From a young age, children are groomed to decide what they want to do in life when they're adults. It starts with 'Oh, you want to be an astronaut?' or other similar comments, which is good to an extent because the best thing about being a child is that ignorance is truly bliss. A five-year-old doesn't know the process of becoming an astronaut or the actual statistics of becoming one. Depending on their upbringing a child will always have the highest expectations which is the beauty of being that young. It's not till we get a little bit older that we start to realize that not everything we want in life is going to be attainable. This is also with the help of our peers that expectations start to dwindle. In high school students are asked to be more specific with what they want their dream career to be. For some (especially me) that is an extremely hard question to ask someone so young.Having a passion at a young is a true gift, and up until recently I envied those people, but I'm here today to tell you it is O.K. to not know what you want to do in life, whether you're in high school or a grown adult.
Back to the anecdote. Telling someone they need to figure out what they want to do in their life at sixteen is a heavy burden. You trick yourself into thinking that you wanna do something specific when it's all just a facade to tell yourself you're ready for the future. I've had phases of what I thought I wanted to do. There was astronomy, but then I took physics and realized I can't convince myself into being good at mathematics.
Next up was drafting which just didn't keep my attention. Than I became good at plumbing and building glorified fish tanks but it still required a lot of math. Finally, I decided I wanted my career field to be environmental sciences. The problem with wanting a career in a specific field is you can have 90% of what you need and you can do it well, but that 10% of the skills you don't have can tear you down. My issue was still math. Believe me, I tried to be good at it, I studied, I spent extra time after classes trying to get good at it, but to no avail. Then my life and mindset changed.
The more time I spent around people who didn't care that I was 'lost' in life, and the more time I took taking a hard look at what I wanted to spend my whole life doing, it turned out I still didn't know, but this time was different because I was o.k. with that notion. Something that makes me happy now, and what used to make me jealous before was seeing people have a goal and set it high and taking tangible steps to accomplishing said goals. It's about changing your mindset from something negative to something positive. To be happy for others you need to be happy with yourself, and that's something I wasn't for a long time. Once that changed and seeing people make positive careers choices motivates you to do better yourself. That doesn't mean it motivates you to decide what you want to do in life, but it affects your overall motivation in everything you do.
Now I promised this wouldn't be a Hip Hop article but I'm just gonna slip this in here since it has extreme relevance. The song "Love Yourz" by J. Cole pertains a lot to this thought actually. There are numerous quotes I could use, but I'm gonna talk about three of them."No such thing as a life that's better than yours" to start off. This basically means you may have people around making more 'progress' in life than yourself, but that doesn't take away from your value as a human. I've had the same philosophy in life in that whether you have more money, more school, a 'better' love life and you don't have any of those things doesn't mean your value is diminished. If anything it means you're working on yourself and things come along when you're truly ready for them. My good friend Nathan once told me "Know your worth" and there isn't a day I don't think about that. Even at your lowest, you need to think to yourself everything that happens is a learning experience, and just because a job opportunity or a relationship doesn't work out the way you hoped, doesn't mean your not valuable. Things truly happen for a reason.
The next quote is "There's beauty in the struggle." There really is, and people have different experiences in life and some are harder than others, but there is catharsis in getting out of a bad situation. It's hard to focus on school, or what job you want with problems on top of problems tacked on. When you do figure out what direction you want your life to go you're gonna look back and be proud of things you had to go through to reach your ultimate goal "It's not about the end goal, it's about the journey." Use your struggle as a growing experience, Life isn't easy, maybe it is for some, but for most reaching your ultimate you shouldn't be easy.
"Always gonna be a bigger house somewhere, but n***a feel me, long as the people in that mother***er love you dearly." Profanity aside this is the biggest message in the entire song. At the end of the day, it's about the people you surround yourself with. If they don't care and don't motivate you they shouldn't be in your life. People that get you through a tough day, or will talk to you and understand you thought process and love you unconditionally are the people you need in your life. I've always said I have friends who are family because if they care about you even if you have missteps they may as well be in the family. So my message to everyone including myself is, not everything works out, not everything is good in your life, and you may not know what you want to do in life, but like I said it's O.K. and you'll be okay. It starts with yourself and grows to your support system in your family and friends. Never think of yourself as a failure, things grow at your own pace and what is meant to happen happens.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPCAvzIFY-s "Love Yourz" is a great song, so you can check out the whole song here.
I promised a special shout out to Maquel Baraket. We had conversation revolving around this and it was invaluable to helping me write this (I also promised I'd write something other than Hip Hop). You have a bright future ahead of you, and your motivation is so impressive to me. Thanks for not judging me for being a bum sometimes. Another shout out to Nathan Graham for helping me recognize it's not always about everyone else, and sometimes it's about me. I owe you a beer for your wisdom