As your friends tell you about their work life, the natural response is to compare yourself to their level of financial success. They may unintentionally do that as well. And naturally, you will feel a certain level of inferiority. You may even perhaps think: “what if I’m doing this wrong? Look at how far they have come, compared to me”
Fight that. Conformity is like gravity. It pulls everybody who tries to defy its force. You have a special gift of opportunity. You have the freedom and power to build your life from the ground up, however you want it. Your friends, the ones “succeeding” career-wise, don’t have this option or can’t see this as an option. So what that your friends are making 10-15k more than you and that it seems like they are going somewhere with their life? So what if you don’t make as much progress professionally? Even if you fail in the end, you would have lived knowing that you’ve tried. It’s a different realm of thinking that your friends right now don’t even understand, let alone try out.
It’s a special gift. You’re in a special space in your life right now where responsibilities are few (mainly, paying the bills for yourself) and possibilities are vast.Treasure, protect, take advantage of this to explore, to live, to experiment. The money will come later. Even if the money DOESN’T come later, it doesn’t matter. Because remember, you have already determined that money doesn’t bring happiness. And you’ve also determined to live a life of simple pleasures, of minimalism, of impact, not riches.
Embrace the uncertainty, the frugality, freedom and fun. Defy the urge to conform. Once you fight your way to the top of the uphill battle, the vain satisfaction of conformity will gladly take you back any time, despite how fiercely you’ve just previously fought it. But you may like the nonconformity so much that you don’t want to ever be taken back again.