This is a question as old as time and one that many have tried to answer to and either failed successfully or got the answer really quick and stood by it firmly: What do you want to do with your life? What is your purpose, your ultimate goal?
Here`s a quick disclaimer: by any means, this article does not condemn the ones who have figured out their way in life – on the contrary, I have deep respect for those who managed to get it together – and I do not want you to take the following words for granted. It is simply my way of trying to comfort myself and kindred souls, so to speak.
Ever since we were kids, our teachers, relatives, acquaintances and even other kids we played with seemed to like to ask the ultimate question: What do you want to do when you grow up? And until reality and adulthood hit me in the back of my head like a sledgehammer with the speed of light, I was very confident – as many of us were, I may assume. I want to be a doctor, a teacher, a policewoman or a programmer. My world was small and the only cool models I had were my parents, my primary school teacher and cartoon characters.
Of course, everything gets more complicated once you actually grow up. Questions like What is my purpose here? What am I to do? become stressful if your passions do not fit into a certain category related to a career path. And with constant pressure from everyone around you and even from yourself the road to finding your purpose turns into a very foggy one.
To me the key to not falling into deep anxiety because you feel like you do not belong anywhere is taking it step by step and focusing on the little precious things you have – be it your family, your friends, your pet to which you constantly complain every day about not having an ideal, books in which you find comfort, or small achievements.
A big step in finding out what you truly desire is realizing that some things are not finite, and you can change course if you want to. Making decisions could be hard especially if only you think about the unpleasant things they may lead to. Thus, you need to make peace with the fact that there is a possibility to get it wrong and you need to gather the strength to start over.
This attitude towards your ideals may even contribute to offering you freedom in some sense. And especially if freedom is what you seek then knowing that you can at any point change what you are doing is really helpful and gives you a sense of relief. Thus, we may say there is actually a purpose in not having a purpose.
You may think Oh, I would sure love to be a writer and then go to college and even take your master’s degree in literature. You may succeed on the first try, however there is a bigger chance you won`t. You might find out that writing does not really grind your gears as you thought it would or maybe you really cannot find any opportunity, but this does not mean that you are not trying hard enough. The choice you need to make in this case is quite simple: are you sure you want to chase this purpose and is it worth it, is it maybe the time to see if you can try something else entirely, or can you use the skills you acquired this far in another field, perhaps?
All this in writing sounds very easy and, believe me, I understand the struggle. I still have not found out exactly what tickles me. I have many hobbies and I may be able to work somewhere related to them if I gathered the necessary skills, but the uncertainty is killing me, and actively stops me from going on one certain path. This is why I tell you not to be so afraid of it and try as many paths as you can before deciding what is best for you.
I struggled with my purpose and failed this far so maybe I am not one to give advice to others but let me tell you this: I do not yet know what to do with my life, and the fog has lifted only just a bit, but I still wake up every morning and try to go through life with as much happiness in my heart as I could gather. The purring from my cat also helps with my nerves.