Having disagreed with much of Penelope Trunk’s advice yesterday, these are my six things that I am doing in my twenties to make my thirties better.
- Avoiding and paying off debt. I do not have credit card debt because I do not use credit cards. I use my debit card often, and I get my good credit score from my mom (thanks, Mom!). I don’t plan to open a credit card in my own name until I am employed full time again, and at that point, I still won’t carry a balance. I paid off my student loans earlier this year, which gave me the freedom to quit a job I didn’t like and pursue opportunities I really wanted. Paying off my student loans gave me the freedom to find a career that makes me happy today and is likely to continue to make me happy into my thirties and beyond. The only debt I still hold is a car loan from my grandmother for which she is not charging interest, so I’ve been slowly paying it back over time. I’d like to focus on paying it back now that I’m working again, and hopefully as my income rises, I can pay higher amounts. It will absolutely be gone before I’m thirty.
- Working a low paying job in a career I love. Like I said above, I used to work a job I didn’t like. Before that I worked a job I liked okay, but it didn’t pay very well. Before that I worked a job I didn’t like at all it also didn’t pay very well. I took each job because I needed money. This is the first job I’ve taken because I thought I would love the work. I do love the work. I love what I do. I love the company that I work for. Every day I know that I am living my purpose. I’m not making much money right now, but I like going to work, even on the weekends. I try not to worry about the money (if you read this blog regularly, you know that I fail at that) because the money will come if I follow my passion.
- Finding my passion. Finding my purpose. I read a lot of self-help books. They’re corny sometimes, but they do help. Between The Artist’s Way, Your Money Or Your Life, Suze Orman, and The Success Principles, I’m looking for a lot of advice. I’m trying to know who I am now so that I don’t wake up in ten years and wonder how I got so far off track. My purpose is to facilitate the growth and success of women and girls using my creativity with serenity. Guess what? That’s what I get to do each day!
- Questioning the status quo. People say that you have to have a car in San Diego. I’ve lived here long enough to know that’s just not true. Sure, you can’t live in Bonita and work in Sorrento Valley without a car, but can you live in Mission Hills or North Park and work in Hillcrest or Banker’s Hill? Absolutely. I question my status quo constantly. Can I spend less on groceries? Can I bike to practice? I haven’t tried this yet, but it is probably easier than I’ve imagined.
- Living within my means. I don’t do this well all the time. Things come up, like an oil change or a case of pinkeye. But I try. I know I don’t have the money to go out to bars and restaurants, so I’ve stopped going. It hasn’t felt like a hardship, bars and restaurants just aren’t part of my life anymore. My entertainment has gotten cheaper: running and knitting and reading, all things I can do for almost free. This is the most challenging thing I am doing in my twenties to make my thirties better, but it also has the highest rewards. If I can live on less than a thousand bucks a month (and I have yet to see if this is true but this is the goal), then imagine how much I’ll be able to save when I’m earning more.
- Practicing positivity. It is not easy to look on the bright side, which is why so many people don’t. But my life is better when I believe the best about people. There are women I work with who often have something negative to say about a school or a group of girls, about how little we earn or about someone else’s attitude. It is easy to be sucked into that mindset and forget that each school is doing its best, each girl is interesting and funny (especially the challenging ones), our work is fulfilling, and our coworkers are caring and bright. This is not to say that the negative is never true, often both the negative and the positive exist simultaneously. But pragmatically, which side helps me more? Which side makes me happier? The positive side, so that’s what I hone in on. I choose to be obstinately positive because it is pleasurable and it shocks other people’s sensibilities.
I don’t always succeed at these six things, but I try and these are the six things that I think will really make my thirties wonderful.