I’ve always been the type of person who likes to plan things in life.
Even as a kid, I had an idea of my life’s path. The plan was something like this: going through compulsory education and then going to college for a major that interests me (because several of my family members, including my mom, graduated from college). Then, I planned to get my dream job, marry the love of my life, have kids and family, settle in a nice place, and live out the rest of my life.
With these ideas in mind, I had my future planned out. I would go to university, majoring in something I was passionate about – writing. Then, I would work as a writer job, still date or marry that special someone, possibly have kids, and live in a large city like New York. That was my plan for the longest time.
But that path changed, even as I grew up.
I no longer desired to work as a full-time novelist I didn’t even want to write fiction for a living after I discovered the joys of nonfiction writing. And I even considered not writing full-time in any capacity! Maybe I’d rather be a literary agent, a therapist, or even an archeologist! I still don’t know exactly what I want to do career-wise. I have a general idea, but who’s to say that won’t change again? And I’m learning to be okay with that.
It turned out I would be laid off from my first full-time job out of college, too. My long-term goal of moving from my mid-size hometown to a larger city was shattered. I’m still in my hometown, living with family and trying to understand where I’m going in my life. I sometimes feel stuck in this town and with limited options. But I know that’s not the case.
There are plenty of things about my hometown I’m still discovering. There are people and little gems that make this city a unique place I genuinely enjoy living in. And I’m not dead-set on living in the Big Apple anymore. Maybe that’s not the right path for me. I want to be open to the right path, and I’m okay with not knowing what that is.
I’ve yet to date anyone, which seems like the hallmark of adulthood in many ways.
I’ve gone on dates before, used and deleted dating apps, crushed and fallen for people in relationships, and discovered that I didn’t just like guys romantically. I don’t know if I want to get married, and I know I don’t want kids at this time in my life. I don’t know how, when, or if I’ll be with a partner in the next few years, and that’s okay.
These are just some of my personal experiences, but I know this is universal for everyone. Life rarely, if ever, goes as planned. We can picture how we want life to look and think it should be, and life will still throw us a curveball. No matter how big or small, these things change our course or make us realize that we want to change courses. As they say, change is the only thing guaranteed in life, and I’m learning to accept that.
I’m learning to be okay with not knowing where my life is going. And perhaps I never will. After all, how can I possibly know what’s best for me my entire life? I can’t see into the future. I don’t know what’s in store for me or what options will be available next year, next month, or even tomorrow. I can still make plans for myself, but those plans can and will change. And when I get to moments when I don’t know where I’m going, I’ll learn to accept that.
I’ve been feeling really defeated lately, which is valid. But it’s also reasonable to recognize that many of these disappointments are based on markers I made for myself.
Both terrible and wonderful things happen that make you change your life’s direction, and even that can change at any given moment. There’s only so much I have control over, and accepting that brings me a peace I didn’t know I needed.
Even as well-meaning as questions like “Where do you see yourself in the next five years?” are, they can’t and won’t ever predict your journey. So, if you don’t know where you are, you’re not alone. In fact, I’d argue none of us know where we’re going, at least not one hundred percent. But there’s nothing wrong with that. That just proves you’re truly living, working through changes, and accepting the different opportunities that come your way. And I think that’s a beautiful, peaceful way to live.