What to do with your life

Let’s face it, very few of us know what we want to do with our lives. From the minute we enter teenage-hood, there are pressures and expectations hitting us in the face to go to college and so forth. Consequently, we have college drop outs or youngsters packing their bags for the sole purpose of partying for three years. But, how do we as a nation rectify this problem?

Personally, I feel it is not the duty of the higher authorities; but the duty of the individual himself. Young people need to get the courage back to say “no” to college if they want to, to say “yes” to being an artist. Unfortunately, it is made difficult when the pressures of college are shoved down their throats at such an early age.

A wise woman once told me that if you’re ever struggling to know what you want to do with your life, you should return to childhood. As a child, what was your lifetime goal? To be a singer, dancer, comedian? To be an ice-cream truck driver, a fireman, a vet, a policeman, a secretary, an estate agent, the President of Ireland or a factory worker? I’m sure most of us have memories of our childhood goals in life. I recall wanting to be a hairdresser or a vet. As I grew older, I continued to like hair, but realised I wouldn’t like to pursue a career in the area. As for being a vet, I wouldn’t have a clue about the animal biology, and it would kill me to have to deal with sick animals, because I love animals.

You may think my example is a bit silly. But the point I am trying to make is we should ALL attempt to resort back to our childhood goals. Because generally they were truth, and they were passionate. We all may decide to pursue a different path in later life, but our childhood goals contained a passion in which we so often lose whilst growing up. So, recall your childhood passion. How did you feel when you wanted to be an internationally rich and famous singer? Did you feel confident, passionate and sure it would happen? If so, you need to get this mentality back. In order to succeed, we all need an element of that childlike passion and confidence.

What do you want to do with your life? Well, if you’re 12 years old and you don’t know… That is NORMAL. Don’t allow a peer or teacher to tell you otherwise. And as for those people in your class who claim they want X, Y and Z from life, they’re not sure. Trust me, they’re not sure. It’s good they have an idea, it’s good they have a goal. But in a matter of years, months or even days everything could change for this person. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. Because the truth is, no-one knows until they are actually doing it. A medicine student could spend eight years training to be a doctor, then when qualified realise it’s not what they even want to do. Now, many of them will decide to stick with it nonetheless. The fact that thousands of euro was invested into their education, and the fact that they will now be on a very high wage for some time MAY be what will keep them there.

But how happy will they be? It seems we live in a nation where happiness is put secondary to a good job. But why is this the case? Out of my life, I want to have happiness! Being financially comfortable would be an advantage of course, but what would be the point if I didn’t even enjoy the job?

How many burnt out teachers do you know? I’ve encountered plenty. These people became teachers and went to work in the field, only then to discover they didn’t even like it. Undoubtedly, a secure job kept them there, even though they remained miserable for several years in the profession. And then, a poor innocent 13 year old gets landed with the bitter teacher – the burnt out teacher. And suddenly, his life is stressful and panicked because the bitter, burnt out teacher takes out her frustration on the child.

Why don’t these same teachers quit? Seems logical to me. Why remain in a painfully hard and unsatisfactory profession just for the pay?

It’s not just teachers or doctors. You see it across the whole working force. Equally, you encounter cashiers and waitresses who are bubbly, kind and happy in their post; although undoubtedly, they were discouraged from entering the field in the first place by the education system and their families. So, the point I’m trying to make is… Please do what you want to do. Forget about the wage for a minute. If you’re planning on being a doctor because of the pay, snap out of it. If your lifetime ambition was to be a builder, or a painter, or a cashier, or a postman – then go for it. I’ve been through the education system, and they have discouraged certain career paths. Which is rubbish. Do what you wish to do – always.

If you’re young and you don’t know what you want to do, do not jump into anything. You’ll end up regretting it in later life; and you’ll become bitter and resentful to the wisecrack who made the decision for you in the first place.

Be happy. Happiness is priceless. Money may buy you stability, but too much of it is unnecessary, and shouldn’t be enough to draw you into any life path. Don’t be miserable in a fancy job. Get out there, explore, have fun, live and learn. After that, the rest is easy as ABC.

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