When I was a young adult just getting out of high school and in early college, I thought I had two choices for the my life: Either follow the money, or do something I really enjoyed. Sure some unrealistic jobs can fulfill both goals, but I wasn't holding out too much hope of being a pro athlete, poker player.
None of the realistic jobs that pay above average seemed fun or exciting, so I thought I had to choose between doing a job I don't like to have an otherwise comfortable life, or do a job I can enjoy but have an otherwise uncomfortably poor life.
Either way I was unfortunately looking at 30-40 years of whichever existence I ended up with.
What I wish I knew at the time, and what I luckily know now, is that you don't have to be stuck with one of these fates. There is another option nobody told you about: Early retirement.
If I could back to 18 years old, I would get my degree in something boring but with excellent job prospects and pay (like engineering) even though I have no interest in that work . I would put up with a job in that field for 8 to 12 years, saving 50 to 80 percent of my money. If I had done that I could have be enjoying FIRE right now!
This path offers the best of both worlds. You have to put up with a sub-optimal job, and living frugally, but unlike both other options, it is a specific plan with a finish line. And afterward you have NO job and a decent living!
Even though I didn't have this knowledge 10 years ago, the good news is I do now, and I am still young enough for it to have a drastic impact on the rest of my life. And I intend to make sure it does!
-The Money Monk