21 years old, feeling pretty lost. What would be the best path to take right now?

Hi! I’m Dylan and I’m 21 years old. I’m from Illinois in the US, in one of the far Chicago suburbs in Will County. I’m currently feeling a little lost in life at the moment. For some background, I’ve grown up with a very quiet and uneventful life. We aren’t too well off, but have enough to get by over the years. My parents are conservative and older, especially my dad being in his late 60s, and they are a bit older than most people’s parents at 21 I feel. The only income we have is my dad’s pension. Both parents are retired, and my mom doesn’t work and never really started a career. So it’s stressful. It’s been this way my whole life. Both my parents can’t relate much to what options there are for me or to help me, so I’m kind of left to my own to figure something out. I don’t have much money in my bank, less than $400 right now which is a struggle because I feel so dependent on others compared to other people my age and even younger. If anything ever happened to my dad, we’d have no income and both me and my mom would have to work. (IMO she should be working now, but she has her own reasons and things that happened in life and it’s not my business either).

We only have one car between the whole family, and just recently I finally got my drivers license which I’m proud of! So transportation is a little difficult right now (I wouldn’t want to leave my family without a car during work) even though we don’t go anywhere besides the store once a week. I know we will get something worked out. The other major thing is that since graduating high school in 2020, I’ve never had a job yet. Partly because of COVID related delays and logistics with my parents health, getting a vehicle, etc. And living in the middle of cornfields. I’ve always had a rather technically inclined brain and I’ve always been good at electronics and electrical related skills. I’ve always been discouraged from attending s college because of the costs that we can’t afford.

So I guess i’m looking for the best short term type of job to consider right now as well as long term advice considering what I ultimately will fall into career wise. I was thinking of doing something with electronics, such as a fire alarm inspector or technician, but I’m not sure how that would pan out long term, especially since it’s a little bit of a lesser known job and involves a lot of certifications and whatnot and it varies by state. I have experience with fire alarm systems (My YT channel has some of the stuff I work on – I can’t post a link otherwise my post is flagged, but it’s called Doc Brown’s Radio Lab on YT And I’m almost at 1k subscribers and I’ve wanted to grow my channel for awhile but I need to get more content out or even do trendy videos or something to get views) as well as knowledge of low voltage systems, networking, computers, HVAC and controls, soldering and board level repairs, etc. All from my hobbies and being self taught. I also enjoy photography and am pretty good at it. The thing is, I’m good at all of this but just as a hobby, I don’t have any real work experience with a company. So it’s kind of a grey area. The one thing I did do for a day was help a friend who has their own internet company and I installed ethernet cable and security cameras, so I counted that as my one real job. Most employers want some level of experience, and I’ve always been discouraged about college from my family due to the costs involved and my dad always pressures me to go union. However, I also don’t have many friends in life or people to discuss this stuff with and I feel so behind sometimes. I just don’t want to be missing out on any opportunities concerning a college or anything because of not being familiar with what options are feasible for me. That being said, I know college isn’t for everyone and I know plenty of tech type jobs (such as fire alarm) don’t require a degree to get into. So on paper, an employer wouldn’t expect me to know much but due to my rather unique hobbies, I have a lot of random knowledge on lots of things and I just need to find what’s right for me. I’m passionate, have good social skills, and always eager to learn and grow once I get the ball rolling so to speak.

I wouldn’t mind being a photographer, freelancer, IT tech, fire alarm tech, aircraft engineer/maintenance, or anything really. I just need to find the best route to take. For now I’ve even been looking at online remote jobs but for me it’s a little hard to find because I’ve never done one before and most want some experience with whatever it is. Data entry, etc.

I just want to be able to get off the ground so to speak and am seeking advice here because my family can’t offer me much.

It’s just a little overwhelming for me since I like so many things. Electronics, wiring, fire and security systems, computers, aviation, photography, etc. I could go so many different routes in life and I just need to find something. All I really want is to be independent from my family and successful.

My short term goal right now is just to earn some money so I have more than $400 to my name, haha. I’d like to earn decent money especially with my passions and skills, but we all have to start somewhere. As for now, like I was saying I don’t know exactly what I will be doing long term but hopefully that will come when the time is right.

Thanks for reading and sorry for the ramble.

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