Dad recently called wanting to talk about my future. Fitting, given that the anniversary of my big move to Atlanta is coming up. He asked what my plan is. “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”
Honestly? I don’t know.
That answer was perfectly adequate last year, but having had a whole year to wander around, shouldn’t I have come up with something better this go around? Surely I’ve had plenty of time to think and try out things and should know where I’m going career-wise, right? C’mon Miranda, get with the fricking program. Figure out what you love and do it- quick. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life like this.
That’s about half of what I feel. The other half of me feels like this past year is an amazing accomplishment. After being practically thrown out on the street with no job or permanent home here, I’ve worked myself up into my own apartment with bills that I pay every month. I feel like I’ve learned more about myself in this past year than I have at any other time of my life. I feel like I have my shit together. Look at all I’ve done:
- Worked a bunch of jobs and figured out what kind of boss and environment I need to do my best work
- Met a ton of amazing people and formed a network of friends that I can share my whole self with
- Formed a healthy social life
- Wrote about my life on this blog
- Revolutionized how I look at my body
- Taught ASL and photography to homeschoolers and learned some teaching methods that do and don’t work
- Got super involved with ATLOS and helped make it the awesome organization it is today by leading an Atlas Shrugged reading group and teaching 3(!) classes at ATLOSCon
- Learned what my biggest flaws are and how they prevent me from living fully
- Learned how to practice Positive Discipline in real life with kids and adults
- Figured out what my personality is like
- Got health insurance!
- Had my best romantic relationship yet and learned a lot about what I need in a partner
- How to communicate better to meet my needs and whoever I’m dealing with
It’s really hard having such conflicting feelings. It seems like I’ve come so far but I still have much much farther to go. And somehow all the accomplishments in my personal life are minimized by the fact that I have no freaking clue what career I want. And that’s a Big Thing for Objectivists to have a job their passionate about. And I don’t feel like Dagny does about her rails. I have lots of jobs that I really like, but nothing really stands out. I’m just not sure what to do. And no sel-help book, podcast, or article seems to be helping put me in the right direction.
But then I feel like a lot of people my age are going through this. How many times have I had the “What the hell am I going to do after graduation?” conversation with kids my age. But somehow having a degree makes that less of a Thing. At least they accomplished a bachelors in their similarly confused and zig-zagged path. That’s not for me.
But then again, who cares what other people are doing?! What should I be doing? Am I doing everything I can to create a path for myself. Probably not. I could cut out eating out and obsessively turn off every electrical device and try to save some more money for the dreaded day when my car dies. I could have turned down deaf camp and not missed a week of work. I could stop watching as many movies and tv shows as I do and devote it to building up my portfolio, writing class plans, or researching career fields. I could do better. And I’m not. So I feel like a big fat failure.
But I’m not! Look at that list up there! Clearly I am making progress in my life, but since a significant part of that is not around my career (which the biggest thing I wanted to make headway in when I quit school a year ago), it sorta feels all for naught. But do I really need to know that right now? I’m still figuring it out, and I’ve got a lot of pieces of the puzzle, but not all of them to see the big picture yet. Is that so bad?
But will I be saying all this again in a year? What’s the cutoff date for figuring out your dream profession? At what point do I just pick something and run with it? I feel like the clock is really ticking.
Right now I feel like a scattered mess.