Two months ago, I was about to graduate and super excited about my upcoming gap year. I had plans to volunteer at schools in Vietnam, to get my PADI diving licence in Thailand, and to work on my freelance portfolio while I was at it. I wanted to take my time exploring the places that intrigued me. And then I got offered an internship. A two-month editorial internship in Singapore, the kind of thing that someone with my degree is ‘expected’ to do once they graduate, and I got stuck.
I didn’t see giving up this internship as an option; it was a great opportunity to gain experience and to get some more print pieces published. Plus, I told myself, it would give me some more time to plan out the rest of my gap year, to really go do what I want; travel.
With this plan in mind, I started my internship. I was happy working during the day and planning my upcoming trips at night, that is, until they asked me if I could stay longer. They needed more help around November and December they said, and since I’d been doing good work, they wanted me to stay. And just like that, I was ready to give up my gap year plans.
For years, I have always said that I don’t want a 9 to 5, sit-behind-a-computer-all-day, kind of job. Because, no offence to anyone that does have this kind of job, that sort of life doesn’t appeal to me at all. I don’t want to be spending the majority of my day staring at a screen, immobile, churning out work. Instead, I want to produce quality writing that comes from the heart, and in order to do that, I know I need to write in spaces that are more natural to me. I need to be able to write when I feel passionate (this mainly being in the middle of the night), not when someone tells me to.
Some would say that I sound like a naïve girl who has no idea how the real world works, but they’re wrong. I do know how the real world works, and I want nothing to do with it. I know that society claims that having a full time job, buying a house, starting a family; all these things constitute as success. But this ‘success’ doesn’t align with my happiness, so I don’t want it.
I’m not going to lie, I don’t know exactly how I’m going to achieve the life that I so desperately crave, but I do know that getting stuck in a fulltime job isn’t going to get me there. I know that I will get accustomed to the money, the routine, and the longer I stay in it, the harder it will be to escape.
So I’m not going to take my employer up on their internship extension. Some people might see this as stupidity, but I don’t care. I’m living my life the way I want to, and working hard to get to a place where I can say that I am 100% content with every aspect of life. I know it’ll be hard at times, but at the end of the day, you need to be happy. Everyone’s happiness is different, and you need to be brave enough to chase yours. Try and block out societal pressures and just listen to you heart and intuition, because they truly know best.