Time sure does fly, doesn't it? I can't believe four years of high school has come and gone, as well as four years of college. My young adult life is slowly becoming a distant memory as I'm working my way into the work force, and wondering, where do I go from here?
I've come to the conclusion that I'm not really supposed to know the answer to that question. You're not supposed have your whole life planned out. What you are supposed to do is take everything one day at a time. Be patient. Work hard. Keep learning.
Wait, what? I've been in school and learning for the first 22 years of my life. What else could I possibly need to know? Well, that's the thing. Life is constantly changing, quicker than we are able to catch up to it. So here's the first thing I learned:
Never stop learning.
When I finished school, I didn't know what to expect. Was I going to have time to fulfill passion projects I've put on hold? Was I going to like my job, and how long did I intend on working there? Was I going to go back to school to earn a Masters?
The truth is, I still don't have answers to these questions. And I don't need to. I've learned that I am going to live my life one day at a time. For now, I want to learn new things by taking baby steps. I've been reading again, I've been blogging, and I've been signing up for online courses to learn new skills, and upgrade ones I already have.
My point is, I've learned not to worry about the bigger picture. Education is important to me, but I don't have to constantly be working on passion projects, and considering going back to school to fulfill some unofficial learning process I think I need to complete before I'm 25, 30 or even 40.
So, is that it? No way! There's more to the story:
You're going to change your mind about a lot of things. And that's okay.
As I mentioned previously, I was always looking at the bigger picture, and as a result, I wanted my life planned out perfectly. I had dreams of going to school in Chicago but decided to stay in my hometown instead. I decided I wanted to wait on pursuing a Masters because I want to pursue other opportunities. Some day I regret that decision, because I would have most likely completed the program by now, but then I remind myself, I've gained other valuable experiences in the past year that are just important. For a long time, I never wanted kids because, frankly, they annoyed me. Now I'm changing my tune, and not only find children adorable, but someday (hopefully before I'm 30) I want my own mini-me in existence. Or four of them. (I will probably change my mind on this too, likely before tomorrow, by the way.)
I try to not to think about these things constantly. Instead, I'm focusing on the most important thing:
Your 20s are going to be the best years of your life. Make them count!
Recently I read a book that was really eye-opening for me. The Defining Decade by Meg Jay was such a thoughtful and well-research book. It explains that your 20s are the most important years of your life; don't let them fly by! Make the most of them by finding out who you really are, and what kind of lifelong relationships you want to have as well as what career path you want to pursue.
To tie this book back into what I said previously, yes, it is okay to change your mind, and figure out who you want to be. But it's not okay to sit around, and wait for opportunity to come find you. Your early and mid 20s will be the best time of your life - if and only if you set goals for yourself and actively pursue them. Don't waist your life at a job that makes you miserable, don't sit around and wait for a sign to magically tell you what to do, and DON'T sit around doing nothing.
I am 23. I am still learning about myself, and what I want in this life. But I am going not going to let a single day go by without learning something new, engaging in my favorite hobbies, and working towards my career goals. I highly recommend you do the same. You've got one life to live, so go out and live it!