I really don’t want to grow up because I hate the idea of having no time or freedom to do what I want, being stuck at a job for so many hours. I don’t feel depressed but lately the thing that brings me the most happiness and fulfillment is laying in bed or sleeping. It’s just so warm and comfortable that I hate doing anything else because it doesn’t feel as good. I can’t stand the thought of going back to school (I’m in high school but at home bc of the virus) or getting a job or anything where I have to give up my free time. I literally don’t want to do anything ever and want to spend my whole day in bed. Maybe not my whole life, but really, I just want to watch movies, draw, paint, read, play video games and sleep. And I can’t stop crying because I know I’ll never be able to since by being born I’m forced to sign a third of my life away for the money to stay alive. I hate growing up and getting older. I hate that I’m forced to give up my free time, when I was a kid I had no obligations and had all the time in the world. I hate this so much and my life feels so cheap. Like it might as well already be over since the good parts are all gone. Adulthood seems like a horrific depressing mess of bills and work and meaningless tasks and almost every adult I know would rather be a child and at best just tolerates their life. What I really want to do in the future is draw, write, make stories and create, maybe be a freelance illustrator or do commisions or sell work in galleries. But I know it’s a waste of time since all the art I create is ignored and I have zero chance of becoming popular or noticed for my work. I started an Instagram account for my art a few weeks ago and I can’t even get 50 followers. All I want from life is comfort. That’s it. To sleep when I want, eat well, have a home, not starve or have to spend 40+ hours a week at a job I don’t like. I wish my life could be like it is now forever, no obligations, no stress, no worry. Adulthood is terrifying. The thought of working every single week, no end in sight until death. No break or week off or you get fired and become homeless. Why did I have to be born? I wish I were a cat, getting to sleep all day and be provided for. Life is just too hard.
First off, that’s sounds like depression and anxiety talking. You’re not entirely wrong about adulthood, but you’re not entirely right either. Adulthood is COMPLETELY different than high school, and sometimes it’s scary because you’re riding full speed with the training wheels off, but there are plenty of good things and a sense of pride about making your own way. Adulthood has bills and work that sometimes you don’t like, but it’s all about learning and becoming your own person.
Learning to live within your means and manage your expectations is the key to happiness. Happiness isn’t a commodity you can just buy more of, and from what I’ve observed, more money really does lead to more problems, and more expensive problems at that. But if you manage your money well and put it toward what makes you happy, you can be happy. I have a friend who until recently made less than $40k a year. She drives an inexpensive but practical and reliable car that’s paid off, she rents a room from her friend, she isn’t drowning in debt, and she still manages to take at least one international trip a year because, for her, that takes priority over owning a house or driving a fancy car. For her, that’s happiness. On the flip side, when I was single and not making much more than that, I owned a townhouse, a decent enough commuter car, and a 1968 convertible. I didn’t travel or go out much, but I had everything I needed to fit my idea of happiness. When I got serious with my wife, I chose to sell the muscle car and my house (she didn’t make me!) to free up more cash and lose concrete assets. That way, we could roll with whatever life brought our way, and that was my new version of happy.
As for your career, artwork probably won’t make you rich, but that doesn’t mean you can’t manage to make some money at it. Writing stories gives you more opportunities. Put them together and you can write children’s books, which is immensely rewarding and can provide some decent income; or you can get into marketing graphic design, and use your words and pictures to promote good products and services to people. You can even freelance at that! I’m not an authority on art as a career, but I do believe that if you can follow your dreams you can make a life for yourself.
Getting your art noticed (as I understand it), is a game of time and volume. I think 50 followers after a few weeks from a previously-unknown artist sounds pretty good! What if by the end of the year you have 250 followers? Success doesn’t come overnight for anyone; even the so-called “overnight success” people worked really hard and sacrificed a lot until they caught a lucky break. But take pride in the work you’re doing, and when you are successful you will appreciate how far you’ve come. Also, promote and market yourself! My career advice may be a little unconventional, but so was my career path. Your brand is you. Not the company you work for, not the artwork you do, it’s you. Instagram won’t make you famous all by itself. Insta-famous people promote the hell out of themselves with content, hashtags, reshares, and all the other Instagram stuff I don’t really understand. Start up an Etsy account and sell your work there, but promote it all over social media! I know an aspiring artist who did some rock painting tutorial videos to provide some entertainment and get her name out there while she was in quarantine, and now people are asking to buy her painted rocks. My equivalent is LinkedIn. I love my job, but I keep my LinkedIn profile up to date and make an effort to post or share content on occasion to keep myself (my brand) marketable and competitive.
For what it’s worth, I often wish I was a dog for the same reasons you wish you were a cat. But dogs and cats live the lives they’re provided; they don’t get to go their own ways. Whether you like it or not, adulthood is coming. You can choose to get washed along with it, or choose to steer it and control your destiny. Read this story, and you’ll see that if you don’t have to be miserable in a corporate job to be happy if you manage expectations and have everything you need. Also for what it’s worth, I’d never go back to high school.