I’m feeling some pressure here.
I’ve known for a long time that I love to teach. Teaching has always come naturally to me, much to the chagrin of Boyfriend who has gently hinted on more than one occasion, “Ok, you’re not at work, you can stop teaching now.” It’s also common knowledge that teachers don’t make the cover of Forbes. I will never be rich. I will never make as much money as my parents do. My sister will almost certainly out-earn me by a significant margin.
This never bothered me because I was going after (and I now do for a living) what I love. I love to teach; I can’t help it. And for that I will be not-wealthy (and potentially poor) for the rest of my life. It’s not the worst thing in the world by a lot, but it is a shame, and it’s starting to bother me. Discussing finances with friends recently has painted a depressing picture for me. Suddenly I am not the one with the healthiest savings account. In three or so years, I have become the lowest earner. I’m at the bottom of the heap of people I love. I’m genuinely excited for them, but their fortunes cast my own financial situation in sharp relief. Starting today, I will always be poor compared to them. That’s a depressing thought.
I’ve made just one really fatal flaw in my life so far: I should have gone straight to graduate school after college, but I listened to other people who said, “You should try out the working world, you can always go back to school.” I’ve spent the past four years in jobs I disliked (and occasionally hated), slowly clawing my way back toward academia until grad school is back within reach. I regret not going straight to grad school. I regret listening to others instead of listening to myself. I knew what I wanted, and I let it get away. It’s going to take a lot of work to get it back.
I need to get over it, though. I have everything I want (except more spare time, one less job, and one more degree). Things are good. I’m about to get a new car. I’m happy. My friends are good. My family… a bit of a mess right now, but that will change with time. I need to focus on my future, and get where I’m going. Focus. Focus. Focus.