No, You're Not Crazy, Social Norms are Hard
I'd like to think I'm a pretty intelligent human being. I have a lot of elements working in my favor to succeed. I followed *enough* of the rules to not *fail* in terms of what the social norm is here in the United States.
I'm a mathematician - and here's why I quit (well... the corporate and traditional path anyways).
Me, August 3rd, 2015
University of Wisconsin - Madison
The feeling of vast emptiness in my heart that comes from doing something inauthentically is much worse than living with less money. It is true that someone with my degree from my world renowned university could live a very bountiful life.
I fell in love with mathematics because of the raw beauty that comes from observing the world's chaos and finding the symmetries and symphonies beneath it all. When I sit in a room full of math nerds that can play with logic to the level of unraveling some of the universe's most fundamental fabrics, tears begin forming in my eyes. I am enamored with this place we exist inside of. When I am observing it from a pure point of view, without the stain of the human condition, I am at peace.
When you ask me to use my talents to fuck someone over, squeeze out an extra penny, or write up a fail proof operating procedure that keeps your company from getting sued over something SO ASININE MY BRAIN GOES NUMB, I will walk away.
Yes, I'm a Millennial that is obsessed with living a life that means something, rather than surviving and finding means to an end. My partner and I both feel things very intensely and we do not apologize for it or yield to the demands of the Traditional American Lifestyle. There is no shame in forging your own path.
You owe no one an answer when they ask "what's next?" as if what you're doing right now isn't good enough. You do not need to justify education with it being "the next step towards a career" because as a human being, the point in education is to revel in the life you live. There is no magic formula to happiness that works on everyone. We all have different tastes. We all have different curiosities.
If you make it up to the executive offices on the 15th floor, make more money than you know what to do with, and are happy, good for you! Yayayayayyy!!! There is nothing wrong with that. But if you still find yourself dissatisfied, ask yourself if you are living an authentic life.
What does authenticity look like? I'll show you mine if you show me yours ;)