So many times already in my life I have said “By the time I am (insert age here) I will know what I want to do”. I will have all the answers and I will be kicking ass. It has taken me arriving at these pre-determined ages with just as much uncertainty to reach a realization. I don’t have it all together, the best laid plans do generally fall through, and it is better to be reliable than predicable. With that being said I have penned an open letter to those still struggling to maintain the path they set for themselves in their teens or early twenties. If it is working for you, continue on. You are a blessed few. If it isn’t, keep reading.
The box you’ve placed yourself in does not define you.
You may have a plan for your life. A plan created long ago with a lot of outside influence. You may wake up one day and realize the life you’ve been participating in is not the one you actually want. Yes, you went to school, maybe even for a few extra years for this degree. Just because you have started off in this direction does not mean you’re stuck.
Take a step back and figure out what you are passionate about. Are there aspects of your current career you love? Is there a way to expand on those within your current career or to incorporate them into another path? Understand that you are in the drivers seat and you are creating your roadmap as you drive.
Your friends will love you even without your job title.
Along the same lines as above, once you have come to terms with a change you want to make don’t worry about what others are going to think. You are making a change to create more joy in your life and your friends and family can only benefit from that. That is not to say they won’t be surprised. They may need a moment but eventually those who matter will be there for you.
“Failure” Is an opportunity for growth
Just because you change your mind does not mean you have failed. Realizing that something you were previously dedicated to does not fulfill you is life changing. It is the way you handle it that will define you. Don’t wallow in self pity. Figure out what you need to feel fulfilled and chase after that.
Seriously, what brings you joy?
When you wake up in the morning you should be thinking “I get to do this today” instead of “ugh, work!”. Talk it out. Identify what would get you there.
A flexible schedule? Lots of travel? No Travel? Work perks? Work from home? Helping people? Not talking to anyone?
Once you have identified what you need the rest will fall into place. You will begin to enter interactions about your future more assured and the joy will follow.
Change is a terrifying and stressful time for most people. Understand you are not alone and that those who love you want you to be happy. Don’t be scared to jump into the change that you believe will get you back to your happy place.