Life lessons#7: Letting go and listening to the universe
I am a planner. I love to be organised and frankly if I don’t have my sh*t together that really freaks me out. Throughout my life, I have always characterised myself as someone who is a “go-getter”, I would describe myself as being fiercely ambitious and driven- in other terms I’m a grafter. This work ethic has been instilled to me throughout my life, I’ve seen it in my peers but mainly in my family; my dad worked full time as an agricultural manager for 42 years for the City Council. Whilst securing this job he also was a freelance part time DJ and in recent years he has branched into multi-level marketing and works for two other companies. My mum is exactly the same, she has worked throughout her life and has always encouraged me to be a hard worker and strive to become self-sufficient, moulding me into the little feminist and independent woman that I am.
Now this isn’t a post to brag about how much work experience I have or how ‘qualified’ I am, the point in question is actually challenging that. You’d think that with all of the work experience that I do have; I’d at least have some idea of what I want to do in life.
Nope. I have no clue.
Well, I have a few ideas but my problem has always been committing to one thing. I’ve always liked to have my eggs in multiple baskets- as a child I wanted to do everything. I essentially had no free time as a teenager because most of my evening were spent fostering my ever-growing list of hobbies: netball, girl guides, piano, rounders, dance- you name it and I’ve probably tried it. Each one of these activities taught me something new: piano taught me perseverance and that quitting is not the answer, dance taught me how to commit to something you love and strive to fulfil a goal. Netball and rounders taught me how to compromise and work in a team. Long before I started this life lessons series on my blog, I had been unintentionally cultivating my own private list for almost a decade. Even now I’m still looking for hobbies and things to fill up my free time; for example this year I really got into working out at the gym and weight training and I actually discovered that I love spin classes because they satisfy my needs to be in an independent yet goal orientated setting. I’ve really enjoyed blogging and experimenting with photography too.
Despite the great number of hobbies that I’ve accrued, I still haven’t worked out what my passion in life is. I’m still debating whether you can only have one single passion- or whether you can be attracted to lots of different things. One thing that I do know is that I definitely veer more towards the creative and artistic side of the spectrum. I’m a people person and I know that whatever job I have, I want to help people. I have a few ideas of what could work for me, but the thing that stresses me out the most is the uncertainty of it all.
I’ve been on my year abroad for almost a year, during this time I’ve travelled, met new people and had a multitude of experiences. I’m working for a co-working company again and I love the autonomy that I have in the job. Although I am interning, I still have a lot of responsibility and I am expected to handle things on my own which I like. Working in a space surrounded by starts up and people working on their passions simultaneously inspires me and also fills me with dread. I long to have the guts to do what they do; a lot of the time my co-workers have trialled other sectors before committing to their own business. I do think that this is important and throughout all of my work experience, even though I don’t have a definitive idea about what career path I want to take, I’m now sure that there are some that I will definitely be trying to avoid- thanks having the opportunity to work in these fields.
As the summer draws near and the vacuous month of August looms, all I can think about is what to do to occupy my free time. Even though I’m working full time, my work is people based and so if there aren’t many clients, my workload is significantly reduced. Now for most people that isn’t such a bad thing, but for me it means that most of the time I’m in my head about what I want to do- almost forcing myself into a premature quarter life crisis.
One thing that I am learning is that it is okay to have no idea about what you want to do. I remember speaking to my mum about this a while ago and asking her, what it was that she wanted to do in life. She told me that she’s still not sure what she wants to do- and she is middle aged (but looks amazing for her age!). I even went home for a little rest period in June and sat in the car for about an hour with my dad, talking through my concerns. He basically told me that its perfectly natural to not have a concrete idea of what you want to do; he told me that my issue is that I’ve got an overabundance of options and interests. I need to really cull my list and try to find something that really motivates me and that I’ll find my passion when I least expect it. When I went to visit my friends at university, it was strange seeing most of them preparing to graduate and then join the “real world. It’s crazy to think that at 21 we’re expected to have a clear idea of our life goals. However, when I spoke to them that wasn’t the case; some had decided to do a masters to bide some more time, a few have graduate jobs working in the city but the majority had no idea what they wanted to do. I realised that this feeling I was having wasn’t an isolated case, although people seem to have it figured out, we’re all just fumbling around in this world, going through the motions, trying to find something that sticks.
My friend Bridie said something interesting to me the other day; she had recently been offered a job with a company but she wasn’t sure if she was going to accept the offer because it would mean not finishing her degree. She told me that she was uncertain about what to do but that she was going to ‘trust in the universe’. I love that phrasing, because it’s very true. That is all we can do- I do believe that we should take every day as it comes. Yes, of course have those little nagging thoughts in our minds and we will always worry about things, but we’re human and we have a limited amount of time on earth. There is no use in getting worked up about things that you can’t control. Allowing ourselves to “go with the flow” is quite hard thing to do- it is like plunging into the unknown, taking a leap of faith. But isn’t that what life is and what we do each day? It generates a lot of anxiety in me to admit that I have no idea what I want to do, but also it is comforting to know that this feeling is shared amongst my peers. Our generation is most likely to have a multiple career paths, rather than conventionally fulfilling one job for life.
I’m learning that there are no “right” or “wrong” paths; there are some pathways that are better travelled than others, more conventional. Yet taking a detour and finding your own passion and trying to establish your own way can be just as much, if not more exciting. Trusting in the process is something that we all need to do- our lives are not written out for us, the possibilities are endless and we have so much to look forward to.
** Image taken from Pinterest