writing

When Social Stigma Hits You All At Once

I always knew I wasn’t going to have money in my twenties. I wanted to be a writer. It’s nebulous whether I’ll ever have money. That was something that seemed like an easy trade-off when I made the decision to commit myself to my art as a teenager. I’d rather have time than money, and since then I have learned how to make the most out of a few dollars and entertain myself without spending much at all. I never questioned that my happiness would exist regardless of how much or little money I made.

But now my friends are all graduating with computer science degrees, biochemistry degrees, and all sorts of things that aren’t English literature. Suddenly I’m realizing that my friends are getting entry-level jobs that pay more than my major is ever expected to make me, even if I do go a professional route that’s more reliable than fiction writing. Do I have regrets? Certainly not, but it’s starting to feel weird in a way. It’s all fine and dandy to say you don’t care about money, but once you can start measuring yourself against your peers with some new standard, you inevitably do. It’s so impossible not to be constantly comparing yourself to others.

It’s hard to realize that I picked a path that is not only going to take longer to get going, but that even once I do get it going it won’t give me the financial resources to put me on the same tier as friends who went into the sciences. I wouldn’t want a 9-to-5 job for the world, no matter how well it paid, but that haunting voice of doubt that hides in your head starts pointing out that I’ll never have one…it feels like a missed opportunity. It’s hard to comprehend that all success metrics were not created equal. A nice, reliable paycheck is definitely a sign of success, but I don’t know anyone who considers it the most important thing.

I guess it is a strange, abstract sort of jealousy that dawns on me as I see that my friends are inherently instilled with passions that are lucrative. It is not that I wish I had picked something else to do with my life, only that I wish what I do love could be as neatly coupled with money as the medical profession and software design. There are so many interesting, wonderful, fun hobbies in life…why is it that I got saddled with the one that has next to no income associated with it?

I guess that’s just the way life goes though. I wouldn’t trade the course I’m on for anything. I can still dream about the possibilities too; maybe I will write that New York Times Best Selling novel someday. Stranger things have happened to stranger girls than I. In the meantime, it looks like I’m in for a little bit of a test run for my stoic philosophy. Worldly things don’t matter anyways, right? I should be glad I have such an opportunity to hone my philosophical well-being while pursuing what I love.

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