Knowing what we want to devote our time and our energy to is a task all college students eventually have to undertake. I have answered the well-known question, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" many times with the typical, panicked, exhausted, "I don't know!"
Recently, I've started to feel this isn't quite true. I do know. When I finish college, get a dog, have my own office, whatever the milestone is, I know what I want to do when I get there: everything. And that can be just as daunting as having no plan at all.
Knowing what you want to do with your life is like a magic talisman to our age group. If we have a goal or a passion in mind, then we have this whole adult thing figured out... right? Unfortunately not. No one has everything figured out. I have so many ideas and so many passions that when I think about the rest of my life, I feel like any of them could be the right one. What happens when you have to pick between two or more things you love because there aren't enough hours in the day to keep them all?
Does this sound like an anxious conversation you've had with yourself?
We get tunnel vision when we wonder about our personal paths in life. We can become so focused on finding one job description and sewing it to the front of our Grownup Jacket to wear for the rest of our lives. However, the highly-detailed plans, schedules for how we are going to cram in as many of our passions as possible, the pro-con lists, somehow always end up by the wayside. Life gets in the way and plans change more often than our five-year-plans actually work out.
After wrestling with so many possibilities and wondering if one choice or another will make me unhappy with my future, I'm beginning to think it doesn't matter as much as we think it does. Maybe knowing exactly what we want to do with our lives isn't the secret.
When it comes down to it, life makes it impossible to plan for the really good moments. They always sneak up on you, or else come to pass as part of such a complex chain that you couldn't have predicted the ending. I chose the right college because at the first institution I considered my tour guide was terrible, so the second one could only look better by comparison. I was a timid middle schooler who joined the speech team due to relentless pressure from two teachers and my mom, and the activity profoundly impacted my confidence level and self-perception. I decided to go and live in England by myself for four months because of a series of books I read as a child.
The things that define us aren't the things we can plan for.
If you have so many dreams for the rest of your life you don't know what to do with them, be proud of that. It means you have enthusiasm for life, not just the place where you can be found from 9 to 5.