The last time I posted here, I had just begun (August 2015) an internship as a process engineer at a well-established company. I am a chemical engineering student, so I took the year off of school in order to gain work experience.
I finally finished up my internship this past August 2016.
The internship was great: I made a lot of money and met a lot of incredible people. The work itself, however, not so much – which is the worrisome part.
I’m too far into my degree to turn back now; I have exerted too much blood, sweat, and tears working hard through my classes to throw it all away. Especially because, from an outsider’s perspective, I’m on track for a successful life. But you know what they say – success if what you define it to be.
What am I defining as success? I like the approval of others, so in the future I would want them to see that I studied and graduated with a challenging major, am making lots of money, have a respectable job, lead a healthy nutritional lifestyle, keep up with my fitness, am writing a book, and succeeding in the real estate business (plus add husband /or/ wife, and kids to all of that).
But that’s ridiculous. I can’t do all of that. I can’t properly do everything I want to do and live a stress-free life. It frustrates me that I can’t.
Honestly, I just want to be happy. I don’t really care about making a lot of money (I’m a simple person), but I can’t just think about myself; I have to think about my future family and their needs, about my aging parents and their needs, and about my dreams of writing a book and starting a real estate business and the financial needs that THAT will entail.
The core of my conflict right now is that:
I need my chemical engineering job to be: my money-making mule to fund writing my book and the big plans I have for it, and to fund the purchasing of properties for my real estate business.
I need my writing of the book to be: the hobby that brings me joy, that hopefully will entertain other people of my similar taste frequency, and that hopefully I can also make money out of.
I need my real-estate business to be: the passive-income earner, the business that will allow me to quit my high-paying chemical engineering job and live off of my rental properties, no matter how meager the returns, as long as they are steady.
Bottom line: I don’t want to be or work as a chemical engineer, but I want to do it because I want to earn their crazy high salaries in order to help me achieve my other two goals. And once I achieve those two, I want to retire early, so that I can live the rest of my life doing the things I enjoy.
But I’m a realist, and a very pragmatic person with economic sense. My internship made me realize, that I come home exhausted from work. I barely have time to cook, shower, relax, and then sleep. Only to start it all over again the following day. And that was just with me living alone. Can you imagine the responsibilities once I have a family? Where in that schedule could I even fit the ambitions of founding a real estate business or writing a book? Nowhere. Maybe my weekends. But do I really want to spend my weekends working when I could be relaxing and recovering in order to face yet another grueling week of work?
It makes me sad, that I am starting to see my future, and I can’t fit in everything I want to do. I’m feeling trapped. I’m feeling like I’m slowly working towards wasting my life away. Every day I tell myself – “I’ll work on the book a little today” or “I’ll read up on real estate a little today,” but something always gets in the way. Right now, it’s school. Engineering is a rough major; I must study all the time if I want to pass my classes. And being on scholarship, I can’t risk slipping. Every time I’m not studying, I must be either working on my fitness, relaxing, or sleeping, because I need to recover. I can’t “work” more (i.e. write my book or read up on real estate). I need my rest.
Each and every day, I edge close and closer to graduation, and I let myself just ride the wave of compliance, because I have no time to achieve anything else, and graduation date itself seems like a death sentence. The finish line after which I’ll be forced to join corporate America in order to survive and make ends meet. Sure, I’ll live a comfortable life outside of work, but I fear falling into depression because my work will make me so unhappy. My health will suffer because of my stress levels in such a fast-paced environment and the expectations laid down on young people so that I don’t get laid off/fired when ranking of performance comes around. I probably won’t have time for fitness, and if I do, it will cut into the time I could use to write my book or found my real estate business.
I will probably just settle into that mediocre lifestyle, and live and die as just “the average person.” I just wish I could do one amazing thing.
And it makes me sad, that so much potential, in me, and others who have ever had ambitions to be something else, are tamped down so quickly by reality.
How are you all hanging in there?