
It's not fun to tell you all the truth about my upcoming year, but I am an optimist and so I promise I will make the most of it. Meanwhile, I plan to continue my column for the Press-Leader with thoughts and stories from a millennial who is rebuilding. They will still be adventure stories, just in a different setting. Here's to 2017!