I’m almost thirty, and up until two years ago, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. This isn’t a new thing; it’s common. For example, in 2016, The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a piece on a 16-year-old girl who felt so anxious about her future she ended up in a therapist’s office.
What Is A Life Plan?
From the moment we hit teenagehood, our futures begin paving themselves, and we feel the pressure to make sure we make the right decision. This is when we consider a plan to succeed in life. We ruminate on different paths, careers, and ideas, hoping we feel excited by something and create a life outline for this plan. Thus, we start planning for personal success at an extremely young age, even before truly understanding the meaning of success.
Is There A Successful Life Without A Plan?
We tell ourselves that if we plan to succeed in life when we are younger, we will avoid any bad decisions, and we will always know where we are going. However, that tends not to be the case. The truth is, we never know what the future holds.
For example, my father-in-law didn’t begin his dream job until he was in his forties, and I didn’t realize I wanted to write about mental wellness until I couldn’t find pieces that felt like me. My professional success goals just couldn’t be mapped out that easily, and I realized this fact.
As women, we commit ourselves to labels that don’t exist by assuming all women wish to become mums and that a driven woman will struggle to marry. These assumptions bury themselves in our subconscious, making us nervous about pursuing a dream we only discover later in life.
I wanted to write about spreading a positive mental attitude and mental wellness, but I didn’t know how to. When I began freelancing only last year, I was terrified; I still am. Is it easy? No. Is it stable? No.
But I do love it. It lights a fire inside of me; it turns the cogs in my brain and fills my heart with so much happiness.
We all deserve to feel that way; we deserve to not only break glass ceilings but build them or create new ones altogether.
It’s Not Set In Stone
An article published by The Guardian (UK) in 2013 discusses the pressure we place on seventeen-year-olds to choose subjects and qualifications for their ‘dream’ career when they will have to wait at least five years to begin it. We feed a narrative that the decision we make at that age is the only thing we can ever do. We want to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt. So we ask ourselves, “What are the success principles?”
So, when they change their mind, they feel guilt, and we set ourselves up to feel as if we are failing; we set ourselves up to be worried because we believe the decision we make at eighteen, thirty, or even fifty is what we have to commit to. As if we don’t get to change our minds.
Through life, we go through new experiences, and we soon discover our wants and desires change. In addition, we may find our values shift as we get older, and what made us happy at one age doesn’t apply later on.
If you’re feeling lost, unsure of what to do, choose to focus instead on what makes you the person you are. Start by filling your days with things that you value and make you happy. You may even realize that when your life doesn’t align with your values, things feel off. So choosing to realign your life to who you are and what you value will steer your life positively and help you discover your purpose.
What Are Your Values?
First off, ask yourself what your core values are. An example of some values are compassion, positivity, and innovation, to name only a few. Once you’ve found what you feel is your core value or values which matter to you, it’s about exploring how to make your days about them.
For example, if you value how motivated you are, you may find short-term and long-term goals to keep yourself on track. In addition, you may discover surrounding yourself with people with positive outlooks and similar interests lifts your mood, as well as pushes you forward.
I, for one, find being creative something I truly value. I try to be creative every few days for my happiness, not only as an outlet but also because it makes me happy to see what I’ve created visually. While I’m passionate about writing, and it has become my career, my goal is to make people smile with whatever I create.
Not knowing what we want to do for the rest of our lives is normal, but we can’t use this as an excuse not to make ourselves happy. So, what does success mean to you? It’s something to think about.
We may not know for a long time what our future holds, but as long as we aim to follow the path to make ourselves happy, our values will never let us down. Of course, if you plan to succeed in life, sometimes you cannot stick to a set plan. And that’s okay.