Living Your Timeline
When I graduated from college in 2010, I had dreams of working in the city, making decent money (I thought $35K was living large, mind you), living in my own apartment, and just having a great life.
Yeah, that didn’t go as planned. I also thought I’d be married by 24, working in this amazing career I’ve created for myself, and potentially planning on kids with my rich husband.
Yep, also didn’t go as planned. I was married, but not happily and my husband was far from rich. I was working, but not in my career field. I had an apartment downtown that wasn’t as pretty as I hoped it to be. I was driving a beat up car that usually got stuck in snow. I only had a few friends that I knew from high school. Life wasn’t looking the way I had planned.
The past few weeks, I’ve had a few clients who recently graduated from college and were completely freaking out. They spent all this money on a college degree in education with hopes of changing a 3rd grader’s life.
(I’ll give you a hint - that did not go as planned.) Instead, they are upset they spent the money on a degree they no longer are in love with. They are working in a career field that they have no passion for. They are confused, upset, and still living with their parents. And guess what, that’s completely okay.
You cannot live up to your timeline or the picture perfect world you have created in your head. I graduated with a degree in Psychology hoping to work in Sex Therapy (please keep the weird comments to yourself). But when I graduated into the real world, I knew I couldn’t handle working with pedophiles or someone who had some strange fetish. So all of a sudden I was $90K in debt with a piece of paper I didn’t want anything to do with. And that’s okay! You’ve read my story; I figured it out. And my client will too.
Some people just always knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. My best friend ALWAYS knew she would work in the science and health field. Now, she works for a supervisor for a big hospital in Rochester. Me? I think I wanted to be an archeologist. Then a teacher. Then a public relations specialist. Then a hairdresser. I was all over the place. It took me 26 years to figure out a career I might enjoy, and this might not be my “forever” career. I might ride this train for a few more years, get off and jump on another one. And that’s okay!
Stop giving yourself timelines. It’s easy for you to say you know what you’re entire life is going to be like, but the simple thing about it is you have zero control over it. It’s okay you don’t want to work as a teacher anymore, or a receptionist, or whatever. It’s okay if you want to learn about new opportunities, or take a new job that’s not what you’ve ever expected.
I recently read an article in Elle Magazine (very educational) where Jennifer Anniston said “Why do we want a happy ending? How about just a happy existence? A happy process? We’re all in process constantly.” Yes, Rachel Green, you get it.
It’s okay to be upset your life isn’t what you thought it would be like when you were a teenager. You have the challenge of thinking creatively – if you don’t like your job now, then what do you like? What are your passions; what makes you smile? Reflect on those, and see what you can find. Your passions could be a hobby, but it could become a career. Be creative, be self reflective, and don’t give yourself a hard time because you feel stuck. We’re all stuck at some point, but it’s how you unstick yourself that matters.