It´s no secret that this is a haunting question “What should I do with my life?” I would think that only a small minority of the world‘spopulation doesn´t have to deal with this complicated dilemma once or several times in life.
The lucky ones knew ever since they were children what they wanted to be when they grew up, they held a passion for something that they kept for most of their lives.
But what I´ve learned from asking this question to endless amounts of people is that the majority of people don’t really know what they want to do with their lives. Some want to be doctors one day, engineers the next, artists and then maybe entrepreneurs. They spend their lives switching from one profession or from one idea to the next always seeking “the one” that will bring them happiness, stability and passion for their work.
I think this is one of the hardest decisions young people worldwide have to face. Society demands for them to go to university young, at the tender age of 18 (or close to it), and they are expected to know right then and there what it is that they should do with their lives.
They choose majors and career paths that the majority will end up regretting. I remember so clearly asking my university friends on the last day of school if they still liked the bachelors they had chosen, the majority said “NO”. Some would have preferred going into psychology, marketing, business and the list goes on.
Needless to say, four years later after graduating, the majority are working in completely different fields to the one they had chosen back when they were 18 years old.
But I have learned a thing or two about being stuck in this dilemma and trying to make the best possible decision.
Sometimes You Get Something Different and That´s Alright
It is truly a blessing to work in what you love. But for some reason the majority of us are not doing it. Because we either haven’t found what we love or because we´ve failed doing what we love and had to go into an ordinary job to make ends meet. It´s not the worst thing in the world if you can find a job that is at least tolerable.
I wouldn’t say I love my job. I do boring office work that brings little satisfaction to my soul. But I have a nice boss, nice workmates, a good schedule and it gives me plenty of free time to write, which is what I love. Of course my situation could be a lot better and I could be traveling and writing as a profession, but I still haven’t managed to figure out how to do that. So… in the mean time I think, work and try to get to where I want to be.
Your Idea of What You Want To Do With Your Life Will Change
You will change and so will the things that bring joy and happiness to your life.
I have a friend who got a Bachelor´s Degree in Marketing at university. During her college years she loved her degree. But as she got older she hated it because she changed. She became more spiritual, less materialistic and realized that her job (in a marketing agency) brought poison to people´s lives. She was advertising brands and products she didn’t believe in and her profession started bringing bitterness to her life because she was promoting consumerism and false ideas of happiness, which went against her personal beliefs.
She´s 32 years old now, she started her own business installing wooden floors and curtains in people´s homes. She likes her job and the freedom that it gives her to explore other possibilities. She´s still searching for that ONE profession that will give her passion and love for her work. But in the mean time she´s happy and making the most of what she has.
You will change and so will the idea of your perfect job, so don´t feel guilty if you don´t know what to do with your life. Your time will come, but for some of us it takes longer than for others. In the mean time make the most of what you have.
Your Profession is What You Do, Not Who You Are
Your profession is a just a part of your life, it´s not your whole life. People tend to determine themselves by what they do for a living, but they forget that that´s just what they do, not who they are. When someone asks: So what do you do for a living?” They´re asking what do you do for money, not “who are you?” And people automatically answer “I´m a lawyer” or “I´m a doctor”. No. You´re not a lawyer and you´re not a doctor, you work as a lawyer or you work as a doctor.
We tend to determine ourselves by what we do for work and base a big chunk of our self-image on that, when it´s actually just a part of it, not the whole being of a person. I´m a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, a woman who is confused and doesn’t know what to do with her life and for a living I work in SEO (search engine optimization). But I´m not an SEO.
Take It Easy, Don´t Freak Out
Not knowing what to do with your life is nerve-wracking, I know it is, I´ve been there. It creates a lot of confusion, uncertain and uncomfortable feelings that can make you feel like the world is crushing down on you.
You don´t have to decide this minute what you want to do with your life. Maybe you´re 18 or maybe you´re 45, either way it´s not a matter of life and death. You don´t have to have everything figured out.
But don´t let life pass you by. In the mean time work, try out several hobbies. It is through work that you can find what you like and you don´t like, because it is practice that puts our ideas into action and develop realistic emotions to determine if what we´re doing is the right thing or not.
When I was younger I used to swear I would never have an office job because that would make me miserable. I developed an illusory idea without an action. Now I have an office job that I don´t love and I can say it´s not the worst thing in the world. My illusory perspective made it seem a lot worse than what it actually is.
Sometimes It’s Your Hobby That Makes You Happy
Hobbies are important because they bring joy to our lives and keep our minds from going to dark places. It is a healthy way of investing your time instead of wasting your time. Nevertheless, hobbies can also bring an important insight of what you like and sometimes they can become your profession.
I had a class mate in university who started a lifestyle blog while we were in university, her blog became HUGE and she now makes a living from it. Her hobby brought her her dream job and I haven’t seen her in years, but from what I can see on her blog she looks happy.
For most of us a hobby will simply stay a hobby, but it brings us joy and so it becomes useful, not because it´s making us money (because in most cases it won´t) but for the simple fact that it brings us joy. So pick up a hobby.
It´s Not a Lifelong Commitment
Maybe you made the mistake of getting the wrong bachelor´s, maybe you have a job you absolutely hate. Either way you can always switch and change. You´re not married to your profession and if you can divorce your partner you can certainly divorce your profession.
So don’t take it too seriously, relax, it´s not a lifelong commitment. You can change anytime you want, you´re free.