Lately, I’ve been struggling. As with everything that has to do with my brain, there is no single event, individual, or situation that created this feeling inside – it’s everything all at once. A tidal wave of emotions, thoughts and words wreaking havoc on my mental processes and literally anyone who happens to step into the line of fire and asks me how I’m doing. Bam, that’s just how I roll. In the midst of this hurricane, I’ve had many late night/early morning (oftentimes teary) conversations with various people in my life. Some individuals have given me great insight, some have left me feeling more confused than before, others made me laugh when I needed it most, but there was only one conversation that made me feel the need to succumb to physical violence. At the end of this particular heart-to-heart someone said to me, “It’s okay, you just need to figure out what you want to do with your life” (insert here the empathetic side head tilt that also went along with this patronizing statement).
I immediately wanted to throat punch them.
In that instant, I could have rattled off a list of a hundred things that I want to do with my life; none of which I believe would have been a satisfactory response and/or defense to their statement. I want to do something every day that makes my heart race. I want to be an inspirational and important person in the lives of those I love. I want to have conversations with strangers and see the world through a different set of eyes. I want to see the world. I want to write a book. I want to have a book published. I want to take photos of the places and spaces that I love. I want to design a home. I want to complete random acts of kindness each day that I am alive. I want to push myself past my comfort zone. I want to fall in love. I want to learn another language. I want to play music. I want to show others why I love this city. I want to make a difference. I want to live a life that I am passionate about.
Shall I continue?
Unfortunately, conversations highlighting my need to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life are a recurring theme. Maybe it’s because people view me as an intelligent individual whom they would expect to have their entire life mapped out, or maybe it’s simply because young people have been programmed since elementary school to believe that the only question worth answering in life is “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Either way, my standard answer of “I don’t know” has never left anyone satisfied (to be fair, on occasion I also tell people that I want to be a construction worker – I also have a tendency to be a smartass).
The reason this particular question makes me want to drop kick someone in the throat is because it implies that what I’ve been doing every day for the past 29 years doesn’t constitute a “life”. It implies that all of my experiences, all of my relationships, all of my accomplishments, all of my defeats, and all of the moments in between don’t count. Does “life” only begin when a professional designation is attached to our names?
Forgive me for calling that bullshit.
True, I’m not currently on a clear path that is leading me directly to the top of the so-called professional ladder, attaching a fancy job title to validate my success, and slapping a few extra zeros on the end of my paycheque. My question is, do any of those things truly matter if what you’re doing is not meaningful to you? The rationale behind this may not line up with what society deems the proper way of choosing a career, but I’m starting to care less and less when it comes to societal opinions about my life.
This next thought may sound slightly morbid, but when we die, it’s not our resumes that will be read aloud at our funerals. What will be recounted are the things we loved, the way we shared our passion with the world, and most importantly, the people who we loved and the way they loved us back. Well, at least those are the aspects of my life that I want to be celebrated. In my opinion, we should live each day as if it were a moment we would want to be eulogized. A moment that we would want others to remember us by.
If nothing else, I want my life to be meaningful. I want to make an impact on the world. Whether that impact is big or small doesn’t matter. When I leave this world I want to be remembered as a passionate, kind-hearted, and inspirational
person, who laughed often and loved even more. I want to be remembered as a person who instead of playing it safe and following the rules of what my life was supposed to look like, lived a life doing exactly what they loved.
I know that at the moment my path is unclear, but just because I can’t see the end point doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be awesome.