As adults, we are supposed to have everything planned out. It is bad to not know what you are doing – yet most of us….. We have no clue. We get asked about our future, what we are going to do when we grow up, from the moment we start school. We are supposed to know where we want to live, how many children we want to have, and who we want to marry.
I remember when I was young, initially I wanted to be a marine biologist. The water was something that I found amazingly beautiful, It was full of wonder. After I was told that there was only one place to do this in New Zealand, and I should look at another career; I began to consider travel. I wanted to be a flight attendant. That was my dream job….. But when I began growing, someone told me not to bother – I was too tall.
I’m not sure if constantly being told I couldn’t do what I wanted to do contributed to how I feel about a career now or not, or whether it just confused me. However since then I have wanted to become a nurse, a vet, a website developer, a psychologist, and a neurosurgeon. Most of these driven by the fact it was what my friends are doing, what my family would approve of, or that it would make good money.
The truth is, until recently, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up.
It starts at school.
I remember the pressure we are put under at school to pick classes that will help get us into university for the careers we want – but no one teaches us about real life things such as taxes. We are asked who we want to be – Does anyone know this at 15?
I remember the feeling of failure when I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I remember the taunting by friends and family when school was ending for me – being pushed to join the military because “at least its a career”.
This is not ok.
I have played around with answering the “what do you want to do” question a number of different ways, sometimes I would answer that I was studying neurosurgery (which I was), and other times, I would tell people that I really enjoyed making coffee, or that I wanted to do something travel related. The reactions between these three things was amazing. It would seem that according to everyone else, I wouldn’t be happy making coffee or working in travel for the rest of my life. It’s almost as if they think they know me better than I know myself.
People forget that what other people do doesn’t affect their life, do what makes you happy.
It is ok to not know what you want to do with life. It is ok to take the time to think about what makes you happy before jumping into classes and careers that don’t.
You are the most important thing in your life, and if you ignore this….. Bad things tend to follow.