I went through (what I thought) was some shit in my teenage years: self-esteem issues, fitting in, being introduced to anxiety, divorce, figuring out what college to go to, and a plethora of other things.
That said, my 20s have without a doubt been the most trying time of my life. I’m comfortable in my body. I know how to make friends and pump gas for myself. However, the anxiety and stress are amplified. It now feels like there’s a giant weight on my shoulder. And to top it all off…
I don’t know what the fuck I am supposed to be doing in life. What’s my purpose? How do I just be happy?
All throughout our younger years, we have a plan laid out for us. It’s the reason we never ask those hard questions. There’s something comforting in knowing that after you complete the 7th grade, the next step is 8th grade. Even after graduating high school, most people go off to college to continue the education plan for another 4, 6, or 8 years.
But then what? We know that we’re supposed to get “big boy” jobs, so we do and then that’s it. We’re released into the wild. No more plan, no more parents telling you what you should do, no one else in control of your life but you.
Holy. Shit. It’s no wonder the quarter-life crisis is a thing.
This is the time when life truly starts for you. It’s when you should be asking those types of questions and figuring yourself out. The ones that aren’t are the ones stuck believing in the rat race. You know, that never ending quest to work hard, get the cheese, spend all of your cheese, get even more cheese, spend more cheese to account for the more cheese you now make, and…I think you get the point.
We spin our wheels to work, get paid, spend, and work more. We go through those motions for literally years of our lives. It’s easy, it pays the bills, and more importantly, we don’t have to ask the uncomfortable question of “what am I supposed to do in life?”
I’m here to tell you that a lot of us don’t have our shit together, but questioning your purpose in life is a good thing because it means you’re on your way. It means you’ve got a feeling in your gut that there’s more to life than playing the cheese game.
Unfortunately, it’s like we’ve been brought up in a generation taught not to dream big. We’re told to shoot for the moon, and that way if you fail, at least you’ll land among the stars. What a crock of shit. What they’re actually saying is aim for the high-paying, soul sucking corporate job, because even if you fail, at least you’ll have enough money saved up to find another one.
Instead of dreaming big, we go for what’s achievable. I couldn’t find someone who said it better than Tim Ferriss did years ago:
It’s lonely at the top. 99% of the world is convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre middle-ground. The level of competition is thus fiercest for “realistic” goals, paradoxically making them the most time- and energy-consuming. It is easier to raise $10,000,000 than it is $1,000,000. It is easier to pick up the one perfect 10 in the bar than the five 8s.
If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.
If you choose not to listen to me, at least listen to Tim. Learn to dream big.
Don’t worry if you don’t figure it out immediately. At least commit to not giving up. Keep experimenting. Keep traveling. Keep doing more of the fun stuff – the things you look forward to on the weekends when you’re not slaving away at work.
Anything you enjoy doing, someone has figured out a way to make a living out of it. You may not have the latest Range Rover or iPhone, but is that what really matters in life? And who knows, maybe you find a way to enjoy what you do and have all that.
If you want it bad enough, you’ll eventually get it. When everyone around you is only thinking about the next homework assignment or the next day at work, you’re right to think outside the cage.
I don’t have any strategies or specific actions for you to take today. Just know that you aren’t the only one who doesn’t know what they’re doing. But please, keep dreaming larger than life.
You’re already on your way.