At War: Wants & Needs
By Amanda Deltuvia —
Entering a world that you had no part in creating is sometimes quite frustrating. We are given steps to take with every age bracket, never questioning if these steps are what we would really choose if we were stripped of our societal contexts.
These ideals led me to run around New York City meeting some of the most powerful women in the writing world, clinging to their Prada skirts, me pleading, “Pick, me. Pick me.” I was poor, tired, overworked and exhausted. But I thought if I played my cards right in the career game I would win the ultimate prize: a great salary and a clean NYC apartment.
At work, I wasn’t even sure if I agreed with all the content on sex, abs and five question quizzes to figure out if you have a “frenemy” in your life. I just knew if I was with them, had a job with them, I would surely become happy.
The highest paying job I had in New York paid $50 a day. Commuting into the city from the suburbs filtered that down to less than $20 a day. I’d lose four hours a day commuting, feeling exhausted and covered in sweat. I still worked hard.
Countless internships, side jobs and no career prospects; I began to wonder what it was all worth. I thought if I had a full-time job I’d be happier. A year later, I landed a job and a beautiful apartment in a chic little suburban town.
Still, I wasn’t happy. My eyes were rotting as I stared at my computer screen trying to make sense of why I was suddenly encapsulated in a cubicle. I tried to find salvation in the fact that I had an apartment, and that I was finally accomplishing what most people my age couldn’t in this economy. But I began to wonder, what is it all worth?
My success turned out to be my misery. I was told that I was lucky; I wasn’t allowed to complain in this economy! Being broke and at a job I hated didn’t sound lucky. Sure, I was fortunate, but it seemed like I had been forgetting what really made me happy. I was a writer, but I wasn’t writing about what I loved. I wasn’t helping anyone or feeling like I had a purpose.
How do we know what we really want when we are not allowed to have all of the options. Finally, it all hit me. Life isn’t about how much money is in your back account. Although it is sadly necessary in this life, it is not everything. Getting extra money in my account wasn’t making me happy. Buying another pair of shoes wasn’t giving me the same high anymore. My apartment was beautiful, but empty. I was empty.
Many choices are based out of fear. Fear of not making a name for yourself, not making money, not finding your “soul mate” and basically not fitting into a society that we are conditioned to yearn to be an accepted part of. Breaking free seems terrifying from the outside, yet is the key to true elation.
If you can, leave your job. Take a class that you love. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Join a club. Sit down and begin to meditate on what you truly want and need. I knew I had to make a change. Finding out my three core values; writing, traveling and helping others, led me last year to fill out a Peace Corps application.
Sometimes I still splurge like Carrie Bradshaw and treat myself to a beautiful pair of shoes, but I make sure I journey back to my core values. I left my apartment, nestled back home and decided to spend time with my family. I don’t know where I am going next, but sometimes putting down your deck of cards and refusing to play the game is the only way to win.
Sink your teeth into the flesh of your ego. Regress back to being a child. Seep deep down into the guts of your being. This is your life; you only get one. Are you making the most of it?