Career: How to Live Your Best Life When You Have No Career Aspirations | Asian Version

The Alphabet Issues is a series of articles discussing issues that is inspired from one word, and will be published alphabetically (A, B, C, etc) on MichxWanderlust. Some lesser-used alphabets (X, Z) will be skipped due to a lack of word usage/ inspiration from any words beginning with that alphabet. 

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I've recently read about the FIRE movement - Financial Independence, Retire Early.

Um, that's all I always wanted, except when I mention that I'd like to retire, I always get this:

"Aren't you too young to be thinking of retirement?"

Honestly, I don't know what age has to do with retirement. I want to "retire", aka leave the rat race which I am currently in, and "work" on the things I want to work on, which MAY not bring in as much money BUT makes me so much happier.

Ain't nobody paying me to write this piece, you know (but if you want to PLEASE do)?

Yet compared to the work I'm actually paid to do, I share my own writings so much more. I want to go from "writer with a day job" to "full-time writer", and having enough financial security to never have to go back to the rat race is something I REALLY want.

So yeah, no, I'm not "too young" to be thinking about retirement. My "retirement" is me living my best life, working on the things I love with no financial restrictions, thank you very much.

If I were asked to picture my perfect retirement, it'd be like this to start with:

1) Living in a small, Muji-inspired house with plenty of land for nature,
2) Several pets that have land to roam about,
3) Near-ish the city BUT not too near,
4) Near gorgeous well-kept parks and beaches,
5) Friendly locals who also respect your privacy,
6) A perfect blend of traditions and modernity,
7) Great public transport,
8) A relaxed pace of life in the community,
9) Good Internet connection 😂, AND
10) A library of books I love.

I went to Kamakura last year, and it just made me feel like it's the perfect place to live in. It's 1.5 hours away from busy Tokyo by train, and the vibe is relaxing without it feeling stilted or left behind by modernity.

The people we met were friendly without being in your face, there were Shiba Inus all around (YASS), AND there was a Ghibli store (Donguri Republic)! Plus there's nearby Enoshima island, famous for HOT SPRING BATHS.

Typing all these made me want to move there and just enjoy a slower pace of life already.



Oh right. I'm supposed to talk about career aspirations.

Well, in an Asian sense, I guess I have... none.

Doctor? Lawyer? Accountant?

Yeah, no.

Business owner?

Um...

CEO?

Eh...

See what I mean?

Like I had no inclination for popular Asian occupations (much to my mother's dismay) already, BUT in all the companies I've been in, I've also not really had... drive... to aim to replace the CEO, or even Chief of my department.

I'm not lazy (though I can be). I just don't think that being a C-suite professional suits me, though I may still change my mind in the future. It all looks like it will take a big mental toll, and I don't think my mental health can take that kind of stress.

I want a quiet life where I can just get by.

I guess I could be a business owner. If the business was a quiet bookstore that can still be kept in operation despite not having much profits. 😂

Everything I've typed so far has probably really made me seem like the non-ideal Asian child. Asian parents will probably point at me and say to their kids:

"You better work hard or you'll end up like this." 

💁‍♀️

However,  there ARE ways to keep your Asian parents from being TOO disappointed in you when you didn't end up being a doctor, even if you're a lowly paid person.

The keyword is "too", because they'll be disappointed in something somehow anyway even if you became a doctor.

Here's how to NOT encourage more nagging from your Asian parents:

1) Don't Ask Your Parents for Money, and

This is self-explanatory, really. The moment you ask your parents for money once you've graduated from college, you're pretty much opening yourself up to:

a) lectures,
b) gossip, and
c) never-ending lifetime reminders of how you're an adult but you still had to ask your parents for money, YOU should be the one giving them money.

2) Give Your Parents Money.

I've given my parents money ever since I got my first job. In fact, in my first job, it was 25% of my income.

😶

No idea how I survived back then, but anyway, at the very least *I* wasn't the topic whenever it came to ungrateful children leeching off at home without paying rent/ electricity/ Internet/ water/ etc bills, OR selfish children who left for other countries and never ever sent money back home to their parents, the brats.

#modelchild
#yas

Your Asian parents will still probably find something to be disappointed about, but not asking them for money AND giving them money will lessen the nagging by at least 30%.

I don't know about you, but that seems like a worthy trade-off for a peaceful life.

3) Live Life on a Needs-based, not Wants-based, System



For most people, we share the same basic needs: a) clean food, b) clean water, and c) safe shelter.

