I've come a long way since graduating from college: I landed a good job, bought a new car and condo, married the love of my life, and have traveled considerably.
Why is it, then, that I can't help but reminisce -- fondly, I might add -- about the days when I was a broke college student?
After giving this some serious thought, I arrived at a possible answer.
It isn't so much that life gets more dull as you get older. What it becomes is more predictable, and you no longer have the flexibility to do the things you did in your 20s.
Many of us spend the first couple of years of our college experience exploring which career paths we want to pursue. I myself switched majors once, and I know several people who did so multiple times.
Once we've pinned down a major, we usually have choice of activities we can partake in to enhance what we learn in the classroom -- from extracurricular activities to opportunities to travel abroad.
Then comes the uncertainty surrounding what company we'll work for once we graduate. We may ask questions like: Will I be moving to another city? Will I be working in a job that's even remotely related to my major? What will my starting salary be like?
After you've settled into a relationship and job, you find that life becomes a lot more cut-and-dried. There is no definitive "next step" other than the one you carve out for yourself -- on your own.
And becoming an adult comes with its fair share of hassles: bills, dealing with difficult people at work, and so on. Whereas switching majors didn't seem like a big deal back in the day, changing jobs is not a decision to take lightly, especially when you have a mortgage and a family to worry about.
Am I saying I would want to go back to my carefree college days? Not at all.
But it's easy to see how much simpler our lives were back then, not to mention the sheer freedom we had to set our own schedule. Now many of us are cubicle rats stuck in dead-end jobs we can't leave because we have to put food on the table.
It can be argued that having more money actually grants you more freedom to do things you couldn't enjoy while in college -- from road trips to fancy watches.
Still, young adulthood offered a world of possibilities. Back then, it was more about the journey than the destination.
Now that we've arrived at the destination, we might like what we see, but miss the days when things weren't as clear-cut -- when we had more leeway to explore, mess up, and wonder what came next. As adults, we don't get those opportunities anymore.
As I've stressed in other posts, all we can do now is set goals for the future. Whether it's to learn a new language, lose weight, or become the next Bill Gates, we must always challenge ourselves to shoot for something better.
Your life can be stable without being entirely predictable. Aim to inject spontaneity into your day, even if it's something as small as taking a different route to work or eating sushi for the first time. Realistically, though, with so many more obligations to tend to now than in our younger years, it's bound to take a little more work on our part.
We all have days where we wish we could relive the past. Since that's not possible (other than by revisiting old pictures and listening to songs from that time), we might as well make the most of the present!