People say that the 20s are when we find ourselves. That’s why people go away for college – to find themselves.
I’ve never agreed with this, because I feel like I’ve known exactly who I am since I was about 8 years old.
That’s not to say that I haven’t grown and matured, come up with different ways to handle different situations, let go of relationships, etc… but for as long as I can remember, I have known exactly who I am and what I want.
The thing I’ve never known is how to get what I want.
This is where networking comes in, I guess. Even if you don’t know anyone who can actually do anything to get you closer to what you want, you could at least network your way to a conversation with someone who did it, or did something similar, so you can get a sense of at least one way that it could be done.
If you feel like you’ve already found yourself and you know what you want, I would say the next step for you is making a tangible plan of how you’re going to get there.
Maybe you want to be a writer. Try to get in contact with other writers and ask how they got where they are. Make sure you are writing every day, even if it’s a journal, and you’re the only one who reeds it.
Maybe you want to be a doctor. Contact other doctors, ask how they got where they are, and make sure you’ve got all the necessary education under your belt, or at least a plan to complete it.
If you’re still finding yourself, and still figuring out what you want to do, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Try everything. Travel. Go sightseeing. Start a new job. Google top 10 things to do in your city, and try everything on the list you’ve never done before – even if they don’t seem interesting upon reading about it.
I think this would even be a valuable task for those who feel we have found ourselves and know what we want – because if we haven’t figured out how to get there, maybe we’re supposed to be doing something else.
I don’t know who said, “when one door closes, another one opens” but if that’s a true phrase that we should live by, we have to be careful to understand that it doesn’t say “when one door that leads to destination A closes, another one opens that still leads to destination A.” Maybe the other door leads somewhere else, entirely. Somewhere we never thought we would go. Somewhere we never dreamed of.
This place may be amazing… but it may be terrible. It may lead to more trials and tribulations that we have to endure to prepare us for what we will find behind the next door.
Maybe finding yourself isn’t just knowing who you are and what you want. Maybe it includes knowing how to get there.
Another saying I like is “life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.” This means we have choices.
You’re not lost, you’re right here. Maybe you don’t know what you want. Maybe you do, but you don’t know how to get it. Maybe you struggle with making decisions. That doesn’t mean you’re lost. It means you have options. Choices. Power.
We’re all on a journey. Sometimes it’s easy, most of the time it’s hard. It’s a hell of a lot easier, in my opinion, if you’ve got someone to go through the journey with. But if you’re like me, and you’re going it alone right now, just remember that so far, you have survived every single bad day that you’ve ever had.
No matter how bad things are today, think about all of the bad times that you survived. You made it – you’re still here. And I know that some days that isn’t enough. Some days you’d rather not be here than be here with your bad memories and pain and sorrow. But just like happy moments don’t last forever, neither do sad ones.
Tell yourself whatever you need to hear and believe to keep going.
You will get through this.
It is okay.
You’re exactly where you need to be – and if that place is not where you want to be, remember where you’ve been. You’re not where you used to be, and you’re not where you’re going. You have time. Things will change. You will get there.