Hello, commitment issues? It’s me again.
When I was little, I wanted to do everything. At first, I wanted to be a dancer. Then, a teacher; a photographer; a lawyer.
But never a doctor. Sorry Mom.
I used to dread being asked:
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
because I could never pick just one dream job – and I didn’t want to be bound to my answer in case I changed my mind down the line.*
*I genuinely thought that you weren’t allowed to change professions up until like, junior year of high school. It’s okay. You can facepalm.
I’m sure my fellow INTJ personality types can empathize with me when I say that everything needs to be perfect. It’s hard to be happy and satisfied with something when there’s a glaring flaw. The pursuit of perfection in every little thing that we do is inevitable, and we will keep tweaking and revising things until it’s up to our (occasionally unrealistic) standards – even if it drives us to the brink of insanity in the process. And when you pair this structured mindset with my inability to choose a single career path and my obsession with doing everything right, it’s not a pretty picture. For someone who thinks a crooked line is an eyesore, my mind is a
I genuinely admire people who have found their one passion; people who wake up every Monday morning exuding blinding enthusiasm because they’re doing something that they believe in – something that they love – everyday.
I used to be envious of these people who seemed to have their lives all together while I was jumping back and forth between majors and making myself feel bad for not knowing what I wanted.
. . . and I think that was the problem.
What do I want?
I don’t think I had ever actually stopped to ask myself that. I was either too preoccupied trying to please others or too busy drowning myself in my own self-manufactured insecurities. The amount of time I spent thinking about what I wanted in life and what I was passionate about probably never exceeded the amount of time I spent seeking validation of my self-worth from peers who only wanted to see me crash and burn. The only persistent thought in my life was the constant disappointment that I was wasting time, wasting potential progression, not knowing what I wanted to do –
and it sucked.
I had to pick the right career.
Everything had to be done just right.
And I had to be perfect.
But I couldn’t be. And I can’t be.
And I’m gradually learning that it’s okay.
Does the sun ask itself, ‘Am I good? Am I worthwhile? Is there enough of me?’ No, it burns and it shines. Does the sun ask itself, ‘What does the moon think of me? How does Mars feel about me today?’ No it burns, it shines. Does the sun ask itself, ‘Am I as big as other suns in other galaxies?’ No, it burns, it shines.—Andrea Dworkin, Our Blood
If there’s anything I’ve learned in my 25 years on this planet, it’s that control is an illusion, and that the more you try to control something, the more it ends up controlling you and taking up space where happiness should be.
I’m stubborn, though, so that still hasn’t stopped me from trying to control 99% of the things in my life – but don’t let my poor example justify your habits. #hypocrit
It’s okay if you don’t pick the “right” career. Your dream career might not be as dreamy as you think, and you can always switch gears down the line.
It’s okay if there are hiccups here and there. Not every road is smooth and straight.
And you are already perfect, just the way you are, flaws and all. We live and we learn, and that’s what makes being human so fascinating.
(Sorry, the corn was bountiful this season and I’m still in the process of harvesting it all.)
So go at your own pace, live life according to your standards, and discover new things to love. Life is far too abundant and diverse to restrict yourself to one passion, to one hobby, to one career. Don’t fret if you feel like you’re falling behind, because you’re not. Besides, most of us don’t really know what we’re doing anyway.