I think a lot of people don’t find themselves until later on, as adults. You’ll hear about men and women going through years of school to become a lawyer or politician, living a life they actually hate and then ditching it all halfway through. They decide they want to be a yoga teacher by the ocean, or live in a third world country renting out surfboards from a van, or scratch their high-ball career to tackle climate change as a non-profit environmentalist. It’s fairly common- things along these lines. And that’s beautiful and encouraging. I couldn’t be happier for people realizing it’s never too late to change your mind. It’s never too late to find your truth.
So the kicker comes when people tell me I’m too young to really know what I want to do.
What’s so wrong with finding myself now? What is wrong with starting out where so many people had to waste years of their lives to get to? What is wrong with already knowing what I want and refusing to waste time pretending I’m something else? True, I might wake up fifteen years into life as a writer and a yoga teacher to say fuck it I’d like to be a corporate lawyer. But I’d also argue it’s highly unlikely I’d leave a life of emotional sustenance for a nine to five.
People often ask what my plan is in life, after I graduate with an art degree.
Not using it. Is how I tend to fire back. That’s my plan. I have the opportunity to study something I love and to cultivate a deep and meaningful education geared around my passions and interests. I’m very thankful. It does not mean, however, that I have to use it for anything other than the sake of having that knowledge. I think a lot of people forget that the root of an education is simply to learn. I don’t need to do much with that knowledge other than have and appreciate it. Share it if I feel so inclined. But that’s where the obligations stop.
My plan is to teach yoga the rest of my life. I will travel and share my heart. I will write the words that need to be written. My plan is my happiness. And it’s just fine if I already know what gets me there.
In rebuttal I receive, “you’ll never make money, you’ll always be poor” and to that, I say fuck no. It’s cliché, but money doesn’t buy happiness. I would rather be rich in my happiness banks. Fearless in the face of my heart. I firmly believe if you do what you love -honestly- there are many, many ways to make ends meet. It’s not A OR B, it’s not black OR white. It’s both, and neither, and a bit in between. And I can make money enough following my heart and I don’t need to waste half my life to know that.
So please, in the way people support your decision of reversal late in life- support the young ones’ audacity behind knowing exactly what we are going to do right now.
I’m not a dreamer. I’m not crazy. I’m not reaching. Attempting to be anything else, anything other than what I am would be all of those things- crazy, dreaming, reaching. But doing what I am doing right now, that is the most normal thing for myself in the world. Just like skin, hearts are not the same color. We don’t have to beat to the same rhythm. Take yours, I’ll have mine.
To my youngsters that fiercely abandon a structured path in search of what your soul yearns for; a degree nor a bank account do not dictate your success. And generally, neither have much to do with saving the world, making a real change or finding true happiness and living a life you actually want.
That’s not to say what you actually want can’t be a politician or a lawyer- because it can. Absolutely. And God knows we need more in those fields who care about the right things. You can spend your life as an artist and choose med-school at age fifty. Or you can do it the other way around. It doesn’t matter. A dream is a dream and a switch is a switch. Regardless of your truth, it’s never too late to choose it. Because you, as unique as you are, deserve the support of a community and more.
So I’d like to make it known; that me knowing what I want is not wrong. And me not knowing what I want is also not wrong.
So if what you want is different than a promise of stability- well that’s what it is. And you don’t need to wait till your fifty to decide that. And you don’t need to know it all now either. It comes when it comes; your purpose. But as for me; this is how I’m going to live. From day one.
To be honest, we don’t have time to not give a fuck about the effect we have on everything and everyone around us. We don’t have time to not give a fuck about what we really really want from the drippy bits of our hearts. We just don’t. Even though not giving a fuck is what’s cool now. But I’m just not keen on wasting time. Let’s lay down the judgment and the know-it-all perspective. When someone wants something in a bad way; support it. Even if their path is divergent from your own. Because at the end of the day; there is no wrong time to find yourself. All that matters is that when you do- you are brave enough to see it on.