Life Off the Corporate Wheel

This is a guest post by Sara Chuirazzi.

This month, I started my summer internship. Even though I had an internship in my hometown last summer, this time it feels completely different. I’m living away from home for the first time (aside from the time I spend at school) and after I leave the safety and comfort of the home of my friends-turned-family this coming Sunday, I’ll be officially on my own. That being said, I’m lucky enough to have a ton of support from my parents and lots of good friends nearby.

Last summer, I worked Monday through Friday from 8 to 5, came home, showered, ate dinner, and went to sleep. I knew it was no way to live life longterm, but it was a means to an end, a way to make it through until classes resumed in mid-August. As I re-enter the corporate workforce this summer, with a December graduation date looming over my head, I face a whole different slew of questions and feelings this time around. First of all, what’s it going to be like to spend the rest of my life in “business professional” clothing? Are the days of purple fingernail polish behind me? Does this whole commuting thing get any better? (I’ll admit, these are on the more vain side of questions that have come to mind.)

Corporate Wheel

In all seriousness, my biggest fear is jumping on the corporate wheel and not knowing how or not being able to get off. It feels scary knowing that I will spend so much of my life in a cubicle and that my ability to travel and explore will be limited by the location of an office and the number of vacation days I’m allotted. You might be thinking, “Oh goodness, another spoiled millennial,” but I’m wondering if these insecurities aren’t mine alone.

For our generation, the phase of development between adolescence and adulthood has been given an official name: “emerging adulthood,” or the in-between age. Whereas in the past, transitioning from the teenage years into adulthood was more definitive (though maybe not any easier), most of us are now more dependent on our parents or other adults and mentors until later in life. We look to these people for emotional and maybe even financial support and for reassurance that we are making the right decisions. In a world that has told us that we can have and do anything we set our minds to, we might have a tougher time finding our way and making decisions. Not to mention that as living expenses continually rise and the job market stays the same, it’s even more difficult to make a clean break. It’s okay to need some support and guidance, and luckily, it’s usually available from somewhere if we make an effort to seek it out.

Last week, I saw the video above, and it totally humbled me. Jedidiah Jenkins left his job to ride a bicycle for seventeen months, from Oregon to Patagonia. His journey challenges to the rest of us to get out of our routines and pursue the things that scare, but excite us. He says, “routine is the enemy of time—it makes it fly by.Wow. How many mornings have you woken up looking forward to getting back into bed at the end of the day? How many times do you feel like you’re just gong through the motions of your day? Life shouldn’t be a means to an end. After watching the video, I was totally inspired to get out there and really live my life. No more work, sleep, repeat. Life waits for no one. It’s not about being fearless, it’s about harnessing our fears and using them to make positive changes in our lives.

“You may think I am prolonging adolescence and avoiding responsibility. Well, I can simply say that I am not impressed by grownups or their society. But I will also say that I disagree with you. The choice to pursue a dream, at the destruction of my comfort, with the loss of safety and certainty, all for the purpose of doing something that inspires others to a fuller life of wonder and creativity and quality, to me that is a burden of responsibility worth carrying. To me, that is growing up.” // Jedidiah Jenkins

Again, wow. Starting today, I’m promising myself to be more intentional about how I’m living my life because I want to be awake and alive.

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