Why It’s Totally Okay (& Normal) Not To Know What You Want To Do For The Rest Of Your Life a.k.a. Breaking Stigmas One Day At A Time.
OKAY, so today’s post is not about food, nor is it about recovery. It’s just about LIFE. It’s about something that we’ve all contemplated, dealt with & even struggled with throughout our lives. Sometimes, we put the pressure on ourselves. Sometimes, the pressure comes from exterior sources, societal norms or expectations or parents or other family members or friends.
But at the end of the day, the million dollar questions throughout early childhood, teenage years & even the beginning of adulthood seem to be somewhere along the lines of:
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?
Annoyingly, we don’t always have an answer to these questions. And because of all the pressure surrounding us, we learn to believe or to think that not knowing is a bad thing, makes us indecisive, uncertain, all-over-the-place & makes us feel like we don’t have our lives in order or a head on our shoulders. It leaves us feeling frustrated, angry, scared & freaks us out, right?!
BUT, TAKE A SECOND & THINK ABOUT HOW WRONG THAT IS… do you realize the extent of what these questions actually entail? Sit down, put things into perspective & think about how you’re basically asked, at the young age of 17, 18, 20 or even, 25, to to decide & know what you want to do for the rest of your life. Crazy, right?
HOW ON EARTH ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO KNOW?
Sometimes, instead of dwelling on the frustration & anger associated with the uncertainty, we must EMBRACE the uncertainty. And this is not to say that if you’re someone who has ALWAYS known that you wanted to be a lawyer, doctor, dentist, engineer, biochemist, teacher or nutritionist that you’re wrong or unsuccessful. Sure, a select few of us live & breathe one of those professions from a very young age & we successfully become just that & live and breathe it for the rest of our lives. AND THAT’S FREAKING AWESOME.
But, that doesn’t change the fact that that doesn’t happen to MOST people. In fact, a study has shown that NEW YORK PROFESSIONALS are expected to change their careers three times in their lives… so even if you know (or think) you know what you want to do RIGHT NOW, chances are, you may not be doing it for the rest of your life. That’s why, sometimes, I believe that instead of striving for that PERMANENCE (that may not even exist at one point in time), you must embrace uncertainty & FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE IDEA OF BEING SOMEONE WHO EVOLVES, CHANGES & GROWS!
And I need to practice what I PREACH. This is what I preach NOW. But years ago, I was a perfectionist, “spend-my-life-in-the-library” straight A+ student in law school who was destined to be the most successful lawyer on this planet & who would never grow out of it, evolve, discover new passions or grow into a different, less perfectionist, more easygoing, spontaneous, adventurous person.
As I’ve told you guys many times, for me, recovery has not only been about recovering from my eating disorder, finding my health & saving my life, but it has ALSO (& even more) been about growing into the woman I was always meant to become.
- breaking down walls;
- recognizing & knowing what I am able to take on & handle;
- losing the perfectionism;
- opening up;
- facing fears;
- grieving old trauma;
- coming to terms with terrible reality;
- going through life experiences I never thought I would (a marriage ending, moving back home, leaving my job to take care of my health);
- learning more about health & nutrition;
- finding passion in health + nutrition;
- raising awareness about eating disorders & helping others get their lives back on track!
THESE ARE ALL THINGS THAT YEARS AGO, I DIDN’T KNOW I COULD OR WOULD DO. These are all things that were not a part of my life because I suppressed them. Because all I did was LIVE & BREATHE what I thought was A LIFE. What I thought would be my LIFE for the REST OF MY LIFE. But life is about so much more than just choosing a career path, thinking (knowing) that it’s what you will do for the rest of your life & committing yourself to ONLY THAT.
Life is about LIVING, EXPERIENCING, DISCOVERING, CHANGING & GROWING.
We are human. We have an innate desire for change. It’s inevitable. Reality is: We get bored. We need to be challenged, stimulated. We have ambition. We have goals. We want to GROW. And growth can’t happen with stagnation. We must embrace the idea of branching out.
And no, there’s nothing wrong with committing yourself to being a lawyer, doctor or teacher for the rest of your life, BUT THAT SHOULDN’T BE ALL THAT YOU LIVE & BREATHE. You are a person outside of the courtroom, the operating room & the classroom. KNOW THAT. And practice it. FIND BALANCE.
Unfortunately, in today’s society, we are taught, from a very young age, that all that matters is structure, deadlines, respecting authority, commitment to goals, finding a career path/goal & not changing our minds. WE HAVE BEEN INSTITUTIONALIZED.
And what happens when we “leave” the institution? When we suddenly feel like we don’t want to be a part of it anymore? When we find passion in something other than what we’ve been taught for years upon years, when our minds were the most vulnerable? We feel confused, lost, uncertain, frustrated & doubtful. Want to know why we feel all of those things? BECAUSE WE’VE BEEN TAUGHT TO BE AFRAID OF CHANGE.
But sit back relax (& enjoy the show… JUST KIDDING) & ask yourself this question: WHAT IS WRONG WITH CHANGE? Why have we been brainwashed to think that stepping out of our comfort zones is so wrong?
- Why can’t I be a lawyer but also a health coach?
- Why can’t you be a doctor but also a tutor?
- Why can’t she be a teacher but also a personal trainer?
- Why can’t I be a lawyer but also a food blogger?
- Why can’t you be a doctor but also a restaurant critic?
- Why can’t she be a teacher but also a stylist?
