It’s Okay Not To Know What To Do With Your Life (At Least, For Now)

image - Flickr / Franca Gimenez
image – Flickr / Franca Gimenez

As I grow older, I find that I am continuously more indecisive about who I want to become and what I want to do with my life. I find this concept funny, considering how at a younger age, I seemingly had more of a grasp on my life than I currently do now.

It’s ironic how the younger we are, the more we have things figured out. We just knew what we wanted to be, and when anyone asked, we answered confidently without doubting it for a second.

I wanted to be a teacher since the age of five. I told my mom I was going to drive a red Honda Civic and have two dogs. I drive a 2012 silver Honda Civic.

I have come a long way since that small five-year old girl who wanted to name her golden retrievers Lola and Lily. I face greater challenges today: is my major going to make me successful and provide a stable income so I can live comfortably? What looks the best on my resume and will make me more marketable? I need to get a part-time job so I can pay for groceries next month…

I get so caught up in these questions that I seem to forget to enjoy the self-discovery process. I try to find logic in the fact that maybe I am supposed to be in limbo for a few years. Maybe, this confusion and uncertainty is happening for a reason.

It’s easy to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I have no idea what I am doing with my life,” and walk away disappointed. It is far more difficult to face that same reflection and say, “I have no idea what I am doing, and that is okay.”

When we are young, we flounder. I use this word generously. Floundering can have many connotations, but in this context, it means one who is moving continuously through life, tackling many opportunities and challenges either succeeding or failing. And rather we rise to the occasion or fail miserably; we have done so with purpose and learned from our experiences.

There is far too much pressure to have everything figured out to a perfect T. It is these pressures that cause people later in life to be extremely unhappy with their personal and career choices. They are upset with themselves because they have made these choices out of fear that stems from being unsuccessful.

Why are we in such a rush? The answer is simple. We don’t want to end up alone and we don’t want to end up unhappy. So we jump to conclusions and put ourselves in situations we are not 100 percent sure we want to be in. We do this so effortlessly, because it is easier to succeed at something unhappily than to feel as if you are going nowhere in life at all.

But what is so wrong with being alone and being a tiny bit unhappy for a little while? We have to hit rock bottom before we can truly go up from there. We have to know the things that make us so unbearably miserable, so that we can appreciate the things that make us content and purposeful.

Instead of focusing so much on what others expect of us, we should focus on what we expect of ourselves. I expect myself to find a career that positively contributes to my character, and allows me to grow as a person. What do you expect from yourself in the long run? What path can you take that will help you become that person you dreamed of being when you were younger?

I end this reflection with food for thought: in life we are going to flop in and out of opportunities. Some we will find rewarding, and others we will conclude were a waste of time. But as long as we had purpose in those endeavors and accept the outcome graciously, we have thrived.

It is okay to not know what you want to do and it is okay to feel unsettled when thinking about that concept. However, we have to remember with every step back we take, we end up taking three or four more steps forward.

Enjoy that step back and flounder with purpose in your life. We are not meant to have our life figured out at every second of the day; it is the ambiguities in our day-to-day lives that allow us to prosper and acquire courage to one day find that right opportunity that will lead us to contentment. And when the occasion presents itself, you will know.

Be patient, the best is yet to come. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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