When you ask a kid what it wants to be when it grows up, it often answers based on what it likes to do or what seems cool to them. Now should you ask someone in their twenties what they want to do, the answer is often based on more practical aspects, such as how much money can be made in this job and how good it looks on your resume.
After four years of studying to become a social worker, I graduated and got a job right away. I worked 36 hours a week and had a pretty tough caseload. After more than three years of working that job, I realised that I didn't want to do it anymore. I noticed that all those conversations with- or about fighting co-parents, unsafe environments for children and other sensitive topics drained the energy out of me. However, I had a permanent employment contract and didn't want to give that up. So, I started to look for different positions in the foundation that I work for and there was an opening for a job as a management assistant. As a person that has planner written on her forehead, this looked like a perfect fit. But there was also a part of me that hesitated. Not because I thought I wouldn't like the job, but because I felt kind of ashamed to take a 'step back' from the job that I had studied for. I felt like I had to get a job that would really impress the people around me, or even myself. A job that would make more money than my old job did. And why? So that I could show off that I'm intelligent. That I can work hard. That I am ambitious. I was afraid that taking this job as a management assistent would make me feel less challenged in my work. But then it hit me. What kind of thought process did I create in my mind that caused me to believe that choosing a job that I really like, over a job that drained me of my energy, was a step down? Because my previous job was more emotionally challenging and it paid more? Well, if that means not being happy with something that I have to do four or five days a week, I don't want it. So I took the job and it turned out to be the right decision.
It’s the always striving for more, for something better, that messes with our minds so bad. We focus on money and belongings and always want (or think we need) more money to live a better life. But that is so not true! You won’t be happier when you have more money and can finally afford that brand new car. Ordering new clothes every week will only make you feel good for a few moments. Always having the next best thing will not make you a better or more fun person. Of course it can be fun to have new stuff, but in the end, that’s all it is. Stuff. Stuff that we tend to focus on, that can distract us from the things in life that really matter. We live in one of the wealthiest parts of the world, but are struggling with our mental health more than ever. Having a lot of money to buy and do whatever you want will not make you happy or improve your mental health in the long term. Please stop believing that you are more, because you have more. I did, and I can tell you that it has been the most liberating thing that I’ve ever done.