In order to move to Dallas, I had to quit my job for in The Netherlands. I worked for the local government of Rotterdam as an Ethics & Integrity advisor. And while I liked my job (for a job), I didn’t mind quitting in order to move to Dallas and start Youtube. Life can actually be very fulfilling without working.
Now, I know many people have to work to make a living, and I’m not trying to romanticize not working. But what stands out to me is how many people in The Netherlands somehow think that I must be really miserable or bored since I don’t have a 9 to 5 job here in Dallas. While fact of the matter is, I could get a job here. But I don’t want to and I don’t have to.
And no one here in Texas has asked me the same questions that Dutch people have. ‘What are you doing all day?’, ‘You probably sit at home all day’ (and no, that’s not a question, I know) and ‘Don’t you want to be part of society?’. The people here somehow seem to understand a little more why I don’t work, and even say that they probably wouldn’t work either (or less) if they could. And yet, I feel like I have to explain myself. So here we go.
First of all, I don’t feel unproductive, useless or lazy because I invest a lot of time and effort into my Youtube channel. Posting two (somewhat good quality) videos a week takes a lot more than most people seem to think, and it actually fills about 20 hours of my week filming, editing, and everything around it (i.e. Instagram, analysis, making thumbnails, etc.). So I would actually say I do have a – yet for now unpaid – job, it’s just a part-time one. Oh and of course I take care of our household too.
Second of all, I don’t feel like I’m less a part of society than anyone who works fulltime. I get how they might feel more like a part of something, but honestly there are a lot of jobs that contribute as much or even less to society than a Youtuber does (as long as people are watching..). Moreover, there are lots of ways to contribute and be a part of society other than your job: the way you care for and influence others, investing in relationships, charity, blogging (haha) and quite frankly, I still pay taxes.
And whenever someone truly thinks that I must feel bored or useless, honestly I just feel sad for them. If you really think your life has no meaning without your job, if you would truly not know how to spend your time unless you’re working 40 hours a week – that’s what I truly call poverty. They might make more money than I do, but I get all those extra hours to live life. Think about all the things you do on your weekends, your holidays, or what hobbies you would pick up, things you would like to learn if you didn’t have to work. Well, that’s what my life is like. (And I do realize how privileged that is.)
In The Netherlands, we have a culture of taking care of ourselves and working hard. Many people don’t like to take loans or financial aid, or look down upon people who do. We encourage women to build careers and be financially stable, even (or maybe especially) when they are in a relationship or get married (we are also big on prenups). And while I think it is simply smart to have a plan and be financially stable just in case your relationship does fail (or other things happen in life), I don’t 100% agree with judging women who decide to make different choices than the Dutch status quo tell us to. I am being smart, I do have a plan B, C and even D, but I don’t think that has to look like working fulltime for the rest of your life just in case something happens. And honestly, I kind of hate how many women don’t really have a choice – as in most cases, they need two salaries to get by.
One last thing I would like to say is that my inner world is very colorful, deep and spiritual, which is probably why I love this life so much. I have never been competitive (even though I work really hard for things I truly want) and I have never dreamt of a big successful career or climbing some corporate ladder. My passions simply lay elsewhere. I have watched the rat race from a distance since I was very young, which I think is one of the reasons why I studied philosophy, and am very thankful and humble about the fact that I get to escape it.