I have walked around for several years and never fully been happy about life. Then about two years ago I considered traveling as my way to find the joy of life again. I am now 18 years old and attending high school. I am in the middle of my second year (the education takes threes years). Since I started I got quite serious about quitting school and doing what I love. I talked to many people about it: friends, family and strangers. They all gave me quite the same answer: “Finish your education and then go travel”. Then about a half I met people telling me otherwise. They told me to do it! To stop caring so much about what everyone else told me. To stop following the steam. Instead I should put the same amount of energy to what I really wanted.
So, then I started wondering. What do I really want? Well that question I found to hard. Instead I asked myself. “Am I happy?”. I got to the answer: “No. No I sure was not happy”. Then I, again, decided to share with friends and family. There answer was again almost the same: “Of course you cannot be happy most of the time when you are attending school. School is not suppose to be fun, but it will get you further in life.”
Then I started wondering.. “Could I be happy. Maybe not all day, but almost every day.” My answer was: “Yes, hell I can!”. So realizing this made me think of the basic factors to why I was not happy. I got the conclusion: “Every day I go to school, not because I want to but because the society “told me to”. So every day I am doing something that I am not even sure I want.”
Therefore I thought deeply and long about it and I realized that what made me unhappy was attending school, because this was not what I wanted.
So skipping to short I decided to quit school! I have now told some friends and my school counselor that I am quitting as soon as I am out of my apartment. I have given my letter the notice of me quitting the apartment and am now planning to do wwoofing in Portugal.
With all this. I wish to ask you all: “Are you fully happy with your life or are you really living the life of someone else?”. And I want you to really think it over before giving the answer, because it is something that is hard to realize.
@puff, I think that for your age you’ve had yourself a very early and much needed epiphany. I’m a bit older than you now but I have found my love traveling as well. I won’t lie to you though it’s taken me longer because I did do the whole school gig even putting my four years in at a University for my “higher education”. I don’t regret a second of my time in school however as painful as it may have been at times. Thinking about it though only reason is because I didn’t do it to make anyone happy. I did it to chase my overall dreams. After it was all said and done it led me just far enough to reach my dream of playing professional baseball. By this time though I had played enough competitive sports throughout my life to finally realize what I really loved about the whole deal. It was the travel. I have continued to use baseball to this day to travel to other states, countries and continents. All in which I have gotten to not only experience the local cultures but live with locals as well. I am playing now in Australia for a second year where I have found a true home away from home. Just one of many of them really but one I couldn’t wait to get back to. I heard a quote a while back that said travel really is the only thing we pay for that makes us richer. I couldn’t describe it any better than that really. With an attitude like yours you can get as much as you want out of your years on the road. Wwoofing will be a great chance to not only see the world but experience it. Don’t just plan on it though, DO IT. Your education will come whether it’s written in a text book or not. I found happiness because I did what I wanted to to get there and I’m even happier to hear that you have so early. Different paths but a similar passion. In your travels always try to remember the J.R.R. Tokien quote: “Not all those who wander are lost”.
True happiness is developed when you are able to choose to be happy with any situation. Many people expect happiness to be waiting for them if they just did “X” or had “Y” but that is a passive way of living – the dream is almost always over-idealized, and your realistic mind usually wins over momentary bliss. Life is far from perfect but you can appreciate the many opportunities that are given to you – especially the hardships. The difficult times will teach you the lessons that you may never have learned if you were always happy, so don’t run from them. Instead, invest all of yourself in whatever path you choose so you don’t end up with regret. “The grass is always greener where you water it.” Good luck.
@puff, This is pretty cool to think about for me since i just recently started looking at my life and trying to figure out if i was really happy. Asking myself questions like: What do i love? Why am i working at this job? Why havent i traveled the country? Etc. Its good that you are younger and asking yourself these questions, as it has taken me 25 years to reach this point and i have already completed school and done what is “normal” for our society.
Personally i have gained a much higher respect for learning and education since i have started my “transformation”. i find that i am always in search of learning more about life, cultures, history, society, government etc. The more i learn the more i am able to talk to people about the issues i see we are facing. What im getting at is that i have decided education is important, but albeit not for everyone.
I am glad to hear that you are planning on traveling though because it is really important i think to see the world and see how others live. We are so sheltered here in the US and think we deserve our lifestyle, so going to other countries would be really eye opening i think and make you appreciate life more and maybe even spread that knowledge to others when you return.
I am lucky enough to have a job now that will also allow me to travel and i am in the process of making plans to travel to Florida, Cali and Colorado and other states for the next few years. So as far as your situation, if you have decided to quit school and travel, i hope that you find something that you love that will allow you to be happy once you are done traveling. There are plenty of successful people out there that didnt go to college, and you can easily make it in life without schooling, but i say just make sure you are constantly learning on your own. It will help you make decisions in life and really help you on your journey to happiness.
