When I was 3 I wanted to be a teacher. When I was 8 I wanted to be a popstar. When I was 13 I wanted to be the wife of Billie Joe Armstrong. When I was 15 I wanted to be an adult. When I was 17 I wanted to be anything that would make me the big bucks. When I was 19 I wanted to work with children. When I was 21 I wanted to start my own business. At 23, I want to be a writer (that trades words I have written for money, because I will argue that I am already a writer. Just not a paid one. Yet).
Safe to say, I’ve certainly changed my mind a few times.
Are we the most indecisive generation to date? Maybe, but with good reason.
We have thirty three gazillion options for what to do with our lives. We can stay in our home towns, move to big cities, live in different countries, go to work, go to university, start a business, be a freelancer, or all of the above. Even that list of rather big options are just the tip of the option iceberg. When it comes to what you should be doing; what field you should be working in or what topic you should be studying; that’s a different question entirely, and conjures up such a humongous pile of options that the only option you want to pick is to stay in bed and not make any decisions.
Let’s blame the internet.
Not only is every single job posted on the internet for anybody to apply for, but all the internet gives us the power to learn a lot of skills. You can learn to code, or learn Spanish like you said you would in your New Years resolution list of 2012, or get a degree through studying at home and speaking to tutors online. You can practice a whole load of skills too. You could practice using Photoshop and Illustrator to unleash your inner designer. Or maybe you want to learn the tricks of online marketing – whatever floats your boat and grabs your interest. I’ve been blogging for almost four years now, and my writing has improved a lot (or at least, I like to bloody well think so).
With all these options, how can we even comprehend choosing the right one? How do we know which one is going to suit us for the rest of our lives?
Let’s bring realness to the table here – we will never know exactly which option is going to be the best for us. Sure we have a gut instinct, and we most likely have a feeling of what we would like to be doing based upon our hobbies, but ultimately, nobody truly knows what they are going to be doing in 5, 10 or 20 years. Overtime our personalities shift a little bit, our hobbies change, we get new haircuts, and we are not the exact same person we were in the good old days.
We can’t predict the future, so don’t pressure yourself too much about it. Choose something that excites you now. Choose something you like doing now. Unfortunately that means getting out of bed and making a decision. But I’d much rather that than waste the time, and find myself in 13 years regretting the fact that I didn’t choose sooner, and instead let the universe take me on its own path, not my path.
Sylvia Plath says it rather well with a section from The Bell Jar:
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree.
From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and off-beat professions, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.
I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and one by one, the plopped to the ground at my feet.
Though I must say, I don’t completely agree with one thing she has written. Choosing one doesn’t mean you are going to lose all the rest. Sure, you can’t give your complete attention to everything, so some things are going to be less nurtured and less important to you in the grand scheme of your life; but that shouldn’t stop you from trying out all of the options. The main thing really is to choose one first. Become awesome at that one thing, and then choose a new challenge. Maybe that first thing won’t work out – at least you’ve given it a good shot, and you always have the option of starting something new; that’s one of the blessings we have as Generation Y. We’re not constrained by the degree we chose to study, or the work experience we have. We can start anything at any time, as long as we work our ass off trying, we will see results in our favour.
But maybe I’m just a huge optimist that watched Hector and The Search For Happiness last night whilst drinking whiskey (which may or may not be true). Or maybe I just spilled out some inspiring realness that might actually help someone. I’ll take the latter.