Meandering – the fuzzy path ahead
My daughter is in the process of choosing and selecting University degrees, scanning websites to find a course that will take her onto her next stage in life. With so many options to choose from, the process is daunting. It takes me back to when I was doing the same thing (many, many years ago!). I recall how I felt, the confusion and pressure to make a decision that would frame my career path in years to follow.
Making choices can be so hard.
At the age of 17 or 18, do we really know what we will be doing for the next 20, 30 years or more?
I chose 3 ‘A’ level subjects that I thought I would do well in. Maths (I thought this was my strongest subject), Business Studies (a new subject, in my school, so I thought why not! – it could open some opportunities for me), and Geography (no reason really, except that my GCSE teacher was quite good looking!). So, my choice to study these three ‘A’ level subjects was based very unfocussed criteria’s – needless to say my exam results spoke for themselves. I failed one of my subjects (maths), and just scraped a pass with the other two.
But hey, that did not stop me. Desperate to go to university, I enrolled on a Business and Marketing course with an opportunity to travel and learn a European language. I was so excited and plodded off to university promising myself that I would be more focussed, study meticulously, be consistent and do well. It was important for me, at the time, to prove to myself that I could achieve more and secondly, make my parents proud.
Three years later, with a degree certificate in one hand, and a heap of decision making in the other – the path ahead was fuzzy. I realised that I did not want to go off into the big wide corporate world. I knew what I didn’t want, but still had no idea what I did want.
So, as my daughter is making her life choices, I remind her to make her choices based on what she is passionate about right here, right now. To not worry about the career path ahead, but to focus on today.
Walk away and think it over
I ended up working as a secretary for a small architects firm to keep busy and earn some money. Soon to be married, my wedding plans were being made and I really needed to think about what next. Each morning, a gigantic wave of guilt was hitting at me – all those years studying and here I was working a job that I knew was temporary. I made a promise to myself to always work hard, take the plunge, stay focussed and keep on learning.
On top of that, my boss had weekly melt downs in the office with his ranting and shouting – targeting anyone that stood in his way! Each day I walked into the office, I was fearful that I would be in the firing line for something trivial. The daily fear was drowning me slowly, until, it happened.
He took his anger out in a rage. The photocopier was broken, and that was it… shouting and screaming like a mad man…. he shouted at everyone and then made a direct comment at me! I walked out that day – and never returned.
Bigger and Better
I realised that I did have a choice. Would I go back and wait to be targeted again, or leave and take this as one of life’s learning lessons… that there is something bigger and better in the world.
I left with an overwhelming drive to find a career path that would make me feel valued and worthy. After weeks and months of processing, I made a decision, one that has shaped who I am today. I would teach young children. Enrolling into a one year postgraduate course, I set myself a challenge, to conquer some fears. Wholly and passionately I threw myself onto a new path.
My fears, I decided would not control my choices.
My fears reminded me to stretch myself each day.
Fear is my friend
So, if you ever wonder where you are heading in life – often feeling confused as the path ahead is not very clear, live in the moment and listen to what your body is telling you.
Over the years our thoughts and processes change. Life experiences play a huge part in how we react to situations, as we become more aware of our thoughts, feelings, wants and wishes. Use these experiences, to open up pathways that help you reach your destination. Find your voice and use it, to speak your mind. Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and feelings, you may surprise yourself that you have opinions and are able to make informed and rational decisions.
Do you ever wonder what type of person you were 10 or 20 years ago? Have you been able to see yourself change and know what trigger moments in your life have enabled you to be the person you are today? As you reflect on how you handled past situations and managed problems, use this to help you move forward in life – to be a stronger individual, living YOUR life YOUR way.
We are but a tiny speck in this vast universe. So build a symbiotic relationship with your fears. Know that change is a process – take your fears and make them your friend, as you meander through your path, as your guide and teacher.
Your path today, may be different to the path you walk tomorrow.
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