What do you want out of life?
A question I’d wager we’ve all been asked before and likely also asked others in our lives. When you’re younger you don’t pay all that much attention to it and usually your answer is of an outlandish or fantastical answer (as it should be because kids have some of the best imaginations), but as you get older you begin to realize it is a heavy question filled with a lot of expectations and judgement based on your answer. And for me I thought I had a pretty good handle on the answer for the longest time, I followed the path that outcome would require and I enjoyed it while also learning a ton about myself. However at the same time I’ve felt a little adrift for a while and like maybe I had an answer but, was it the correct one? Which leads to a mini epiphany that I had the other night while trying, but failing, to fall asleep.
I’ve never been able to properly figure out what it is I truly want in life, because I want so many things.
For as long as I can remember I’ve bounced from idea to idea about what I could “be”. Obviously the one that has stuck around the longest, and felt like the purest and most real connection, is writing. I was six when I wanted to be Lois Lane and that fascination and love of creating with words has never disappeared or gone into hiding, but I’ve had flings with other careers. For a few years I wanted to be a pastry chef and thought I’d go on to a culinary school and eventually open up my own bakery/cafe (soooo original I know), for a while as a freshman in high school I entertained the idea of politics because I was really digging what I was learning in my civics class. However I quickly learned how dirty and uptight it can be and I knew I’d never keep my head long-term so that passed pretty quickly. Then there was the period of my life I thought being Sociologist or Psychologist would be the way to go because those are some of my favorite classes to take; studying how the brain works and how people mold into the humans they are is one of the most incredible things to me and had I recognized that earlier in life maybe I would have seriously taken that journey. And there is always the fact that despite my strong denial of ever wanting it I think being a teacher or professor is something that’s always been at the far back of my mind as an option. I know I could never do young kids because I am just not great with them but since middle school I’ve found myself thinking to myself how I would teach a lesson we were learning and how I would approach topics, so it’s time to acknowledge it’s a thing even though I’ve always denied any interest in it at all.
And I am not claiming to be a special snowflake who is the only one who has experienced this I think for me it helps explain why I am nearly 25 and still not sure what I want out of life. There is just so much I could see myself doing and really enjoying that I am not sure which is the “right” one or the most worthy of my decision to pursue it. And maybe it’s something I’ll never truly figure out but it is something I’d like to navigate a little better than I have thus far. I know there is no sure-fire way to live life, there are no blue prints or detailed directions to follow that lead to a perfect life and I think being fully aware of that is fundamental to not driving yourself a little crazy.
I’ve heard so much advice in my life and one that sticks out is that you should never compare yourself and where you’re at in life with others because they don’t live your life and have your passions and also because it’s just futile to do it to yourself. It’s something I didn’t recognize for a long time, I thought; I followed the rules and the path and that it should lead to the vision I’ve always built in my head. And all that did was frustrate me to no end that I wasn’t where I had seen myself “five years from now” and that maybe my life and my dreams were all lies because I was sort of floating through. So when I allow myself to step back and realize that truly don’t have to have it all figured out by a certain time and that makes it easier to choose things for the right reasons.
Currently I’m still working on figuring out what I really want out of life and how I am doing to chart my path there but it’s more comfortable knowing that I have a better understanding of how I got to where I am right now and how it’s okay to be here.