On that 9-to-5 grind

It’s my last day here at the National Air and Space Museum. How did that even happen? This summer has been probably one of the best I’ve had so far. I’ve spent 10 weeks in a great city, finally had a job where I got to work in air conditioning and do stuff that might actually be helpful for my career, met a bunch of amazing people, read a lot of books, did some yoga, played a lot of League, and really started to get my emotions together.

Oh, and I’m going to London in a week.

What?

This is my very first international trip. This shocks a lot of people when I tell them that. In the age of jet aviation, it would seem as if it was really easy to do a hop skip and a jump over to South Africa or Asia or oh my god you haven’t even been to England??

Yeah. Growing up in a single income family in Chicagoland, that money doesn’t go very far. Not to say that I never had great trips growing up. I’ve seen most of the East Coast, skiied in Vermont, been to multiple National Parks, State Fairs and seen my fair amount of cities. But I didn’t even remember flying on a plane before I had to fly to my grandfather’s funeral in 2012.

Despite all this, I’ve known I wanted to travel for a very long time. I love telling people that I have kind of an “aggressive wanderlust.” I can’t sit still for very long, and probably as a result of that, I don’t really want to stay in the same city for the rest of my life either. It’s a kinesthetic-tactile trait that has always plagued me; watching videos of myself as a child is almost painful because I won’t. stop. moving. As I’ve grown, the phsyicality of my need for movement has exploded onto a larger scale, and into this idea of aggressive wanderlust. There’s so much world out there, and it really baffles me that there are some people who would be perfectly content working the 9 to 5 grind every day, living in the same place for their entire adult lives.

This is something very important that working in an office all summer has validated for me. And something all the adults will laugh at, and I’m going to probably read back on this and think I was such a naive 20-year-old, but for me to really be productive, I can’t be stuck in the monotonous routine of everyday. I can’t wake up at the same time every morning. It frustrates and angers me; it’s as if I’m stuck on a hamster wheel that keeps going but never goes anywhere.

But everyone does it, you say, you’ll have to wake up and face the real world eventually.

Okay, probably. But there’s just something about knowing you’ll have to do the same thing every single day. Of sitting behind a computer for 10 hours and longing, wishing to go home. So many people say they can’t really have an office job when they’re younger, so what happens? Where do our dreams disappear to?

To be honest, I don’t like the separation of home life and work life, and this is one thing I’ve not only learned about myself but learned to incorporate into my daily life. I love when work and home and passion and productivity and inspiration and task lists bleed together. It’s most likely because of my eternal dream to be a novelist, where “work” means sitting down wherever you are and cranking out some words. That excites me. Not knowing what will inspire you or will require a reaction is an adventure.

For me, travelling and working have to combine; maybe not “travelling” in the strict sense of the word, but adventuring. Travelling can mean a trip across the world or down the street to a new gelato place. I’m not sure how yet; I know what I’d love, but not what realistically will happen to me in the future.

For now, I’ve got a week to go before I take my first international flight, and I’m so ready.

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