Congratulations class of 2015, you’ve made it! Now what’s next? It’s time to start planning the next 45 years of life until retirement. Mortgage payments and 401k plans, here we come!

But wait; is anyone else cringing at the thought of what could be next? Whoever said that college is the best time of life sadly must have died in their early twenties. Maybe their physical form walked this Earth for some time after that, but if one is not truly LIVING, meaning that if life isn’t getting better and better with each day that passes, couldn’t it be said that one has spiritually been dying?

Isn’t that sad? All around us, humans are spiritually dying at the age of 22. Bodies are outliving the livelihood and youth of the individuals trapped inside. There’s this illusion that life should be categorized by one career that defines the majority of one’s identity when in actuality, life is determined by the reality that’s created through one’s intentions, mindset and actions.

The secret to a happy and successful life really is as simple as that. The power to manifest a reality lies within the self. So there’s no need to dread the thought of spending the next fifty-odd years doing the same thing day-in, day-out until retirement. This is a life that doesn’t exist yet, so there’s no need to fear for it. Instead, start creating a life in which the spirit learns, grows and finds happiness until the day that the body dies. Spend time developing the parts of the soul that aren’t driven by money or a career. Somehow, when passions are fulfilled and flowing freely, all the rest just seem to fall into place.

Switch up the routine, try new things and never place any limits. Those who have revolutionized our world understood this simple secret: everything that one could ever want already exists within the self. You bring it to fruition with direct intention. If one truly believes that something can happen, and believes it with one hundred percent of their own certainty, then it’s only a matter of time before those dreams are manifested in one’s reality.

The first step is creating an intention and the second is building up a corresponding mindset. The third step, the one that many never take, is to follow through with the appropriate actions. A good friend once told me to jump and the safety net will always appear. Fear kills more dreams than any lack of talent or means of getting there ever could. We all have something special to give and one’s soul is already in the deepest connection with that gift. Nurture your soul and it will give you what you need.

I’m writing this from a small island in Thailand where I have spent the past five months. I left my hometown with just a backpack six months after graduating college, having only saved enough money to travel for what I thought would be three weeks. I have ran my bank account dry multiple times, pushed past what some would have deemed impossible and trusted the passion in my heart to guide me to where I wanted to be. How? I got here by believing that the reality that I was currently creating for myself was the only one that could ever exist. Giving up, going home and succumbing to a reality that I didn’t choose was never an option. When you believe in something with every nook and cranny of your soul, it shines so brightly that any other undesired alternative simply fades away into a dark abyss.

Whenever people ask me what it is I’m doing out on a small remote island in Thailand, I always reply with the simple statement that I am LIVING. How do I know that I’m ALIVE? I exist in a state where all of my passions are equally prioritized, not focusing only on the ones that are driven by a monetary value. So who am I? I am a dancer, reader, writer, musician, fire twirler, swimmer, diver, traveller, philosopher, friend, sister, daughter who enjoys inspiring others to live a life of positivity and happiness. Or to be put much more simply, I just am.

So now that the college degree is checked off the list, how should one grade the worth of the rest of their life to follow? How can one tell whether they’re heading into the light or hurtling further away from it? Don’t live a life where freedom only exists some day in the distant future. Create a reality in which each day gets progressively better and better right now. Everybody wishes that they had magical solutions to their problems, but few choose to believe in any magic itself. The truth is out there, and it doesn’t need to be a secret. It’s something that wants to be found. The secret is YOU. YOU have the power to create the life and reality that you’ve seen in your dreams. Now go out and manifest it into something that actually exists. When life is measured by nothing more than the happiness and joy that comes with rising each and every day, one truly can have it all. Now let’s get living.

Read more on this topic in FIND YOUR HIDDEN PASSION: How to discover what’s right for you»

Felicia Pays is a writer based out of Portland, Oregon. She travels and creates content for an inspirational blog page on Facebook called Positive People. Their message is one that is simple: Together we can make a difference One day, One person, and One act of kindness at a time.
image: happy graduate student via Shutterstock