Our whole lives seem to be in the pursuit of something, what that something is varies from person to person, but it is unchanging among the human race. What that something is, well we have to figure that out on our own. Life hands you lemons but you have to make something with them and only have a finite amount of time to do it. And guess what? lemonade is already taken.
It’s not easy to grow up and figure out what your purpose is in life. There are many different paths and taking the wrong path can lead you to a huge detour after which you seem even more lost than when you started. There’s no trail of breadcrumbs getting you back to where you began, but maybe that’s for the best. Maybe taking a detour is just what you needed, maybe that detour led you to a place where you’ve never been or a place where you need to be. Many times in life where you end up is never where we thought we’d be and that’s okay. Maybe ending up there will bring you to a place where you can see things clearer than ever before.
In my opinion, it’s the middle that’s hard, the part in your life where you’re no longer a kid and not quite thinking of yourself as a mature adult- even if everyone one else is. That’s how it was for me anyway.
Waking up one day as unemployed 25 year old with two cats, an amazing and supportive boyfriend, nice apartment, pretty happy all around, but no career aspects or direction in life suddenly hit me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all about the job or how much money you make-that’s not how I see it anyway.
The saying that money makes the world go round never made me feel warm and fuzzy. And by the time I got to be older hearing it was akin to nails on a chalkboard in my mind. But, the universal truth is money is necessary to live and to some people it’s what’s the world is all about. But if you ask me, love is what’s important to me and if I have love in my life then I see that as being successful. But back to the thought that was occupied my mind for the greater part of my life.
The culmination of your younger years are now expected to bring you to the next stage of your life. We all grow up and in during that growing up, which always seem to pass by us too fast, we’re meant to prepare for what’s ahead. But how can you prepare when you’re not sure what’s ahead of you? Or, even if you get there you’re not sure how to read the compass that is life. What is supposed to happen when it seems like you’re the only one who doesn’t know what you want the next stage of your life to say? Do you revert back to your childhood dream job?
I spent a good part of my life thinking that what I wanted to do was be a teacher. I loved kids, loved learning, loved being a part of something bigger and the summers off well that was just an added bonus. That career path served me well up until high school when it became time to buckle down and pick a career path. Or was it until I realized all the work involved? But I digress. It seemed like I was the only one amongst my small group of friends- I admit I was quite the loner- who didn’t know what they wanted to do with their life.
High school was big time. The part where you’re just beginning to come into your own and you start to think about what you want your life to be. A lot of pressure for a bunch of 14 and 15 year olds if you ask me, but that is the way that it is, and I know it has served many well- some exceptions, like myself, excluded. I can vouch for how successful it was with one friend in particular who always had it all together and continues to shine to this day.
I found it daunting. Picking up your course sheet before your first day and learning that as your four years go by, you are in charge of your own destiny is great. But, at a time when you’re trying to fit in and be like everyone else it’s hard to imagine what you want to do with your life. Especially when that path was diminished to a sheet of categorized courses that didn’t inspire individualism, holding onto your path became more daunting and less enchanting. Although,I do not mean that as a crass way to say that the path you choose is determined by that piece of paper, but in high school it means a lot. It means what college or university programs you can apply to and who you will be spending your time with in the ever so important last two years. What did I do? I strayed from the academic path. I took vocal for four years and loved every minute of it, with the greatest, kindest teacher I ever knew and I still to this day treasure those times. But if I’m being honest I can’t sing unless it’s in the shower. Finally, that last year is a precursor to what doors will be open to you and which colleges or universities you can apply to. Unfortunately, there was no career in the arts for me but I will always cherish that time in that class and remember how much it did for me- talented or not.
Many kids unlike me went into high school knowing what they wanted to do with their lives and I’m sure a majority of them stuck with it. I bet they are very successful to this day from a decision made at a young age and good for them. But I’m not like them. I’ve never been one to follow the crowd and convention never applied to me and still doesn’t. I’ve never felt like I quite fit in with my generation and like many who were different, high school was no piece of cake.