It looks like i’m reading myself when i read your post lol!
I’m EXACTLY in the same situation as you except that i’m 22 today almost 23 en January.
I wasted two years by going to university but didn’t like it at all, it was so boring, like if i was an ET which came to the wrong planet, i miss class a lot!
Then, in June 2012, i decided to quit studies! I had enought, i don’t like this social system: go to school, consume, work and die. I don’t want an ordinary life doing what others were doing since many years, i wanted to live MY life!
Actually, if i had a good health, i would be travelling around the world. And for the job, i’m an “artist”, i love writing and creating jewelries and graphics designs. So i decided to open a shop with my handmade jewelries and others things, making all that into a business and get a living with my creations.
So i will have time to travelling when i could in the future and spend time with my others passions.
However, my parents think i’m always in university, i didn’t have the guts to tell them that i quit lol.
@broccolirob, Wouw, thank you so much! Sorry for my late reply I was just so overwhelmed with happiness for all the responses here. For you I must say it is nice to hear about your experiences. I think you are right about the thing with education. For those who do it because they really want I think it must be a great experience. But for those who has not chosen it because they wanted to but only doing it because “you are supposed to” I think is given a bad experience with it all. I guess it is much like everything else in life. Whenever you chose to do something because you found that specific thing amazing, well then I believe you will have an amazing with it. Good or bad, it WILL chance something because you did it because you believed it was the right thing to do. And, thank you for the quote I shall try to remember it whenever I feel lost =].
@jkim1233, Thank you for your respond. Mostly I agree with you. I agree that you should not run from the bad times however I also do believe that if you find yourself in a place you do not wish to be any more, then I believe you own the right to break it up and follow whatever bliss you have found.
@reinvented2012, I will give you a big thanks to your respond. I found it great to get a view of your thought. Also it is great to hear that you are also asking yourself these questions. I agree with you about learning. Like you I think it is very important to constantly learning. How you do it is up to you, I mean whatever makes you happy you should go with it. Also what you chose to learn is a choice of your very own just, as you said the importance lays in being able to learn all the time.
@aleen, This is really interesting to hear. I think it is good that you found the thing you love and started doing it seriously. I do found it sad that you feel you wasted to years in university because I do not believe in regret. I do not think you should regret it, I mean it must had taught you something? I just think that even when something bad happens you learn something and knowledge, I think is amazing. I hope you get on well with your plans =]
That’s quite a selfish question… Am i happy? It’s easy to forget that no man is an island, and we are all entangled in love, family, relationships, and yes responsibilities. I don’t know about your family situation, but it would devastate my mother if i were to quit school and wander about with no financial support or real plan of action. My happiness is so intertwined with my families’ happiness that it would hurt me more to disappoint or upset them. This life requires constant sacrifice and compomise and i do applaud you for being strong enough to step out on your own and create your journey instead of apatheically accepting what is handed to you. Just remeber that there are people who love and miss you and your absence may bring them pain. Good luck on your journey @puff
@puff, hey, same position. but i decided to finish high school. I need University Entrance credits here in NZ, and the scholarships that accompany it so when i come back [which i know i will] i still have the opportunities open to me. The moment i finish though, i’m out of here. I have this insatiable lust to experience the world.
Point is, do what works for you. I know what i need and you know what you need. Best of wishes dude!
@puff, I went through the exact same thing when I was 19. I dropped out of engineering school despite everyone’s advice. Moved to new York city. Worked as a type guide until I had saved up enough money to backpack India for 6 months. After three years out of school I am now back in college preparing for a career in something I am passionate about.
Who knows where I would be if I had listened to what everyone told me. I am happy and know that I am on the right path. Not many people can say that.
Do what you love to do. Live how you love to live. Diplomas and degrees arent the answer. You should be in school only if that is where you want to be.
Im sure your life will be incredible. I’m so happy that you posted this question.
Two ways to look at it, one is “life is too short, do what makes you happy right now, fuck society, fuck the man,” the other is “put in work now to be happier long term, delayed gratification shows self control, fuck hippies.” Neither is right or wrong.
@bornagaingenius, well I sure do believe you have a point but I am not sure I agree with you. If you are constantly to base your choice of the people that love you how can you ever feel happy? Of course you should not do anything to deliberately hurt another human being but I do not believe that you should not stand by your own choice because your family might get upset. I mean, of course someone will get deeply hurt if you choose to travel away for a very long time but if it is what you would like to do then I believe you should do it. Thanks for the luck.
@francina, thank you for your reply it is always interesting to hear a different point of you. Best of luck to you!
@bobbylloydxd, Wauw, thank you so much I got really happy reading your reply! I think it is amazing what you did and also so great that you are now doing something your feel determinant with. I wondered if you would maybe tell me about your travel to India? I would love to hear about it =]