I’ve never been someone who has a planned course for life. When I was younger, I NEVER thought about how old I would be when I got married or when I’d buy a house. I only thought about my future career when prompted by teachers and because I loved our family dog so much, I usually replied without too much thought about the logistics that I would love to be a veterinarian. Even when I got to college, and selected English Literature as my major (much to my father’s chagrin), I had no real reason except: “Who doesn’t love to read books all day and then write about them?”
Throughout college, I thrived on my work with our campus newspaper, spending as many waking hours in that dank basement office as I could, though in hindsight, it’s less clear to me whether I was becoming an aspiring journalist or just really enjoyed hanging out with the rest of the staff. But, all that experience added up to an obvious path. PR. Lots of media, writing, reading and the sporadic opportunity to be creative. It was fast-paced, full of young women who I assumed were just like me. But, still, I never thought: “One day, I hope to run this place.”
So what does this all add up to?
I don’t feel that I’ve been living my life with purpose.
I have essentially been throwing sh*t at the wall to see what sticks. And when it sticks, I do it until a change of some kind renders it impossible or nonsensical. Why do I do this? The reason is threefold:
1. I am a jack of all trades. Fortunately/unfortunately, I can be happy (or at least content) doing just about anything for a decent period of time. That means that i’m often guided by what’s convenient and available instead of a path that requires more planning and forethought.
2. I hate making decisions. an extension and explanation of the above point, but I have a hard time with any and all decision making, from what movie we should watch on a Friday night to “what should i do with my life?” The other reason I suspect I am like this has to do with the fear of being wrong. A non-decision is still a decision, but one that requires much less investment from the decision-maker and where it is much easier to shirk responsibility for things going south.
3. I am proactive. I hate doing nothing, and sometimes to me, “figuring out what I want” feels like nothing. So I apply for things, network, sign up for workshops and stay busy to avoid feeling lazy or worthless. This leads to a lot of things being thrown at the wall to test for stickiness.
So – what does this mean?
It’s time to start thinking more about the future (like … past what we’re going to do this weekend) and how I want it to look. Making lists, making choices and taking the required steps to get to those points. I need to start practicing the art of decisiveness every chance I get. I need to carefully evaluate opportunities that come my way and think about the implications that each would have for my life down the road. I need to be more aware of what makes me happy and start incorporating those things into my life as frequently as possible. I have to refuse to live in fear and have faith that even mistakes will eventually become resolved.
All of that being said, there is one element of my current approach that I need to maintain. I cannot close myself off to possibilities or become close-minded. Stay open, but selective.
I’ll let you know how all of that goes.