There are a few things you’re expected to know when you reach 30; how to manage your finances, how to clean up after yourself, how to stay healthy and other boring stuff like that. You’re also expected to know in some way, after three decades of living, what kind of job you want. And really, you should be in that job right now, forging ahead. I, of course, take issue with this.
I don’t have a problem with being motivated to figure out what you want to do with your life career-wise, but I do see problems with pigeonholing ourselves. The idea that everyone is just one thing is ridiculous to me.
When I was a kid I wanted to be writer. I also wanted to be a singer, an actress, a businesswoman, a lawyer, and even once, in a brief moment of madness, a psychiatrist. I wanted all these things whilst also being able to hang out with my friends and watch Dawson’s Creek. But I believed that I could only pick one. Because that’s what I was taught; you pick a lane and you stay in it. But in reality, as you grow in height and experience, your desires change and evolve.
I’m fairly certain that what I thought I wanted from my life at 17 was not going to be an accurate prediction of what I wanted at 27. I mean at 17, I genuinely believed teen drama TV shows like The O.C. were 100% reflective of real life; I just wasn’t yet doing life correctly to mirror the same exciting events. Not the best age to hang a lifetime of decisions on if you ask me.
In reality, I’ve changed my career and job a number of times; never with the intention to do so but always with the change of life experience in mind, trying to follow my interests and growth in understanding myself better. There has of course, been a common thread in what I wanted from all the jobs I’ve had, which is that they were always in some way, a part of something that positively impacted the lives of other people. Granted, writing is a fairly self-involved process, but I like to think some stuff I write brightens up someone’s day, somewhere.
And I think we all have something we really want to “do” with our lives, but there’s no proven rule that we should only choose one thing. There’s that saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none” which people use in a negative way, even though humans are not singular creatures. We have big brains with too many ideas and can find ourselves awake at night plotting and planning all the ways we can change the world. We need freedom to be creative, to multitask and be useful. We cannot think outside the box if we’ve only ever been inside one box.
I might change my career goal again in twenty years, by which time I’ll have so much knowledge about how to “do life”, I probably won’t know what to do with myself (here’s hoping I do actually know, though). So to those who say “Jack of all trades”, I say, call me Jack. I can emotionally untangle you, write you a poem and project-manage the crap out of something that can help your community.
What can you do? Don’t overthink it…
Image credit: Jack of Diamonds by Billy Sweetman from the Noun Project