By MARLA NEWSOM
Do you have your life figured out? I know I certainly don’t. Coming from someone who has changed their major three times attending a two-year community college I can admit that I still don’t know what type of career I’m looking to do for the rest of my life. Even though it has taken some time, I’m finally at the point of accepting that it’s okay.
Since kindergarten, we’ve been asked what we want to be when we grow up. By high school we’re supposed to apply for college, pick a major, and develop an idea of the future we want, even though some of us aren’t even eighteen. How are we expected to have our life planned out when we’re not even halfway to forty yet? We’re not lazy; we’re just determined to experience life before we’re forced to do adult things like taxes.
All parents are different, but I’ve always struggled explaining the idea of exploring to my mom. She’s always been my biggest supporter when it comes to pursuing my dreams, but it’s gotten a bit tough explaining that my dreams aren’t what they used to be. I think our parents are uncomfortable with the idea of not having life figured out. For most of them, they had their lives practically decided by thirty. If you think about your parents, they most likely got a job right out of college, met someone, got married, had kids, and their lives have been the same ever since. I’m not speaking for all of our parents, but how many of them really got to explore the world and do things without worrying about children and other adult things? Probably not many of them.
Now, think about yourself. You’ve been sitting in front of a computer typing essays and trying to find a source for your paper that isn’t Wikipedia, or taking math classes you’re barely passing, because you spent all night trying to find those other sources. Do you really want to get dressed up, make a resume and meet with someone you’re trying to please to land a job that will most likely be 9-5, Monday through Friday, with a two week vacation? If so, I hope you get the job. If that doesn’t seem like something you want to do then don’t. I know it sounds much easier than it actually is, but forcing yourself to be happy doing something you’re unsure of might end up being your breaking point.
You might be thinking, “I spent all my parents money on this school. How can I just change my mind and decide that’s not what I want anymore?” Yeah, that’s really hard, but it’s even harder to wake up unsatisfied and curious about what you could have done. Sometimes accepting being happy is harder than sticking to what you’re used to.
Ryan Holiday, a writer whose first book, “Trust Me, I’m Lying” was a debut best seller is now taught in colleges around the world. Holiday writes on his blog frequently and has been featured in Forbes and The New York Times. One of his blog entries titled, “How Dropping Out of College Can Save Your Life” explains the damage that is going to happen when figuring out the best version of you. Although quitting seems like you’re giving up, Holiday says the opposite, “It’s faith in yourself. It’s about not needing a piece of paper or other people’s validation to know you have what it takes.” Holiday goes on to describe the ups, downs, ins and outs of his decision to drop out and looks back on it by saying, “Space is recoverable. The status of a college degree, the income from a job — recoverable. Time is not. The time you have now is it. You will not get it back.” He said in the beginning he was betting on himself, and in the end, he made a good bet. I agree.
Now, I want to ask you: have you ever surfed? Have you ever been out of the country? Have you ever gone backpacking? Have you volunteered somewhere? The list goes on and on. I’ve never done any of this, but I know I want to. You might be thinking, “But how am I going to afford this?” Well, if we’re going to be realistic, money will always be an issue in life no matter what you’re doing. Remember, it’s just life. Many of us seem to forget life is about risks. You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow and that’s the point of life. What fun would it be to know what you’re going to do every day for the rest of your life?