Looking back on that sunny spring day when I graduated university in 2009, there was no possible way I could have predicted that I’d be where I am today — metaphorically and geographically. A lot has happened in these past 7 years. A lot that I didn’t plan and even more that I never thought imaginable. When I was 23 I honestly thought I’d become a filmmaker, would live in Vancouver for the rest of my life and would start a family at the age I am now.
Instead, I ended up working in marketing, moved across the country to live in Toronto, and got married but will not be popping out babies any time soon.
So what’s the lesson here? Nothing is permanent. You can try to plan out the next 5 years if you like, but honestly I think that 5-year plan of yours — no matter how well thought out it is — should be chucked out the window because it will ultimately hold you back from achieving some amazing things. And this is coming from the biggest planner in the world.
I love lists, calendars and longterm goals. But believing in any type of permanence has been my downfall. It’s when I’ve let go, taken risks and adapted to major changes in my life that I’ve experienced my biggest successes.
Your Job Isn’t Permanent, So Get to Work
We aren’t like our parents’ generation where we stay at the same company for 40 years then retire. Us millennials like to move around, whether it be to experience working in different industries or to switch careers entirely. That or we’ve been let go, fired, laid off because, well, the economy.
Whenever I find out someone I know has just gotten a new job with a pay bump and is already making plans for all that extra income, I seriously want to steal their credit cards and freeze them in an ice block. That job may be here now, but there are no guarantees for how long it’ll stick around.
That’s why I’ve always believed in having more than one stream of income. That’s right, I’m telling you to get a side hustle. You don’t have to become a blogger and start making money online, but take a look at your skills and figure something out. I have a friend who makes money on the side by helping artists apply for grants.
I have another friend who does voice work for commercials. My pal Jaclyn Phillips is a fitness coach on top of her day job. I used to be a teleprompter for the news and now my personal brand is my second business. You can do it too, you just need to pick something and get to work.
Your Stuff Isn’t Permanent, So Get Rid of It
I used to place a lot of importance on things, but after I had to sell everything to move to Toronto, it just doesn’t have that same hold on me anymore. Now when I think of stuff, I think “Where the hell am I gonna put that?” I’ve got everything I need and then some in my 1-bedroom apartment and I’ve never been happier.
I felt the same way when I came back from Africa at 18. I got so used to only having the bare necessities that when I came home I was repulsed at how much useless stuff I had in my possession.
Minimalism is honestly the way to go. The less stuff you have to weigh you down, the more freedom you’ll have to live your life, focus on your goals and put more money in the bank. This might even be a good opportunity to go through your closets and cupboards and get rid of anything you haven’t laid eyes on for more than a year.
I’m telling you, it’s incredibly satisfying saying goodbye to the past and hello to your future.
Your Life Isn’t Permanent, So Make the Most of It
I’m not saying YOLO, but I am telling you not to take your life for granted. Just by the fact that you’re reading this blog post right now, I’m guessing you’ve got a pretty decent life. You have access to the Internet, a computer and are interested in bettering yourself through personal finance. You should be proud of where you are today, but don’t let that stop you from going even further.
Have you always wanted to visit Paris but have never been able to afford to go? Set a date to go in a year and start making automatic deductions from your pay cheque to go into your travel fund. Have you always wanted to learn to take really amazing photos?
Guess what, there’s a thing called Meetup where you can actually meet up with other amateur photographers, take photos together and hone your craft. It’ll take you two minutes to make an account and a few hours of your life to physically do what you’ve set your mind to.
I’ll give you one more example of what I’m talking about. My husband has always wanted to go to this conference in LA, but he was always afraid that the trip would cost too much and it may not help his freelance business anyway. This year I told him to go. And he’s there…right now. I told him that even if he doesn’t meet some amazing client who will skyrocket his career, that doesn’t make or break a trip.
If he learns something new at the conference, makes some new acquaintances and comes home motivated to rock his freelance business even more, then that’s money well spent.
My Short-lived Career as a Filmmaker
To cap things off, I thought I’d share my last ever film project. This was my graduation film that screened at over a dozen film festivals (including the Vancouver International Film Festival) and had been locked into a distribution deal for the past 5 years.
That deal is now done so I can now legally share it on YouTube. Full disclosure, it’s a quirky comedy about religion and sex and there is some swearing.