“It’s not about time, it’s about choices. How are you spending your choices?” ~Beverly Adamo
Hi, my name’s Tash. I’m twenty-six years old and soon I’ll be living in a van.
My sister is twenty-three. She owns her own flat, which she shares with her long-term boyfriend and their pet tortoise. She has a well-paid job that she enjoys, and she even has a company car. For some people, this might look like she’s really got her sh*t together—she’s ticking all the right boxes!
And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying she isn’t! I’m very happy for her and everything she has achieved, and she really is doing a great job. But personally, this isn’t my idea of having my sh*t together, and it certainly isn’t a life I see for myself.
Yet the other day she said to me, “If you don’t get a house soon you’ll probably never have one.” My reply? “That’s okay, I don’t want a house any way.”
You see the thing is, everyone has these preconceptions of what it means to “do well” and “get your life together.” Do you have a house? A good job? Are you earning a good salary? Do you have a partner to share it all with? Will you be getting married? Are you planning to have children?
These are all things we are led to believe we should be working toward, because achieving these things will make us happy and complete.
Well, I call BS!
I don’t own (or even rent) my own house. Okay, I am married, but that certainly doesn’t prove I’m adulting well. I’m giving up a great job in order to pursue my career as a freelance writer, so as of March I’ll officially be unemployed. Oh yeah, and in April my husband and I will be packing up our entire lives and living in a van.
But do you know what? I couldn’t be happier or more proud of our decisions.
What Brought All This On?
Let me rewind. A colleague of mine recently turned twenty-six as well. As I stopped by her desk one day she said, “I thought I’d have my life together by the age of twenty-six.”
This got me thinking, what was her definition of having her life together? I told her, “If by the age of twenty-six you wanted to be happy, in a job you enjoy, and looking forward to your future, then you’ve got your life together, right?”
We all want different things from this life, but there’s so much pressure to follow suit and do what has always been seen as the normal or correct way of doing things.
I was that way once. When I was at university, if you’d asked me where I wanted to be by this age I’d have probably seen myself in a fancy PR job, living in London, navigating busy city life, all with a smile on my face and a decent amount of money in my savings.
Right now that sounds like my worst nightmare (and a far off dream as far as a good savings account is concerned!).
But What if That’s My Dream?
Please don’t for one second think I’m belittling or making fun of those who want to live the city life or settle down with a spouse and kids by a certain age. We are all different.
And this is exactly the point I’m trying to make. My husband and I agree that we don’t want to be tied down to one place, certainly not for a long time any way! Together we’ll be traveling the UK and Europe in our campervan. Then, when we’re finished with that, we’ll probably downsize our lives even further by living out of a backpack and going further afield.
Because for us, having our sh*t together means exploring new cultures. Being able to pick up and move on when we want to. Evening walks along the beach. Backpacking around the world. Waking up every day feeling excited and happy. Living our best life and being the best versions of ourselves because of our choices.
But again, I’m aware of plenty of people who would never want or choose to live out of a backpack.
The point I’m trying to make here is that having your sh*t together doesn’t mean conforming to what others perceive as normal or aspirational.
It’s about chasing your own dreams and finding what makes you happy. It’s about creating a life that you can’t wait to wake up to every day.
It’s about wholeheartedly embracing this short life and what it is you really want, whether that’s getting married, having kids, throwing yourself into your career, or in our case, exploring the world in a camper van.
There’s no right or wrong. There’s only what feels right for you.
Hi, my name’s Tash, and though I’m choosing an unconventional path, I have my sh*t together! How about you?