I have been restless and relentless. Searching for the answer to the daunting question of “What am I going to do with my life?” It has turned into my own little research project. I have read as many books as I can get my hands on, and talked to as many people who will answer my questions.
I was desperate. Desperate to not end up doing the same job that I hated for the next 40 years of my life. Desperate to not miss my calling, my purpose. Desperate for answers that no one seemed to have. Desperate for some lightning bulb, neon sign, or message from above that would tell me what to do with my life.
All I got was breadcrumbs.
Little bits and pieces of information that I was somehow suppose to puzzle together into an answer. I started listening for the little pings that went off in my heart when something felt right. Slowly I started to form a little breadcrumb trail of pings. A trail that could be easily overlooked if one was instead looking for a neon sign. I haven’t figured out where I am going yet, but with each new ping I feel like I am getting one step closer.
I think it is normal for young people to feel lost in life. Maybe old people feel this way too, I don’t know I haven’t made it that far yet. If we are honest, we can admit we have no idea where we are going, but when we stop to take a look at how we got here, we can realize just how far we have already come.
I think about all of the places I have been, and all of the places I am going. When I look at where I have been, I feel successful. Not in the tradition sense as I am far from being rich or famous. But I feel successful in the way of relationships, memories, and adventures that money can’t buy.
Successful is maybe the wrong word, but I like to think of success in broader terms than the traditional sense. I heard a story of a friend of a friend who had spent his whole life building an empire, only to find himself old and with no one to give it to. I thought this sounded like the saddest way to live a life, yet often that is how we define success.
The friend who told me that story has been running a camp with his family for about as long as I have been alive. He has little to leave to those behind him after he dies, but that is because he has already left so much. He has lived one of the richest lives I know, and he has made others lives richer because of it. That is the type of life that I want to live.
When I think about the future my life could hold it is exciting but overwhelming, because in the grand scheme of my life I seem too little. I am left feeling like life didn’t know my shoe size so it gave me ones that were way too big. Shoes I desperately want to fill, but know I never can.
Then the doubt and the fear creeps in, strangling the seed of hope that sprouted there. I begin to wonder, am I enough? Am I really? Do I have what it takes to keep walking forward? Or have I been found wanting? Who am I?
Who am I really to want these things, to believe I can chase these things?
You are you. When has that ever not been enough?
Photo Credit: Christin VanderPol
I have learned that the question “What am I going to do with my life?” doesn’t have an answer, it is an answer. It is an action, one that you are constantly doing, constantly adapting to. And on the day when what you are longer doing no longer fits, that is okay. You can do something new. Purpose is fluid that way. We define it with our life, rather than our life being defined by it.
Many people fear regret. The fear of making the wrong decision can paralyze us from making any decision. Then we grow old, and we realize that our biggest regret was not the times we stepped out of the box, but the things we never dared to try.
The beauty in life is that there are no destinations, only defining moments that change the course of our path. So run hard and jump high and trust yourself to make it to the other side. Follow your breadcrumb trail and know that where ever you end up, where ever you are, it is a good place to be.
“What actually gives life meaning is the willingness to live it.” – Michael A. Singer