What’s next? Lately, everybody has been asking me that question and it makes me cringe, because I don’t know what the hell is next. I mean, I know, but I don’t KNOW. I did the 9 to 5 corporate job for five years, I did the living abroad experience a couple of times, I did the master’s degree recently, I did the long-term relationships and had the bad guy dating experiences, I did the right and wrong things and everything I was supposed to do and live. What do you do when you have done everything else and you still have no idea what’s next?
I know where I’ll be living, what I’ll be doing, what I’ll be doing for a living (well, sort of), and what I am gaining and also losing because of all these choices. I know all of this, and yet I have no idea what I want to do with the rest of my life. My mom blames this on me being a ‘millennial’ and not having big responsibilities, such as children. I think it is because I am me; I love so many things and the freedom I have to choose, and somewhere along the way I started to soak it all in, and now I am turning into a windmill, which is not as awesome as it sounds.
Has that ever happened to you?
Well, it hadn’t happened to me before, and for a minute there I was totally FREAKING OUT, like I couldn’t sleep …over eating, having allergic reactions to being around people – freaking out. To be honest, I still am, but now I kind of know everything will be fine and it will work out how it is supposed to.
How do I know? Well, again, I don’t know, but I KNOW. Even if I don’t know what is next, I know a few other important things. Does that make sense?
What I do know right now is that there are some things that are important to me in order to enjoy this fuzzy time and life in general, and I can’t let them out of my sight.
I am sharing them with you today, with the hope that they will be useful or at least offer you an insight to discover your own tokens, to call them something.
I am the biggest introvert you’ll ever meet, I swear. Most of the time I appear to be distant or even bitchy because I don’t talk to people as easily as others do. But building connections with new people is what has allowed me to understand that the relationships in my life are one of the most important things to me. My family, my close friends, my new friends, my colleagues and like-minded people, and sharing time with them is what keeps me sane. Not everyone is going to stay in my life, but I get to choose the ones that do, and even though some of them are far away, they make me who I want to be.
My career is not a race
I always thought that I was going to be one of those people that climbed the corporate ladder and would end up with a great role in a big company. I was on that path for around five years and it was fulfilling for a while until it was not. Even though it had amazing perks, there are some things you have to give up, as with everything in life. Sometimes I was the happiest person in the world, and other times I was empty inside.
Right now, I am interning for another organisation in another country and I don’t have the fancy position or big salary, and although it felt like a setback for a moment, I was totally wrong. This allowed me to look at the whole picture again and learn who I can be and what I can do. The bottom line is that not everything has to go in a logical order, and it’s okay to change the plan as much as needed. Maybe I will stay in the corporate world and maybe I won’t, but I am happy to know I have the choice and I know both options could provide great challenges for me.
This one is almost a default. Honestly, since I started writing down each night at least three things I am grateful for, I feel happier. There is not much else I can say about this. I was missing so many great things that happened to me because I didn’t remember them or internalize them. The big things, like graduating or finally letting go of someone; and little things like receiving a phone call from a friend, and other things such as getting to eat chocolate, making a trip, finishing a project, reading a book, and falling in love. The list is endless. There are so many blessing we overlook every day that we miss the positive energy they bring to our lives.
I always feel like Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls when she visits Harvard and says she feels stupid because of all the books she hasn’t read yet, but in a good way. There are so many things to learn in my work field, new things to discover in the world, to read about, places to travel, and experiences to have. How can I ever be bored? Constant learning is the cherry on top of my imaginary ice-cream, and the good thing is that it will never be completely finished.
But the most important thing, getting to know and learning about myself will be a lifetime process, and I can’t pack that into 28 years, 35 or even 60. Once I understood that, I was finally free from needing to know exactly what is next.