So You Still Haven’t Discovered Your Passion and Purpose in Life…Elephant Journal…
By Maria DeSalvo
I don’t know what I want to do with my life.
I don’t know who I want to be yet.
I don’t know the answers, and I don’t expect to right now, but I would like to know what step to take next.
I have a couple of odd jobs, and I fill my days with activities I like to do: yoga, eating, sleeping, breathing, binge-watching the latest shows, picking up a book after I finally throw my phone across the room because I’ve been sucked into it for too long, interacting with other people…you know, the usual.
But, there is always something missing.
I know I am meant for more. I know that I have this power within me that, someday, I can channel into something greater, but I just don’t quite know how yet.
I’m 22 years old, and I graduated from college in May of 2017. I had no job lined up for after school except a temporary nanny gig. I spent my summer vacationing and spending time with family and friends before I started dipping my feet into LinkedIn and Indeed.
Sitting in an office, handing someone my resume, and attempting to sell myself as a viable employee has never turned me on. I’ve done internships and had other jobs here and there—enough to know that I am not a nine-to-five person.
So, I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world when I met a woman while on vacation who was the CEO and founder of her own start-up company, and coincidentally lived in the same county as myself. I began working for her as a personal assistant a couple of months later.
How great was this? I thought I had hit the jackpot.
I got to work remotely, I was her right-hand woman, and I really thought I was setting myself up for success. I was learning a lot, and I was using the skills I’d learned while earning my communications degree.
However, I quickly learned that there are many complications within the world of start-ups and investors. And when I never saw a paycheck, I knew that was the end of that chapter.
So here I am again: being a nanny, working at a yoga studio, and picking up other odd jobs here and there. I’m still unsure of my passion and how I want to live my life. Well, that’s not true—I would love to live my life freely and in a way where I feel truly fulfilled by my work. But what is my work? What is my passion? That’s the real question and the real quest, isn’t it?
I was fortunate enough to have access to higher education, and I miss it. I miss going to classes I was actually interested in, I miss meeting my friends after class at the campus pub, and I miss thinking that my life was going to be so amazing after I graduated. Well, folks. Here I am! I’m out here in the real world, and uh, can someone tell me how to do my taxes and pick the best credit card and which career path is the right one for me? Because let me tell you, I am lost.
Does anyone remember “The Graduate?” It’s a Dustin Hoffman film where he graduates from college, moves home, and spends his days in a daze of not knowing what to do with his life. Most people only relate the movie to the story of Mrs. Robinson—a young man being seduced by an older woman—but my professor had us watch it to analyze the post-graduate depression.
Let me tell you, it’s real.
We have just spent about 16 years in the institution of school, and now it’s up to us to create our own schedule and our own curriculum of our choice, and guess what? We have everything in the world to choose from, and it’s overwhelming. Some people go straight into the corporate working world and that’s great for them—I just hope they’re happy. That’s what I want: to feel happy about what I’m spending the majority of my time doing. I don’t want to spend my time working at a job just so I can live. I don’t want to work to live, I want to live through my work and I want it to be meaningful.
“So do that!” people say.
Yes, but the issue is, I don’t know what my passion is yet. I feel as if I’m supposed to have this “aha” moment where I know, in that instant, what I want to be doing the rest of my life.
I’m in no place to give advice to anyone else, but the advice I give to myself is as follows:
What’s the rush?
We don’t have to have it all figured out right away. That would actually make life pretty boring if you think about it. It’s all about the journey, not the destination. How corny, right? But it’s true!
In the meantime, make your own curriculum. Some of us have all the freedom in the world right now. We have information at our fingertips and we can use it to educate ourselves in our own way. No one is telling us what to study for the midterm or final. No one is telling us what to research for our thesis; it’s up to us.
Feed your mind.
Everything you do right now is getting you one step closer to becoming an expert in who you want to be. That was the best advice my professor ever gave to me. Everything we read, watch, and fill our minds with is getting us one step closer to being who we want to become. Go to conferences, find a mentor, travel, read, and explore! The world is and has always been our classroom. It’s up to us now. We have to hold ourselves accountable in order to succeed.
Enjoy life and have fun.
Make your life enjoyable. You have a choice in the decisions you make. You have the ability to design your life the way you’d like! Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
I don’t know who or what I want to be yet. I don’t know what my thing is or if I even have a thing. I have absolutely no clue what I want to do with my life, but what I do know is that I’m just trying to find my voice in a way that makes me happy—right here and now.
Author: Maria DeSalvo
Editor: Catherine Monkman