“If you don’t want to arrive at the destination, don’t keep traveling in the same direction.” - Molly Kelly
Sometimes, or more often than that, it’s easy to look at other people and think they have it all together. The career, education, and major life goals – they’ve fulfilled them or are currently pursuing their dreams. They have their whole life all planned out, and so far, they seem pretty on track. And then there’s you… If you’re in your early twenties or younger, you probably watch a lot of Netflix and ask yourself daily, “What am I doing with my life?” If you’re older than that, then you may possibly not have the time for Netflix, but you're still trying to figure out what comes next in life. There are dreams you haven’t accomplished and goals you haven’t reached.
The other day, one of my best friends was describing to me a really difficult summer he had. He’s at USC studying to be an architect, and last summer he landed a dream internship, which turned into the ideal job for someone trying to learn the ropes. It was a great opportunity for him, and he was taking the right steps to get to where he wants to be. He was the person who seemed to have at least some of his life together. But then he finally told me that it was the most stressful experience of his life. He was asked to do impossible things all the time, and didn’t know if he was doing it right or not. Most importantly, he said that every single day, he had no idea what he was doing.
But I’ve heard that kind of thing a lot. Parents have no idea how to raise a child, and seek every method they can to learn what to do. When you enter a new job, you’re clueless as you get trained. At school, the teachers and assignments probably make no sense sometimes. And life in general just seems like this confusing thing we’re supposed to have all figured out, but we don’t. And I just think it’s funny that we grow up thinking life is a destination – that one day we will reach our goals and dreams and then be happy and content. But that’s never going to happen!
I’m not saying contentment is not possible, or that you won't reach your goals, but it’s not a place that we get to. Because life is not a destination, it’s a journey that you constantly have to figure out. No one has it all together, and if you think they do, then you do not know enough about their lives. The best we can do is have a plan, or an idea of a plan – a direction we want to go. You don’t have to have it all figured out. It’s okay to be unsure and confused.
Appreciate what you have, who you are in this moment, and believe that tomorrow things will be different, and the day after, and the day after that. Your passions will change, your obstacles will change, life will take you directions you never thought of, or possibly wanted before. Just learn as you go.
Life coach, Christine Hassler, interviewed over 30 thought leaders and experts who are in their twenties and thirties as part of a free resource called the Quarterlife Upgrade, and here is a little advice from them:
- You will fail. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Not risking is risky.
- Don't try to be perfect. It's not only exhausting, it's impossible.
- Follow your own path even if others don’t agree.
- Live your life according to your deepest values.
- Enjoy your body and stop punishing it with your criticism and yo-yo dieting. Breathe, meditate, say affirmations and exercise.
- Don't date someone's potential. When someone tells you or shows you who they are the first time, believe them.
- Answering the question, "What do I want to do with my life" is more often a process of elimination rather than a lightning bolt of inspiration.
- Adopt a "what can I give" versus "what can I get" mindset. That is how you truly make an impact on the world.
Right now in my early twenties, I receive a lot of pressure from some people who tell me I should have it all together. They say things like, “When I was your age, I had a career, and this, and this, and that.” Well, not those exact words. They tell me, I have to start doing this and need to do that. And for the most part, I agree with them. There are responsibilities I need to learn. But I don’t have to have it all figured out. I live my life with a direction in mind, and with a lot of guidance from people I love and respect, and I know I’m heading the right way, even if that direction will change. But sometimes, I just watch Netflix and ask myself, “What am I doing with my life?” and that’s okay.