Jay-Z Wants You To Choose Your Own Path
Nobody built like you
You designed ya’ self.” — Jay-Z, “A Dream”
Welcome back, y’all! We’re here with much-needed advice on some of your personal everyday struggles with Medium’s weekly column, “What Would Hov Do?” Let’s face it; we could all use some help from the almighty Hovito right now.
This week’s question hits close to home. Hype in Michigan writes:
“I’m 46 years old. I still live with my mom. At 39, I earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications, and two years ago, I earned an M.A. in Social Justice Studies. I’ve never been able to secure a job that actually requires a college degree (and until three years ago never had a job that earned more than $12 per hour). I’m too old for the military, and I’m not interested in the police [department]. I’m seriously thinking of just ignoring my hard-fought college education (I still owe tens of thousands in financial aid) and trying to get a job with the Post Office. What should I do?”
I spent several years home living in the same bedroom I used to share with my older brother, minus the bunk beds. I moved back in after my ex-fiance-turned-good friend (another story for another day), and I broke off our engagement. For years, I worked at a non-profit, where I serviced a community I cared greatly for, all while pursuing my love of art — performing, auditioning, writing.
Just when I was all but ready to make the move, I found out I was going to be a father. My savings turned into the “prepare for fatherhood” fund. And so, I stayed home. Western culture will tell you that you’re too old (I was already over 30 at the time) and capitalism (see last week’s post) will tell you that you’re not working hard enough, or doing something wrong by going back home. But in some Eastern traditions, adults stay with their parents until they get married.
Back to Hov real quick. The quote above is from the intro track of The Blueprint 2. It’s become an epic quotable for many who want to blaze their own trail and reassure themselves that nobody else knows their path to success.
Let’s spend some time hyping up Hype in Michigan, shall we? We’re looking at a person who decided they wanted to either return to school or go to college for the first time. There could be shame in that; it’s normal to feel guilt for waiting “too long” to pursue a degree. Instead, Hype saw an opportunity.
There is no right way to do this. We’re all figuring it out as we go along. The goal is to be intentional, do the things that fill us up, feed us, and potentially get us to the next destination. And maybe that is working at the post office for a few years while you stay at home and figure out the next move. There is no shame in taking a step back and looking at things from a bird’s eye view. It’s noble to look at your financial realities while figuring out a course of action for yourself. Hov says it’s you that makes YOU, and no one else.
There’s no age limit when it comes to finding your path, and each course is different. Maybe what you had planned for yourself is not close to where you are now. But detours are okay. Do what works for you, what makes sense for you — you’re a one of one.