How am I supposed to figure out what I want to do with my life when there are so many choices? I want to work with kids, I want to write, I want to create music, I want to help people, I want structure, but I also want the freedom to wake up and do what I want with my days. How do I combine all of this and more to create the perfect life for myself?
You see, I have a bit of a tendency to often dislike situations where other people are creating my schedule for me. I like feeling like I have the freedom to make my own choices, or at least some flexibility to change things up if I need to. So if you put me into a situation where I feel that freedom is being stifled, I feel like I’m slowly shriveling up and dying. I wish that was an exaggeration, but it’s really not. The problem becomes how do I combine all the things I want to do into something that actually makes sense? I want to work with kids which means a normal, structured schedule that is probably determined by someone else and changes very infrequently. But I also want to explore my more creative side and enjoy doing unconventional things, which often clashes with a traditional 9-5 type of schedule.
I know to some people this may not seem like a big problem, and I understand that view. I am very thankful to live a life that allows me so many options, and I know that there are billions of people in the world who don’t have the opportunities that I do. And although I have lots of empathy for those people, I need to be realistic to my own reality. My reality is that I have a lot of choices for how I can design my life, but I usually feel more lost than I care to admit. I feel like there are a thousand things that I want to do, but I don’t know how to do them or make them a reality. And I know that I’m young and have a lot of time to figure this all out, so I’m trying to just enjoy the struggle and soak in all the little moments of my journey because things change so fast. I have some big changes coming up and 6 months from now my life is going to look completely different than it does now. So as scary as everything seems all the time, I’m doing my best to just slow down and enjoy where I’m at. Here are a few things that are helping me do this:
- Mindfulness – I’ve learned a lot about this the past year and a half working in the mental health field. It’s taught me the importance of getting out of your head and focusing on the here and now, instead of worrying about a thousand other things. I definitely am not perfect at this, but I’m trying my best to incorporate this more into my daily life.
- Scheduled free time – I want structure, but I also want a sense of freedom. Right now, I am managing to accomplish this by focusing on my productivity and time management in all aspects of my life so I have the time before and after work, as well as weekends, to spend on my creative pursuits. (This blog included) It is very much a work in progress, but I’m enjoying trying to find little ways I can simplify my life and free up more time for the fun stuff.
- Giving Myself A Break – I spend a ridiculous amount of time constantly worrying about whether or not I’m making the right choices, following the right path, spending my time in the best ways possible, that I think I’m honestly driving myself insane. I know that I would never treat someone else this way or say things to them that I’ve been saying to myself, so I know I need to focus more on giving myself a break and time to figure everything out. I most likely have a lot more life left to live, and I have time to pursue all of the things that I want to at my own pace. As long as I’m consistently being mindful my desires and how I spend my time, I will have no regrets and live a life I’m proud of.
I’m starting to figure out that being 24 is scarier than I thought. There are more expectations of me, more voices and opinions, more complications, and more days that make me want to bash my head against a wall than I anticipated. That’s why I’m on this journey. I want to simplify my life, I want to do things my own way, and I want to live a life that I’m proud of by my own standards and no one else’s. So my advice to you is this: Don’t spend so much time worrying about whether or not you are doing everything the way you think you are supposed to. There are many way to squeeze more time out of everyday if you really try, and as long as you are enjoying what you are doing, you will not have regrets. So work the job you want to work. Come home and pursue the hobbies and passions you love. Find a way to make it work even if other people think it’s weird or unrealistic because they won’t have to live with the regrets. But you will.