Then for most of us who aren't living in an isolated Amazonian tribe or nudist community, we need: d) running electricity and water, e) Internet, and f) decent clothing.

That's it, really.

Of course personally, other people may consider "travelling" a want rather than a need, but to me, "travelling" is very much a need for my mental health.

When I get my salary, I make sure I set aside an amount each month for each "need" category, as well as an amount for other things like debt, commitments AND savings.

PAYING OFF DEBT FIRST IS VERY IMPORTANT LET ME STRESS THIS PLEASE. 

Whatever is leftover is what I get to spend on "wants", whether it's a new video game, book, or clothes.

Will more money help me live a better life? Well, yes, such as getting to travel more, but when you have no career aspirations?

This is you living your best, stress-free life on the salary you're drawing, having your basic needs met without having to stress about getting more money.

A Disney happy ending doesn't have to mean getting swept away to the castle by Prince Charming. For some of us, winning the war against extreme capitalism and STILL not dishonouring your family is a good ending already.

I would like Shang to pop up anytime now, though... he can stay for dinner forever. 😏

4) Set Aside An Hour a Day on The Things You REALLY Want to Do | Build Up Your Base, and

This is me making an assumption, so disregard this if it doesn't apply to you, BUT I think most people who don't have career aspirations have aspirations ELSEWHERE.

For example, like me.

My dream is to write my OWN stories that people will not only love, BUT WILL PAY FOR.

Right now I am not there yet, which is why I'm working my day job. I also find it hard to write my own stories sometimes, when it feels like an uphill battle and it may not ever end up a paying gig anyway - just something I do because it's something I love.

Doing something I love is fine and all, but I also want to eat and travel, hence... day job to the rescue.

That said, I actively try to set aside a set amount of time to focus my personal writing daily, whether it's on the blog or for my creative writing. Take time to do the things you REALLY want to do, be it writing, singing, pottery-making, pole-dancing, and polish your skills at it.

Not only will it be great for your mental health, you can use these hours to someday live your best life... doing the things you truly want to do, and getting paid a living wage for it.

Nothing sounds better than that, does it?

5) Cultivate JOMO, not FOMO

The closest I have ever come to Fear Of Missing Out, I think, is when people are travelling to places I want to go to.

Apart from that, I have always felt the Joy Of Missing Out.

"Oh some people are at a club for a party. That looks so noisy and crowded. Ugh. So glad I'm in bed instead."

^probably me at some point when I'm casually browsing social media.

What does JOMO have to do with no career aspirations?

Let's be real here.

When you have no career aspirations unlike your peers who do, your income will be significantly less.

Therefore, when your friends start going to expensive restaurants you can't afford, start carrying exclusive branded bags, start sporting some sleek car to go to exclusive events... the occurrence of FOMO may be super frequent.

There's really only two things you can do about this:

a) actually get career aspirations so that your salary can advance enough for you to catch up with your friends, or

b) cultivate JOMO.

By coming to understand that everybody's path is different, but also knowing that it doesn't make your path any less because it's not as glitzy or fun, JOMO can be cultivated.

It all depends on what you want more of.

I don't want a career at the top of the rat race, but I do want peace of mind, financial independence, and to be able to live a life doing the things I love, making a living with the things I love.

That may mean I have less than those who earn way more than me, but I will never feel that I myself am lesser because of it.


I feel like I said something very zen so throwing in one of my favourite pictures I took which makes me feel peaceful when I look at it (torii gate at Itsukushima Shrine).

Do I want more?

Sure.

Do I want to get more by throwing myself completely into the work I currently do, by putting myself on workaholic mode 24 hours a day, even while I'm on holiday?

Not really... not even to achieve FIRE at a younger age (so maybe I don't want this enough? hmm).

In any case, I was always brought up to believe that I needed to work hard to earn more money, to choose good jobs so that I can earn more money, to keep working so that I can earn more money...

... in order to live a better life.

What nobody said was that everybody's definition of a "better" life was different, and I don't need huge houses or fancy cars to be living my "best" life. Those things also invite its own set of problems anyway, such as... greedy relatives, for example.

There are things about my life that I'd like to change or improve for the better, but I'd like to think that it's all a progress in movement for the best "best" life.

It may not be other people's ideas of the best "best" life, but it doesn't matter what they think about a life I am living, as long as I am not relying on them financially, and as long as I am content with my life.

That, is good enough for me.

Yours truly,
Miss Practically No Career Aspirations.

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