Looking back on that sunny spring day I graduated from college in 2009, there was no possible way I could have predicted I'd be where I am today, metaphorically and geographically. A lot has happened in these past seven years. There's been a lot I didn't plan and even more that I never thought imaginable.
When I was 23, I honestly thought I'd become a filmmaker, live in Vancouver for the rest of my life and start a family at the age I am now. Instead, I ended up working in marketing, I moved across the country to live in Toronto and I got married. But, I will not be popping out babies any time soon.
So, what's the lesson here? Nothing is permanent. You can try to plan out the next five years if you like, but I honestly think that five-year plan of yours — no matter how well-thought-out it is — should be chucked out the window because it will ultimately hold you back from achieving some amazing things.
This is also coming from the biggest planner in the world. I love lists, calendars and long-term goals. But believing in any type of permanence has been my downfall. It's when I've let go, taken risks and adapted to major changes in my life that I've experienced my biggest successes.
Your job isn't permanent, so get to work.
We aren't like our parents' generation where we stay at the same company for 40 years then retire. We Millennials like to move around, whether it be to experience working in different companies or to switch careers entirely. It's either that, or we've been fired or laid off because of the economy.
Whenever I find out someone I know has just gotten a new job with a pay bump and is already making plans for all that extra income, I seriously want to steal their credit cards and freeze them in an ice block. That job may be here now, but there are no guarantees for how long it'll stick around.
That's why I've always believed in having more than one stream of income. That's right, I'm telling you to get a side hustle. You don't have to become a blogger and start making money online, but take a look at your skills and figure something out.
I have a friend who makes money on the side by helping artists apply for grants. I have another friend who does voice work for commercials. My one pal is a fitness coach on top of her day job.
I used to be a teleprompter for the news, and now my personal brand is my second business. You can also do it; you just need to pick something and get to work.
Your stuff isn't permanent, so get rid of it.
I used to place a lot of importance on things, but after I had to sell everything to move to Toronto, stuff just doesn't have the same hold on me anymore. Now when I think of stuff, I think, "Where the hell am I going to put that?" I have everything I need and then some in my one-bedroom apartment, and I've never been happier.
I felt the same way when I came back from Africa at 18. I became so used to only having the bare necessities that when I came home, I was repulsed at how much useless stuff I had in my possession.
Minimalism is honestly the way to go. The less stuff you have to weigh you down, the more freedom you'll have to live your life, focus on your goals and put more money in the bank. This might even be a good opportunity to go through your closets and get rid of anything you haven't used for more than a year. It's incredibly satisfying to say goodbye to the past and hello to your future.
Your life isn't permanent, so make the most of it.
I'm not saying YOLO, but I am telling you not to take your life for granted. Just by the fact that you're reading this right now, I'm guessing you have a pretty decent life.
You have access to the Internet, a computer and are interested in bettering yourself. You should be proud of where you are today, but don't let that stop you from going even further.
Have you always wanted to visit Paris, but have never been able to afford to go? Set a date to go in a year, and start making automatic deductions from your paycheck to go into your travel fund.
Have you always wanted to learn to take really amazing photos? Guess what? There's a thing called Meetup where you can actually meet up with other amateur photographers, take photos together and hone your craft. It'll take you two minutes to make an account and a few hours of your life to physically do what you've set your mind to.
I'll give you one more example of what I'm talking about. My husband has always wanted to go to this conference in LA, but he was always afraid that the trip would cost too much and it might not help his freelance business, anyway.
This year, I told him to go, and he went. That was over a month ago, and he's almost doubled his clientele and is working on some really exciting projects right now. He wouldn't have known the outcome if he didn't take that chance, so that in my book is money well spent.
This article was originally published on JessicaMoorhouse.com.