When I finished high school, my friends and I were convinced that we’d have it figured out by 25. I mean, nothing like the meaning of life or our ultimate purpose, but at least a framework that defines it. Along the way, we’d be zapped by lightning and become the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg and build an empire that would stand against the test of time.
Unfortunately, that sustainable entrepreneurial zap never came to be (our half-assed work ethics didn’t help either). ⠀
Instead, I found myself at a crossroad. There seemed to be an endless amount of options. They were peering at me through the grapevine, urging me on from glamorized social media accounts, toying with me at the dinner table. On weekdays I’d fantasize myself as a success-driven entrepreneur; on weekends I’d daydream about packing my bags and going full nomad.
I found myself dipping toes in different bodies of water, constantly weighing the pros and cons of the career ladder, personal projects, grad school, and the nomadic endeavor. I was afraid to take a dive because I’d yet to decide if I wanted to swim in the pond, lake, river or sea.
I was always feeling that I could be doing more, more, more. Better, better, better. ⠀
Voicing this seems extremely millennial. Isn’t it such a privilege to have choices in the first place? I’m not working to support my family. I’ve already paid off my debt. I’m only subjected to a portion of the sociocultural pressure that some of my peers go through (an interracial relationship can really push the boundaries with conservative Chinese parents).
Yet the paradox of choice is real. The paradox of potential choices can be perplexing. (Everything seems so damn shiny.)
During the past couple of months, I’ve finally spent time with myself to try to grasp what gets me moving without the glitz and glam of outside influences and the pressure of nonexistent timelines, permitting myself to enjoy the messy process and be proud of the things I’ve done.
Let’s be real, there are so many tips and advice for those of us on the same journey. We are taught to use another’s success to benchmark our work in progress. As a result, we forget that this sense of indecision may be a natural part of the process.
You aren’t alone on this boat.
Self-awareness requires time and patience.
Self-understanding necessities a honing of senses.
Self-discovery is an ongoing journey.
And as long as we are paddling forward with some excitement, I think that means we are on the right path.