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Guest Blog: Stuck in Normal — On Adulthood, Careers, and Creating a New ‘Normal’

Hello, my dear Adulthooders! We are having guest blogs galore here on Welcome to Adulthood and I couldn’t be happier! I really enjoy hearing insights from other people as they blaze the trail of adulthood. This week’s guest blogger, Randy Crane, talks to us about how to break out of the “working to live” mold to create our own “living to work” lifestyle. Randy took a big risk and changed jobs entirely to find a career path that he felt really utilized his talents and interests. How’d he do it? Find out below.

Guest Blog: Stuck in Normal — On Adulthood, Careers, and Creating a New ‘Normal’

By Randy Crane

What did you want to be when you grow up? Who told you that you couldn’t be?

Maybe no one actually said the words, “Give up. It’ll never happen. You can’t do that.” But somewhere along the way, our dreams got put on the back burner, then the burner got turned off, then they just got put away somewhere. Oh sure, we never meant to give up on our dreams. We’ve always said that we’d come back to it someday…

Welcome to adulthood. Now, give up your dreams. Put the toys away. Forget fun. Forget meaningful work. Just find a job, do your job, hate your job, and live for the weekend. Thank God it’s Friday. Oh God, it’s Monday. It’s just the way things are, right?

Wrong! Somewhere we got the growing up means having to accept work that we hate (or at best, tolerate) and try to squeeze in everything we value and enjoy in whatever time we have left. I don’t believe that’s how we’re supposed to live, or how we have to live.

In his book “Quitter”, Jon Acuff says, “We’re becoming the ‘I’m, but’ generation. When we talk about what we do for a living we inevitably say, ‘I’m a teacher, but I want to be an artist.’ ‘I’m a CPA, but I’d love to start my own business.’ ‘I’m a _____, but I want to be a ______.’”

I’ve been there. I’m still there. But I’m not staying there. Not anymore. And I don’t believe you have to either. I’ve had a traditional job for quite a long time—and it feels longer than it’s really been. I’ve worked in retail. I was a pastor, and that was good, but I learned that what I had been trained for and the reality, were two very different things. I’ve done office jobs; in fact, that’s what I’m doing now. I don’t hate my job, but I certainly don’t love it.

Does that sound familiar? I’m here to tell you that we don’t have to live there. We can find work that is fulfilling, productive, meaningful, and profitable. It may not look like what our parents or grandparents did. It’ll be risky. If you try to do something different something outside the norm, people may not understand. Your friends might make fun of you. Your family may try to talk you out of it. They just want you to be secure, to be safe, to be normal.

If there’s one thing we’ve all learned over the last few years, it’s that guaranteed safety and security in a traditional job is a myth. And do you know what “normal” looks like? Normal is living with credit card debt, student loan payments, a car payment that could be a house payment in some parts of the country, and living paycheck to paycheck. It’s spending a quarter of our lives doing a job just for the sake of getting a paycheck, hoping every day we still have a job,  and trying to squeeze in that which gives us meaning and purpose in between all the rest. In other words, “normal” sucks! So I say that “adulthood” for me means it’s time to be weird! Who’s with me?!

Without intending to sound arrogant, I know I’m capable of so much more than what I have now. I believe God made me with a unique combination of skills, talents, abilities, dreams, and passions—which combine into what I call my purpose. When I live according to my purpose, I live in a way that gives me the most fulfillment and meaning, makes the biggest positive difference in the lives of those around me, and sets me up to really succeed—as I choose to define success, not as society defines it for me.

So, how am I doing it? I started a blog almost 2 years ago, with the goal of turning it into a book within the next 2 years (I’ve got a lot of material to cover). I’m working “on the side” (for now) as an independent travel agent, specializing in helping people create meaningful experiences through travel—anyone can just find cheap tickets and take orders, big deal. And I’m starting my own business as a life and career coach. Put these ventures together with some planning and goal setting and I’m on a 12-18 month path to move out of normal.

How about you? Are you stuck in normal? What’s your “I’m, but”?

***

Thanks for that great guest blog, Randy!

Do you have something to say about adulthood? We want to hear your stories! Email us at welcometoadulthood [at] gmail. com.

Photo by Steve Heath via Flickr.

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7 Responses to “Guest Blog: Stuck in Normal — On Adulthood, Careers, and Creating a New ‘Normal’”

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  1. Diane Krause says:

    Hi Randy,

    A fellow 48Days.net member here. Thanks for your words, and I totally agree. I’m doing the same thing. My kids just left the nest, so I’m actively working toward my dream of working with words. I’ve secured some freelance editing work, and just started working with a new digital publishing company as an editor, which has been great fun! I’m continuing to work on my writing goals as well. The self-development and skills progress has been good — now waiting for the monetary gains to catch up so I can call what I’m doing a real job! Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Randy Crane says:

      Hi Diane,

      Thank you so much for your feedback. I’m glad to hear that you’re making progress in pursuing your dream. That’s awesome!

      Keep moving forward,
      ~ Randy

  2. Hi Randy –
    Another 48Days.net member. Thank you for the post!! I decided a little more than six months ago that I was going to live my dream, so I started a blog and started writing my book. I make a little bit of money from it, but mostly it keeps me sane knowing that I am “living my dream!!”

    • Randy Crane says:

      Hi Teressa,

      Thank you for sharing that with me. The first step really is often the hardest. What is your blog?

      Keep it up, and keep moving forward!
      ~ Randy

  3. Randy … excellent post! I’m an engineer, but want to be a writer/author.

    You mentioned parents and grandparents in your post. I love exploring my family history. If we all go back another generation to great grandparents, we might be pleasently surprised at how they worked and how they pursued their dreams. As farmers, store merchants, gold miners my ancestors lived anything but a normal life. No leaning on the security of retirement or 401 k’s, facing a Great Depression, living during WW1&2–all of these forced then to live bold, resourceful and creative lives.

    I think many have come full circle. I commend you on your efforts to escape the corporate grind and pursue those things you really want to do.
    Godspeed

  4. Randy Crane says:

    That’s an excellent point! I think we need to be cautious of our motives, but if our dreams are for the purpose of helping people or otherwise making a difference (rather than gathering “stuff” or being selfish), then there’s a very good chance His desires are being expressed in and through us.

    Keep moving forward!
    ~ Randy

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