This is my 24th trip around the sun, yet I have a hard time figuring out what I want out of life. I know that this is a pretty common block that many face and oftentimes, it is just a passing thought to us. I don’t want to get into the whole societal standards of success, let’s just stick to what success or fulfillment means to each one of us, as an individual – not as your parent’s daughter or son, not as a wife or a mother, not as a husband or a father – but just as a human being on earth.
Everything society taught us
Our academic culture has made it that only if you score really good marks, you are going to succeed in your career, and only then can you have a successful life. Also, as long as you become a doctor, a software programmer, or a lawyer, you are set. All other professions, especially arts and pursuing entrepreneurship is going to set you up for failure. This mindset is very common among Indian parents.
You don’t need to have it all figured out to move forward.
First, it’s not like we were given a handful of options to choose from. We were just shoved into colleges and professions that were thought to be ‘right for us’. After all this, how do you expect someone to be on the right path and have life figured out? We lost ourselves in trying to fit things into their right place and somehow make sense of life. This is the case when a million things are happening around us and we don’t know where to direct our attention. We fail at differentiating the important stuff from the non-essentials. It’s only natural for our minds to feel cluttered.
Since it is a lot for our brains to handle, we just tuck it away under the rug and try to forget about it. But, are we really just living life to maintain a decent social image? What about your dreams and life goals? Clearly, avoiding these questions won’t make them go away. So, if you’ve been confused with your purpose and have gone through something similar in life, don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone in this.
Figuring out what you want
Personally, I’ve been in this maze for a really long time. It’s like I had so many things I wanted to pursue but wasn’t sure if it would be the right fit. Trust me, you need to stop overthinking because it is a never-ending loop. One thing that I learned is that you will never know what is right for you without giving it a try. Just start trying anything and everything until something clicks. If you feel you’re good at writing, practice writing regularly. If you’re good at designing, start that project you’ve always wanted to. It’s not gonna hurt to try. Like they say, you either succeed or gain experience (it’s not a failure).
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.
Let’s be honest, it’s not like opportunities are going to be offered to us on a silver platter. We need to be proactive and put in that work. I know this can be difficult if you already have a day job that pays your bills, but I’m sure you can find at least an hour every day to work on something you like. If you can’t, it’s more like you don’t want to. It’s natural for fear, uncertainty, and anxiety to grip us in this journey. These are emotions that have shaped our lives. You either succumb to them or grow out of them. Later, you will reach a point in life where you realize all that worrying was for nothing.
We should all be allowed to fall apart sometimes, so that we can find ourselves all over again.
Stop caring what others think
My opinion on something can be really different from yours. This is universal. What is right for one person may not be the same for another. People may have the best intentions when they advise but that need not necessarily be right for you. Everyone has their own perception and belief system that works for them. Opinions are subjective. You too have a way that will work for you and this is something that only YOU can figure out. It’s best not to convince others to think your way because people are too opinionated for that. It’s best to politely disagree and vocalize what you think is best for you.
Freedom comes when you stop caring what others think of you.
It is okay if you didn’t get that dream job, it is okay if you settled for something less because you didn’t have a choice and it is okay if you’re still figuring life out. We’re all in this together. Sometimes, things in life don’t go according to our plans but that’s how it is. Don’t attach yourself to something you cannot control. What we can control is the way we look at it. It can either be another barrier or a lesson we needed to learn for the better. The choice is yours.