Fast forward 7 years later , 2 vastly different college courses, and countless jobs, of which I’m currently not taking a part of any, and I still have no idea what to do with my life. But I know I’m not alone. I know that lots of people lose direction in their lives at one time or another. I’ve always prided myself in being fiercely independent and quite stubborn- an inherited trait from my mothers side and one that I’ve tried, but can’t change. I took notice of a long line of us and know that I will have many stories to share with my future children of my escapades.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have lots of passion and hobbies I enjoy. For instance, I love making my own natural products, have an immense collection of a short stories and novels that lean towards the horror and thriller genre, also inherited from my mother an avid reader herself. I love cooking and baking but with only two people in the house don’t do it quite as often as I’d like. Despite that, one of my favourite things to do is put on some music and start cooking.
But it’s hard to figure out what you want to do especially when I’ve always felt that there was something greater out there for me than what I’ve been doing. Where I got this sense of entitlement I’ll never know. Nonetheless, my 25 years have taken me through countless epiphanies of what I have chosen to do with my life and for a moment my search was over. I basked in the fleeting glory of it and I become a part of the ‘knowing what I want to do with my life club’ but my membership kept coming up. Most importantly, I cannot forget to mention that all were shared with my very supportive mother who has been instrumental to my life and the pursuit of every one of my dreams, wherever they have taken me. I am a very lucky daughter and she has ridden the roller coaster which has been my life along for the ride through it all. We continue to have daily phone calls to this day in which I can always sense her hope that I find something, sometimes anything, to do. Not to disappoint you mom, but we’ve always disagreed in the chain of what is important in life and I don’t think that’ll ever change.
I like to think I’ve lived my life a little different than those around me. Some might see that as a detriment, but what I see is taking the long way. What some may call unmotivated, I called soul searching. Each of us goes at our own pace in this life and I think we owe it to ourselves to discover who we are and find what we love. I know not all of us are awarded the opportunity but we are very blessed if we have the support of loved ones to do so.
I’d like to think of myself as an old soul, a term I have found much comfort in throughout my life. I came across it one day as I was listening to some of my favourite music and it was a moment of clarity for me. It made me feel that it’s okay to not fit in, to like different things and that there’s a whole world of people that make up this earth. Differences are to be celebrated and encouraged and not all are meant to be on the same path. The term old soul, continues to be a treasured word in my vocabulary and one that I would say helps me find purpose. Maybe to others it’s a misnomer, but to them I say I’m using a different dictionary and going at my own pace.
I have a lot in my life to be grateful for, including the fact that I’ve had lots of time for introspection in my life. Having time alone to think about what I want to do with my life has been one thing that I’ve been able to depend on. I’ve leaned towards a more solitary existence, enjoying the company of myself over others. I have kept to myself for most of my life and attribute that to my ability to roam in search of where my path will lead me next. Now, despite my strong belief in having my own path and determination to find what I love, it’s has not always been so easy. It’s the eternal search for what us humans thrive for, it’s innate within us to find something that we love. Hopefully it is something that makes us feel fulfilled, and gives us a direction our lives. But if we’re really lucky, it’s something that makes us proud and feel as if we’re making a difference in someones life.
It’s a lot of pressure to put on a career though. From a young age the timeless question “What do you want to be when you grow up” tires with age. The question that was so easy to answer in our youth suddenly becomes more difficult as we age. As we get to know ourselves better and find our talents and where our hearts lie, that question can go one of two ways. It can be easy or it can be hard- as you can guess for me it’s the latter.
But, in the meantime my journey continues. I can say that I hope for moments which bring me clarity, happiness, lots of laughter and moments that challenge me as well. My hopes are the same for you too. Just when you feel that you have it all figured out life throws a curve ball and shows you just how capable and strong you are. That you learn you can get up when you think you can’t and you find strength like you never knew you had. So until then, I wait patiently to see what I will learn, what I will find and who I will meet along the way. Ensuring to smell the roses, takes lots of notes and remember to breathe deeply.
Until next time.