Your Life Isn’t Over at 26

Recently, I was laid off from my job. I worked a traditional 9-5, made good money and had a normal routine. I felt safe and secure, however, I had given up on chasing my dreams because money fueled me not passion. I was content chasing after a steady pay check but I was at a stand still. I was working everyday but never moving forward. Just a hamster on a wheel.

I don’t wish getting laid off on anyone. It’s terrifying. It’s terrifying at 26, hell, it’s terrifying at any age. My lay off came just 2 weeks after my wedding and 6 months after buying a house with my husband, so as you can imagine my savings account is looking a bit dry.

Now, I won’t lie. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster these last couple of weeks. What am I going to do? Am I ever going to find a job? How could this happen to me? 

Recently, most of my thoughts have been down right negative. I traditionally face the world with a slice of pessimism but I am aware of that flaw and it is something I am trying to work on, which is why, at 26, unemployed and somewhat terrified, I refuse to look at this situation as anything but a blessing in disguise. I remind myself that this might be the universe telling me to change paths, to take a risk and to find new motivation for life.

I recently read an article on elitedaily.com called “You Don’t Have to Be Rich In your 20s: How Much Money You Should Actually Be Making”. This article isn’t about making you feel better about your entry level salary, it’s about removing your blinders and reminding yourself that money isn’t everything. Because it’s not.

I don’t want money to define me. I don’t want money to motivate me. I want to live a life full of passion, creativity, and fulfillment. I want to grow old and look back and be proud of myself. We enter this world penniless and we leave it penniless. I’m determined to become somebody and if money is a benefit of that then so be it, but I won’t allow myself to be crippled by the fear that money brings. It’s time to live a life of less because sometimes that means you can live a life of more.

Money definitely makes things easier. Money puts food in your belly, a roof over your head and buys you brand name boots, bags, and clothes. But at the end of the day, just like money, that’s just stuff. Stuff that distracts you from reaching your full potential, from chasing your dreams and taking risks.

We’ve all heard this quote, “if it doesn’t scare you a little, it’s not worth doing”. I’d like to think there is some truth behind that, especially now. I’m currently at a cross roads. At 26, I can jump back on the daily grind and continue an honest career in finance, where I will never worry about money or I can take a non-traditional route and chase after something that actually makes me happy.

Your life isn’t over at 26 and there is no need for you to crumble under the fear of not making a comfortable amount of money. 26 is young, no matter how old you may feel. Sure, high school was 9 years ago but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s all relative.

Sacrifices will have to be made when you start over but that’s okay. Bags can always be bought and expensive dinners can always be enjoyed. Again, it just stuff. You’re never going to regret stepping out of your comfort zone and changing the direction of your life.

So don’t slow down now. Things happen for a reason. Your life isn’t over at 26.

Erin Jean

Erin Jean is a Boston based smart mouth who lives in suburbia with her kick-ass husband, yes you read that correctly, I'm a married woman, people! She graduated from Endicott College in 2010 with a degree in Contemporary Journalism. She loves tattoos, writing, and slush (it’s an addiction people). When she is not working for the man, she is riding on the back of motorcycles, online shopping, and reminiscing about her younger years. A typical week consists of watching too much Bad Girls Club, mentally preparing for a zombie apocalypse, and trying to get a body like Mila Kunis (please insert laughter here). Feel free to stalk her life via pictures @mrsbadnews13 or on twitter @erinlissa

3 Comments
  1. Hey Erin! I found your pages today thru FB. Sorry to hear about losing your job but you have an amazing outlook – now is the time to step out of that comfort zone and DREAM BIG!! Blessing in disguise for sure. Over the past year I have been challenging myself to do the same! Tough but so worth it!!

  2. Wow I’m sorry to hear that but it really is for the best. Better a career change now that we’re in our 20’s.

    I am going through the same thing except instead of being laid off I quit my job to take care of my parent. I realized is was chasing money not my dream as well, and I was miserable …even though My work ethic ranked me as one of the companies best – I wasn’t happy. Felt like a machine & not in a good way. I have a liberal arts degree and was working in finance. In college I enjoyed research & papers because writing challenged me to be creative and logical.
    If I could write blogs like you do Erin – I would! I don’t even know where to start…
    Best of luck!

    Cheers!

  3. I’m going through the same thing except I have it a lot easier, it sounds like. I’m not married, and I have a job but I am just miserable. I rely on caffeine and alcohol to numb the boredom I would otherwise feel in this dry society. Coffee helps me get through tedious tasks. All I really want to do in the free world is something that involves the outdoors, exercising, health, something along those lines. If I could do backpacking for a living, I would. I hate being indoors all the time. Ironically I like technology a lot but I need to be outdoors a lot more than the average person. I suffer socially and combined with being a miserable robot in college (I still haven’t finished my degree at 26 because I can’t focus.) I chose to be a math major (I’ve tried other STEM majors as well) and while I have a good work ethic, I am absolutely terrible at the level required to obtain a Bachelor’s. I can’t accept that I’m not smart enough for it. I am stubborn and I want to change that. It all comes down to taking responsibility for your life. I have to stop blaming others and accept that I put myself where I am and I can get myself out. Thank you for writing this, good luck.

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