Friday, May 7, 2010

Then do it already

I know a couple of women on Facebook, who regularly post status updates about how awful their jobs are, how their lives are so dull, and so on and so forth. This has been going on for months, and I keep wondering if it can really be that bad, because if it were, surely they would have made some changes in their lives by now? Sadly, many people are content to sit around and wait for things to happen to them, rather than going out and making things happen.

It's kind of a foreign concept to me. The little city I live in is lovely: it has all the charm of a small town, but plenty of the perks of a city (like 24 hour cafes). However, it isn't the place I want to spend the rest of my life, so I went and found someplace else to go.

Something we've discussed often here, or you might say is the whole reason for this blog, is making the most of your single years. We're big supporters of dreaming big (why dream any other way?). However, it isn't enough to say "I'm going to climb Mt. Everest!" You can spend your whole life wanting to climb Mt. Everest, just like my friends have spent years waiting for their lives and jobs to suddenly get better, but it won't get you any closer to your goals. The goal this sort of behavior is most prevalent with is earning a college degree. Nowadays you can spend seven or eight years in college without getting a degree, and in the cases I see most often, it's because student don't sit down with a curriculum sheet to review what classes they need, what they've already taken, and what classes are going to be available in future semesters.

It only took me three years to get a college degree, because I knew what I wanted: a college degree, and the 'college experience'. I took fifteen hours worth of CLEP tests (equivalent of five classes); took eighteen hours (six classes) two semesters in a row; and took two classes my second summer (and I still kick myself for not taking classes my first summer).

Let's say you do have a dream of climbing Mt. Everest. What would your to-do list look like? Train. Start setting aside money (it costs anywhere from $25 to $60 grand). Train. Learn to mountaineer. Train some more. It may take you a decade or so to do it, depending on when you get started and how dedicated you are to saving money, but it is achievable.

Most people have dreams that aren't quite as grand as that: maybe travel to a dream destination, own your own home, be debt free. These are all attainable, and if you know where to look there are plenty of people willing to tell you how they accomplished the exact same goals.

The biggest first step is to simply stop thinking about what you're going to do some day, and start thinking about what you can do right now. Right now, I can find out whether I need a visa to visit X country. I can find out when the high- and low-seasons are, and how much hotel prices fluctuate, how much plane tickets are. If traveling independently seems too intimidating for you, then all you really need to do is save your money, because there are plenty of travel agencies willing to do the leg work for you.

The most important thing to remember is that everything is so much simpler than people imagine it to be.

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