I am a walking cliche, me with my liberal arts degree and massive mountain of student debt. Me, the privileged white girl who is teaching English in a developing country. Me, who truly and completely wants to change the world. People don’t like that I have no idea what I am going to do next, and when asked to describe my perfect job, I cannot.
Society wants me to get a 9-5 job in finance or work on the Hill, but I don’t know what I am going to do with my life. I haven’t decided if I’m going to follow the money or follow the cause. I have sincerely thought about couch-surfing as a profession. I am 23! Kudos to the rest of you, getting engaged or BUYING A HOUSE, or starting a family, but I am kinda freaking out!! And society is telling me not too, but why not? Why can I not be confused and hesitant?
Dear me, and every other 22, 32, or 42 year old,
It is okay if right now you are not where you want to be. I am giving you permission to express discontent with where you are while not knowing where you want to end. Stay up all night thinking of options, and realize the next day half of those options are inconceivable. Dream. Flip a coin. Choose the money. Or heck, choose the cause. Quit the job you hate without having another form of employment lined up. Your high school, college, or career resume does not define you. You have more thoughts than can fit on a piece of paper in Times New Roman size 12 font, so take the time to think those thoughts, and find a job that you WANT. Want it for the salary, want it for the perks, or the city it’s in, or the cause it is associated with. But whatever you do, make sure you want it. Don’t take a job because you’re scared of being unemployed. ‘Unemployed’ is not a disease; it is not a stigma; it is not bad. Unemployed means you have standards. If we are told constantly to not settle in a relationship, than for the love of every.single.deity, don’t settle for a job you are not in love with.
Take the time to decide. Have a quarter-life crisis, or a mid-life crisis, or an “I am 33 and my life is sucking the life out of me” crisis, and then change. You shouldn’t have to force yourself to count the blessings–carve out a life where the blessings are screaming at you to be noticed. Help the orphans, design the website, perfect the recipe, help yourself. And do it before it is too late.