Originally Posted by retirementguy1
Also the military is not an option for creative types.
FWIW, I dislike authority and have never been one to 'drink the company cool aid' … but I served quite a few years in the navy without any real difficulty. Like any large organization, the military has room for diverse personalities.
The OP might or might not enjoy serving: I can't say. I do feel comfortable in suggesting that s/he would be ill-advised to rule it out (especially a short-term contract that would allow him or her time to mature and consider options) merely because of the above categorical statement, which is based upon no more than ignorant prejudice.
Originally Posted by Jager
The lack of a bachelor's degree will significantly compromise your ability to obtain well-paying work for however long you need to work. And obtaining a well-paying job is one of the keys for most early retirees.
Maybe. But I note that a lot of bachelor's degrees - especially in the humanities and social sciences - are very worthy but do little if anything to enhance income-earning potential, and have considerable financial and opportunity costs (see generally don't major in the arts
). Recall also that some 'blue collar' skilled trade jobs are relatively well-paying and that small business ownership can be a route to financial independence (see generally The Millionaire Next Door
Originally Posted by Jager
Recognize that most young people your age don't have a clue as to what they would like to do. You're not alone.
Recognize that most jobs, for most people, are tolerable but not wonderful. Pretty much every job has its good parts and and its bad parts. There is no perfect job. And even good jobs come with "the grind" - the necessity to get up every morning and go in, whether you feel like it or not. "The grind" was, for me, the worst part about working.
Beyond that, it's mostly a matter of establishing a very low expense footprint - which is directly related to minimizing debt - and maximizing your savings rate. To retire in your 30's, especially, absent remarkable luck, requires an extremely aggressive savings outlook.
Finally, don't not enjoy life as it rolls along. Some of the things a young adult is faced with - connecting with a partner, having children, establishing a home, etc. - are often very counter to being able to retire early. But they also hold much of what makes life worth living, so don't dismiss them out of hand.
I endorse all of the above.
My advice, ComradeKitty, would be to spend the next year pursuing opportunities to 'shadow' people working in various occupations for one or two days, so that you can get at least some sense of what the work entails, the opportunities for vacations - sometimes much more apparent than real! - and so on. Failing that, set up brief 'coffee meetings' to talk to such people. If you go about this in a proper and respectful way, you'll find that many older workers are happy to speak candidly to someone your age and are rather flattered to be asked for advice. And if nothing else, 12 months of working in retail full-time will probably motivate you to work hard in college, assuming you decide to take that route.
P.S. May be of interest: 18 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I Was 18
. A few of the tips are trite and superficial, but others are worth considering (e.g., # 1, 11, 14, 15, 16).