From the mere age of twelve, I thought I knew what I was going to be when I grew up. I had always wanted to be a doctor – a cardiothoracic surgeon to be exact. My favorite television shows were Trauma, Life in the ER, Grey’s Anatomy (still is one of my favorites today) and many other medical shows. I wanted to be the next Christina Yang. I had made it through my first two and a half years of college with a 3.89 GPA. Unfortunately, shortly after my second semester of my second year of college things changed.
After an MRI, my primary physician told me that I had a malformation of my brain – something that was causing me to have excruciating headaches almost every day. My physician explained to me that even if I would eventually decide to get the surgery, the pain wouldn’t completely go away. After a lot of thinking, I decided not to go through with the dream I had since I was twelve. Surgery was the only thing I could see myself doing in the medical world, and I didn’t want to take the chance of risking someone’s life because of my medical condition. My dream faded, and I had no clue what I was going to do.
I took a year off school to think about what my next move was. It didn’t come easy, and I got to the depressing point of not thinking I’d amount to anything anymore. But to my surprise, one day it just came to me. I have always had a side passion for fitness and nutrition, and have always wanted to better myself but never knew quite how. I then decided that I was going to get my fitness and nutrition certification through the ISSA. Not only would I be helping myself live a more healthy lifestyle, but I would also be helping others as well. I would be helping men and women who are just as self-conscious as I am, feel better about themselves as well. It has become an outlet for me to not only help myself but to help other people as well.
I may not have found my calling the easy way, but now I’m glad to have found it. I don’t regret and never will regret the time I took to myself to figure things out, and neither should you. Here are some things that I thought about that made me realize that not knowing what to do in life is okay:
1. You don’t have to have a set game plan.
Please don’t think that you have to have a set plan right when you step foot out of high school. What you want to do for the rest of your life isn’t an easy decision, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s smart to enroll in a mixture of different classes that fit your interests during your first semester. Take advantage of that.
2. Don’t pick a career just because it will make your parents happy.
Your parents aren’t going to be the ones stuck with whatever path you choose to take in life. Sure they’ll be there for support, but the life you live is yours and yours alone. Even if you’re scared that what you want to do will disappoint your parents, go for it anyway. It’s your life.
3. It’s okay to take some time to think about what you want to do.
Whoever said you have to go to college straight out of high school probably isn’t happy with their life now. It’s perfectly fine to take as much time as you need to figure out what you want to do. As I said before, figuring out what you want to do in life isn’t an easy decision. Take as much time as you need . . . and don’t feel bad about it. Some people find what they want to do at age ten and others don’t have a clue until they’re 40! Don’t feel bad because you may take more time than others.
4. Don’t pick a career just because it pays.
This has to be one of the biggest mistakes you could make in my opinion. I look at it like this – I’d rather be making less doing something that I love, than hate going to work every day just for the paycheck.
5. It’s okay to take a break to find yourself.
If you lose yourself along the way, it’s perfectly fine to take a break and focus on yourself and understand who you are as a person. Refer to number three.
6. It’s okay to replace your childhood dream with a new one.
You may grow up thinking one day you’ll be a doctor, a lawyer, an astronaut or what have you like I did. Then you may find yourself thinking that dream just isn’t what you want anymore. That is perfectly okay – it just means that you’re finding out who you are and what truly makes you happy.
7. It’s okay to change your mind. Several times if that’s what it takes.
I changed my major at least two different times. I tried different classes and joined different clubs while in college. It might take you a little bit longer to graduate, but if that’s what it takes (and it’s in your budget) then go for it! Don’t feel bad about graduating late because you’re still trying to figure out what fits YOU.
8. It’s okay to cry and get frustrated when you have no clue.
Let your emotions run wild! Don’t hold anything in. If you get frustrated and need to cry, then cry. If you think you’re not meant to do anything, cry. Throw your books across your room, break some plates against a brick wall, just get it out. One day you will find what you are meant to do. It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow, it might not even be next year…but one day you will find it.
9. It’s okay to take your time.
I’ve sort of already mentioned this in numbers three and five, but to me it’s one of the most important things. You’re still young and you have a lot of time left. Don’t put a time limit on figuring out who you are and what you want to do.
10. Your happiness is all that really matters. It’s your life, not anyone else’s.
This one is self-explanatory.
In the end life isn’t easy. It will never be easy, but there are some things you can do for yourself that make it a little easier. Hopefully, my self-realizations will help you take your own journey to finding out what you are meant to do. Just do what makes you happy, and you alone.