We can be all of those things if we let ourselves. If we teach our minds to let go of the idea that we NEED to know what we want to do with the rest of our lives RIGHT NOW & that if we don’t, we have failed. We need to get rid of that stigma that says we are supposed to have everything figured out. It should not exist.
We are young. YOUTH IS ABOUT FIGURING IT OUT. Instead of the pressure being put on us to know exactly what we want with our future and how we will go about attaining it & why, we should be encouraged to GO OUT & GET TO KNOW OURSELVES, THE WORLD & GROW AS INDIVIDUALS.
How are we expected to find a career path, live & breathe it without even UNDERSTANDING THE TRUE MEANING OF LIFE & what our purpose is?
Of course, we all want to be successful. In 2017, we all need to make a living. The cost of living is expensive, we all have wants & needs & families to support. It’s reality.
BUT, what is success?
As cliché as this sounds, you can be the best professional in the game, with a six-digit salary & be the unhappiest person in the room.
Success is not money. Success is HAPPINESS.
Before you can know & decide what you want to be for the rest of your life, AIM TO WAKE UP EVERY DAY WITH A SMILE ON YOUR FACE knowing that the life you are living RIGHT NOW is the one you WANT, with the people that you LOVE.
Know that you have a purpose. A mission.
Don’t force yourself into a career that you don’t want just because you’ve been taught that it’s time to decide OR because society thinks it’s the “right” thing for you to do. Don’t get lost in the pressure. Don’t feed it. Find yourself. Feed your happiness. And with that, success will come.
When I left my job to take care of my health, it was probably one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make. Especially, coming from a place of being that perfectionist straight A+ law student, to the aspiring professional who lived & breathed Bar school to the hardworking-crazy-long-hours junior associate. BUT IT WAS SOMETHING I HAD TO DO. I could’ve given into the pressure & into the belief that doing that made me a failure & meant that I didn’t know what I wanted or that I had chosen the wrong career. BUT I DIDN’T GIVE IN. I let go, momentarily, to FIND MYSELF. TO FIND MY HEALTH. TO FIND MY HAPPINESS.
And through that journey, I kept my passion for the law, BUT ALSO DISCOVERED NEW ONES, for cooking, baking, writing, blogging, video blogging, helping others, raising awareness about mental illness & eating disorders, healthy living, wellness, fitness & nutrition. These are all things that I may have never discovered or opened my eyes to had I not taken that leap of faith & made the decision to take care of my health before anything. For that, for the strength that I found within myself to take that leap of faith, I am forever grateful & thankful.
Taking that leap of faith did not mean that I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life (despite the fact that that’s what society would’ve wanted me to think), it just meant that I knew the value in priorities & in putting my health before anything.
At the end of the day, if you have the best most successful & high-paying job in the world but you don’t have the health, the heartbeat, the energy or the focus to perform & work it, what’s the point, really?
And this goes without saying that it’s not only about leaving a job to take care of your health or your family or your children. It’s about knowing that in life, WORK ISN’T EVERYTHING. MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING. SUCCESS IS.
But, contrary to popular belief, success doesn’t mean money.
- SUCCESS MEANS HAPPINESS.
- IT MEANS MENTAL CLARITY & STABILITY.
- IT MEANS LOVING YOURSELF.
- IT MEANS CARING ABOUT YOUR BODY.
- IT MEANS KNOWING YOUR LIMITS.
- IT MEANS LEARNING HOW TO PRIORITIZE.
- IT MEANS PUTTING YOURSELF FIRST.
- IT MEANS KNOWING WHAT YOU LOVE, WHAT DRIVES YOU.
- IT MEANS GROWTH.
- IT MEANS KNOWING YOURSELF ENOUGH TO KNOW YOUR TRUE PURPOSE.
SO HERE I AM TODAY, BACK TO PRACTICING THE LAW BUT ALSO ON MY WAY TO BECOMING A HEALTH COACH / HOLISTIC NUTRITIONIST.
- I’m successful because I’m happy.
- Because I have control over my mind & my thoughts.
- Because I love myself for all that I am.
- Because I care about my body more than anything.
- Because I know my limits.
- Because I know how to prioritize.
- Because I see the value in putting myself first sometimes & not feeling bad or selfish about it.
- Because I know what I love, I live & breathe it every single day & it motivates me to keep going.
- Because I’ve grown into the person I was always meant to become.
- Because I found my true purpose(S) – Yes, it’s okay to have more than one!!!
You live & you learn. EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s true. You learn something new everyday. What you love today might not be what you love tomorrow, in five or in ten years. Things change. Time passes. Your mind changes. Your perspective changes. The people around you change. These are all things that you should be okay with. These are things you should LOVE & EMBRACE. Certainty is boring.
Just because you may or may not know what you want to do with your life RIGHT NOW, it doesn’t mean you won’t eventually figure it out & find your true calling. Live your life. After all, IT’S YOURS. Nobody, nothing, no societal norm or stigma can tell you how to live it & more importantly, HOW TO LOVE IT. It’s all up to you.
Trust me when I say & I speak from experience, that things ALWAYS have a way of magically falling into place for you when you are ready. Work hard to grow into the person you were always meant to become & then you will have the drive to work hard in whatever it is you choose to do for the rest of our life. YOU WILL BE JUST FINE, I promise.
And whatever it is you decide to do, don’t let ANYONE OR ANYTHING tell you that it isn’t “right”, “suitable” or “enough”.
If it’s RIGHT for YOU.
If it SUITS YOU.
If it’s ENOUGH (& EVERYTHING) to YOU, that’s what matters!!!