Here’s the deal. I’m 24 (25 in just a few months). I’m unmarried, childless, petless, and really have no qualms about trying new things (ie moving across the country to a place I’ve visited briefly … twice).
I currently make a living at a 9-5(ish) job, which is great. I work pretty regular hours, have a paycheck, health insurance, etc. I love my coworkers (probably the smartest people I’ve ever been surrounded by). I’m doing what I went to school for, and not to sound full of myself, but I think I’m pretty good at it.
What I’ve noticed lately is a rash of “I would totally do that if …” thoughts. Like, “I would totally adopt both a cat and a dog if I lived alone.” Or, “I would totally save up money and make a trip to Japan for the cherry blossom festival.”
I know these sound pretty random, but these are actual things I’ve caught myself thinking.
The most recent of these thoughts popped up while I was looking at BoingBoing this morning. I saw an article about the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms program (WWOOF), and was intrigued. Basically, you get yourself to one of hundreds of organic farms around the world, and work for the farm for anywhere from a few weeks to an entire harvest season.
Working may entail caring for animals, collecting, weeding, building repair … you work for as long as they need you, doing what they need you to do. You don’t get paid, but you have free room and board, and you learn the ins and outs of organic farming.
I realize this sounds like willingly going into indentured servitude, but it actually appeals to me. I’ve spoken before about how, while probably being pretty miserable, physical labor at least provides a sense of accomplishment. It’s why I always liked working in, and even weeding my parents’ large vegetable garden.
That being said, if I was living alone, I would totally do it.
And, there it is again. I’m only 24. I have no real responsibilities other than myself (and my boyfriend — we’re nearing the common-law stage, so I have to keep him in consideration). Should I be having these “IF” thoughts all the time? As far as I can calculate, me not being tied down makes this the perfect time to do this kind of stuff. Three weeks on a farm? Yeah, it might not be the best three weeks of my life, but it’s only three weeks.
Did I miss something by not really living on my own for a while? Not being able to buy a bunch of ridiculous throw pillows, plaster my walls with art that suits my taste, a pet that makes me happy, and do fun and wacky things without considering how it would impact someone else? Is there a stage between “getting on your feet after college” (read: living with my parents rent-free until I had enough money to GTFO), and “settling down with someone”?
It’s the only reason I can think of to explain the “IF” thoughts. And it kind of scares me.