Growing up, everything seemed so much simpler. The formula for success seemed straightforward. Go to school, get the grades, get a good job and voila your life is set. But the reality is not so simple and you only just start to realise this when you are well into your adulthood, wading through the murkiness of uncertainty, unfulfilled dreams and societal expectations.
I’ve never been one of those people who’ve known what they wanted to be when they grow up since they were young. Heck, I don’t even have a 5-year or 10-year plan. I’ve always envied those people who have always been sure of their path. You know the ones. The boy who always knew that he wanted to be a doctor. The girl who was always tinkering with machines and loved all things engineering. When I think about what I want for my future, I can envision the type of person/woman I want to be and the type of people I want to have around me, but the what is always elusive.
The last few months have been a period of transition for me career-wise. Soon after the excitement of making a change wanes, reality sets and you find yourself asking the tough questions. The questions you never get round to asking yourself when you’re in the thick of things because you’re always too busy with work and life. But now, in the stillness of unemployment, you begin to ask the questions.
What am I doing with my life?
What do I want next? Does this get me closer to the future I want? What is important to me? What do I want my legacy to be?
In the midst of looking inwards to soul search for the answers to these questions, you look up and around and watch your peers progressing in life. Hitting all the milestones of “successful adulthood” as defined by our society. Great job, career progression, nice car, nice house, getting married and having kids. You wonder how friends, colleagues and school-mates whom you started out with ended up on such different paths. It can get quite unnerving and requires a lot of internal self-work to pull yourself out of that ugliness borne out of comparison.
You have to come to the realisation that you are the author of your story. You are the captain of your ship. You have to define what success looks like for you. And only then, can you start enjoying the season of transition and uncertainty. Because this is the chance to try something new, to experiment, to discover new realms of possibility, to unlock new versions of yourself. This is the chance to grow and prepare for the next phase of your life, whatever that may be. You may not know what comes next but you focus on moving forward and continuing to evolve. You take a deep breath and learn to trust the process and enjoy the journey.