Now that I am nearing the end of my university life there have been many people who have asked me the same question over and over again: what will you do after your graduation?
As a 24-year-old, almost BA-graduate, the answer should be fairly straightforward; after all I have had close to 6 years to think about what I want to do once I ‘grow up’. When asking this question, people expect a simple answer: I want to get my masters degree, I want to work for the UN, I want to start my own company etc. Unfortunately, I have no such answer. I have no answer. When people ask me what I want to do I always tell them: I don’t know (yet).
For a long time this not knowing bothered me. It is not that I don’t have goals in my life. I have plenty! But there is not a single job, or career path that has my name written on it. This not knowing felt like being pushed into a corner, or down a certain path. The truth is that society dictates that I start working now that I am almost an ex-student. For a long time I have known that I am not a 9-5 office employee. This is not a bad thing: there are plenty of other ways to make money. But it always boiled down to finding some kind of employment. It is incredibly frustrating not knowing what you want to become, what profession you will end up in. It made me question whether I am actually really good at anything and even if there is anything out there for me at all.
After some emotional conversations I had with a friend I began to realize that in some way, shape or form I had to start thinking about my future. What do you do when you realize this? Right, go to the bookstore! I picked up a couple of books with titles like “What Should I Do With Life” (because what should I do with my life?) and “The $100 Startup” (I have been contemplating starting my own company). I hoped that reading those would spark something in me that would lead me to my destiny. It was, however, an entirely different book that led me to writing this post. A book that makes me smile with every page I read and showed me that I am not the only one feeling stuck.
“The Happiness of Pursuit” by Chris Guillebeau initially caught my eye because of the title. Pursuit, the idea that you are chasing something. I had just not yet realized what I was I needed to pursue. The backflap stated that the author of the book went on a quest to visit all 193 UN recognized countries before the age of 35. He, I want to do something like that! I haven’t read the entire book yet, and I won’t tell too much about it (because it is better that you read it yourself!) but the message in it was clear. What I thought was frustration about not being able to find a carreer I want to pursue is actually discontent, dissatisfaction with what I perceive my surroundings are telling me to do. I don’t want to start working, and I certainly don’t want to do something I don’t feel good doing. Let me clarify, I do have a job right now. I don’t sit at home all day watching Netflix, but I have no pressing urge to find a ‘grown-up’ job. I make enough to pay my bills and I don’t live on hand-outs.
Either way, I have come to the conclusion that I am a quester. I have a great love for any and all lists. I make lists of lists. The feeling of crossing off something, marking something as complete is best feeling in the world. I love to plan (although my plans often go astray). I want to do something big and make it my life goal to complete. I don’t want to wait until I am 50 and then start living. I want to live now. The first chapter of “The Happiness of Pursuit” began with a quote from my favorite book/movie Lord of the Rings:
It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road and if you don’t keep your feet there is no telling where you might be swept off to.
I want to live a little dangerously, and make life my one epic adventure.