Up until college it was perfectly acceptable to answer any question about the future with ‘I’m not sure yet.’ There was a world of possibilities sitting right at my feet. People used to respond by telling me that I had plenty of time to figure it out. But now that I’m a senior in college, people seem to think that my time has run out.
I walked onto campus my freshman year ready to take on the world. Journalism was my passion, but I didn’t know where to start. I jumped into a little bit of everything. The problem was I hated it all. Newspapers, organizations, newsletters, meetings –I didn’t want to be a part of any of it. This had my friends and family worried about me wasting my time and staying on track to graduate in four years.
Every time we come home for a holiday, we’re forced to explain our life plan to friends and family. Sometimes our plan is that we have no plan, and you’re not alone. I spent so much of my college time worrying about what other people would think of my accomplishments only to learn that you’ll only be truly happy when you start doing what you love and not worry about what people will think.
There is no set age that people find their passion, fall in love or earn their dream job, so stop letting people tell you otherwise. The world has evolved into a place where anything is possible at any age, so take your time. You owe it to yourself to truly be happy.
For some odd reason, people tend to make timelines for other people. As I scrolled through social media feeds, it was easy for me to pass judgment on others. He should have a job by now, they should be married, or when are they going to start having kids? Yet I couldn’t look myself in the mirror and figure out a timeline of my own.
It took me all four years of college to be completely happy with where I was in life, which is a lot sooner than some and a lot later than others. Sooner or later, you figure out that what other people are saying doesn’t matter, and you start to follow your own plan.
It’s easy to get caught up in other people successes; the social media generation knows this better than anyone. It would be easy for me to say to just ignore it, but I know that it’s not easy. Instead I learned to learn from other people’s successes. Instead of being jealous about that person that landed his or her dream job, congratulate them. Instead of wishing you had someone else’s life, sit down and think about your own.
You get out of life what you put into it. It can be hard to stay positive during negative times. Sometimes it feels like everyone around you has his or her life figured out, but stay strong. Your time will come. You will find your passion.
There is no age restriction on success. People warn us that if we wait too long, our lives will pass us by. We’re constantly hearing that we’re too young for this or too old for that, but there is no set age to start following our dreams.
Whether you’re ten years old or forty, don’t ever be afraid to follow your passion. There will always be people telling you their opinions; I challenge you to ignore them. Don’t ever settle for someone else’s dream, and don’t ever let fear tell you that you can’t so something. You can. You will. And you will find happiness – just give it time.
Featured image via Flickr