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I Don't Know What I Want in Life (and That's OK)

I Don't Know What I Want in Life (and That's OK)

I’ve never had a clear vision of my aspirations in life. Some days nothing sparks my interest; other days, I feel as if I want to split myself into eight parts, because nobody could possibly do every single thing I want to do. A lot of people have a dream; I have a million, some of which are fleeting. Being constantly aware of this looming question mark—especially given the high expectations society sets, as well as the ones I set for myself—leaves me feeling inadequate, always.

Sometimes I think so much about my future that I lose a connection with present-day passions, hobbies, and responsibilities. I know I sound as if I refuse to work hard. But why would I work for something if I’m not even sure that I want it? I keep wondering if the pattern that everyone else seems to follow—college, internships, romantic relationships, quote-unquote networking—is for me. Why do I feel like it’s holding me back instead of clearing my path and allowing me to point my arrows in the desired direction?

I try to stay grounded and realistic. I tell myself it’s not that bad. And it's not! Every single person on this Earth has a rough patch or ten. Still, I can’t really shake this feeling. My friends know what they’re doing and where they’re headed and I don’t. While I truly fear for my future, they seem to embrace it with open arms and a genuine curiosity. I mostly fill my days and nights with continuous loops of hypothetical situations and defining and re-defining priorities that, in reality, don’t even matter. “But I can’t let go of this certain process I’ve worked hard on. I have to re-evaluate!” “Because, maybe this time I will find an easier way!” (I won’t). 

Why can’t I just do what I want? One of my favorite TV couples is Andy Dwyer and April Ludgate from Parks and Recreation. In one episode, Andy's feeling particularly gloomy about his current profession. The conversation goes like this: “I’m gonna tell you a secret about everyone else’s job. No one knows what they’re doing," April says. “But you seem like you do know what you’re doing,” Andy counters. “Yeah, I seem like it. Deep down everyone is just faking it until they figure it out. And you will too, because you are awesome and everyone else sucks." April rules, and she's right.

Although many questions continue to linger on in my head—“How do you produce something while having zero knowledge about it? How do you land a position when you don’t even truly understand what it consists of? How do taxes work?”— I know it's vital that I trust that everyone has this feeling of uncertainty at one point in their lives. Maybe I should try and find comfort in April’s words to Andy. Maybe I should find peace in the questions that I have.

By Amy de Ruiter, 20

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