Oh, that burning question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Adults start asking that question as soon as we are able to form a complete sentence. The pressure to have it all figured out at age 5 — I don’t think so!
After the first utterance of this question, it gets lodged in our subconscious and creates a pressure for us to always know what it is we should be doing with our life. I know for myself, during those times in my life when I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I felt out of sorts; like there was something wrong with me. I could never accept the not knowing.
Now that I have found my passion in life, and I’m finally doing what really makes my heart sing, I can look back at all the years I did not really know what I wanted to do with a different perspective. Now I can see the beauty of not knowing and the value of just being and allowing myself to be curious and explore different things.
I have been “lost” many times in my life. What lost means to me is not having direction. I grew up with so much pressure from my family and culture to know exactly what I wanted to do that when I didn’t, I experienced alienation and emptiness. I didn’t know the beauty of not knowing. I didn’t realize how wonderful it is just to explore different possibilities without having to have direction.
In the last quarter of my sophomore year in college, I was double majoring in psychology and anthropology, and I started burning out. I had taken too much on, and I started failing tests, missing classes, and I ended up dropping out. I needed a break from the pressure that goes with being in college. I just wanted to have a simple job and come home at night and relax.
Needless to say, my parents were furious. Everyone in my family graduated from college, and they thought it was vitally important for me to do so as well. However, that didn’t sway me. I needed to rest my mind. Going to college meant nothing to me anymore, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.
So I ended up getting a mindless job at an insurance company, and I enjoyed the security of the predictable 9-5 world. I made new friends, went to happy hour on Fridays, and had a very “normal” life. However, after a few months, I found that I was hungering for mental stimulation, so I decided to start reading classic literature. There were so many books I had never read, so now was my time to do so.
I started falling in love with literature, and after 9 months of being out of college, I realized I wanted to go back to school and major in English. I was so motivated, that I made the dean’s list my first quarter back.
When I took that year off from college, I was totally in a state of not knowing what I wanted to do, and I loved it. I accepted it, and I so enjoyed living without the pressure of having to “figure things out”. The funny thing is that while I was in that state of relaxation and ease, my direction came to me when I wasn’t even looking. I just did what my heart called me to do, and it all unfolded perfectly.
So the moral of the story is that if you don’t know what you want to do, accept it and know that this is a valuable time for you to just enjoy being. Allow yourself to be curious and explore wherever your heart is leading you. Let joy pull you forward. Eventually everything will fall into place in the perfect time.