Deciding what to do with my life…again

Even though I haven’t quite finished my Masters (writing this blog post is a procrastination away from finishing an assignment that is due this afternoon), the “what am I going to do next year/with my life?” questions have already begun to flow.

In fact, they are gushing into every spare space in my brain and even into some of the not-spare spaces (like the spaces that should be allocated to finishing this afternoon’s assignment).

Like most high school students, I foolishly thought this was a decision you made once or twice in your life. I was never silly enough to think I would write my chosen career down on a piece of paper and it would be set forever, but I did think that you would get the ball rolling on life and momentum would gather and decisions would start to make themselves.

That is definitely not how my life has gone. I’m shocked, looking back on the last 10 years since I left high school, how many times I have come to fork in the road/staring down a rabbit hole/edge of a cliff type scenarios. It’s not just when you graduate, it’s when you end a contract, it’s when you move countries. It’s ALL.THE.TIME!

The questions never really stop, even in between the cliff-face scenarios, but sometimes they quieten down and you can ignore them for a while.  For the last few months I’ve been able to think about it all with the comfortable buffer of a dedicated period of study ahead of me. Ahhh, what a delightful time it was!

Now I’m back on the treadmill, juggling competing and often contradictory values, interests and visions for the future. I go back and forth between choosing:

  • steady jobs that are good for my career vs fun adventures
  • interesting work vs well-paying work
  • whether I like a frugal lifestyle vs whether I like an expensive lifestyle

….I can get myself pretty wound up about it all.

I have, more times than I care to remember, decided very casually in one afternoon that I have missed the boat on life because I didn’t apply myself enough in my early 20s.

I think for some people “missing the boat” can feel like a relief because they can then get on with the challenging and exciting enough business of enjoying a nice life with friends and family and cooking and craft. But I don’t really like cooking all that much.

But I do love hearing about anyone who has taken a relaxed approach to life and have still done interesting things. So I’m going to try to focus all of my reading in the next few anxiety-riddled weeks on people who just jumped in, had fun and reaped the benefits of a good life.

Any recommendations?

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4 thoughts on “Deciding what to do with my life…again

  1. DavidA

    In 1996 at age 14 I decided to move to a cave in the Peruvian Andes to contemplate the existential horror of reality that had haunted me ever since I was made fun of in school one day in 1993. “What’s it all about? Is life worth bothering with? Why does anything exist anyway?” Some offer science and some offer religion, yet in the depths of my cave I found myself rejecting both as solutions to the problem of existence.

    Emerging from the cave eight years later, I had nothing to show for my psychophilosophical travails, save for a long beard and a bad back. I still haven’t worked the universe out, and last week I found out that I owe $700,000 in cave-rent to the Peruvian government. A life-time of wage slavery awaits me. Unless….?

  2. Meaghan

    You already know what I’m going to say – choose fun!
    I’ve managed to land on my feet, often by disregarding the sensible approach.

  3. Sushi

    Do both. Or at least strive for both.

    * steady jobs that are good for my career vs fun adventures

    You can definitely do both.

    What is a career anyway? Okay, this one is too good to keep in the comments. I turned it into a post of my own (http://www.sushi-suzuki.com/sushilog/2010/10/what-is-a-career-anyway/)

    * interesting work vs well-paying work

    You can definitely find the intersection. In fact, I think the more interesting work often pay well. The remedial ones are the pay pittance.

    * whether I like a frugal lifestyle vs whether I like an expensive lifestyle

    You can definitely live like a king on very little and live like a peasant while making a lot, but I agree, this is somewhat conflicting. I think you or I, like many in our generation, aren’t the kinds to relish in creature comforts. Instead…

  4. DavidA

    Sushi, old chap, not sure how it’s possible to live like a king on very little. Six-course banquets & masses of concubines cost quite a bit from my experience.

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