I am 33 years old and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. And I am finally okay with it. It bothered me for years that I was living a life without “purpose” or so it seemed. It affected me so deeply because I grew up with your typical millennial mindset. I believed that happiness should always triumph a paycheck.
During high school, I proudly stood by and rooted for friends following their dreams even though they didn’t line up with what their loved ones considered to be safe and secure. And today, these ladies are mothers and well known entrepreneurs that are exceeding every limit they’ve put on themselves. And although this was now close to two decades ago, I still remember yearning for that passionate feeling myself. I wish I knew what my calling was. But I didn’t. I finished high school and went right into first year University where I wasted both time and money. I still felt no direction, no pull, nothing. After taking a year off I was still left in uncertainty. I looked into different options and forced myself to pick something that seemed half-heartedly interesting and challenging. I enrolled in a Registered Massage Therapy program, graduated and practiced for over a decade until I went on extended maternity leave when I had my daughter.
I have been at home with my daughter for two years now. I’m expecting my second child within the next month. And although this was our family plan, some days as a stay at home mom are just so much harder than others. This decision of mine can be isolating at times as it’s not the popular choice that it once was. And although I’ll be here awhile yet, there’s that question that still haunts me. “What are you going to do when you decide that you are ready to go back to work?” After all these years, I’m still left answerless. Bring in societal pressure. On top of my already positive and pro-happiness mentality, I’m constantly seeing popular buzzwords such as “passion”, “success”, and “hustle” everywhere. Quotes like “Do what you love and never work a day in your life” are being thrown around like confetti. It seems everyone is crushing it at slaying dreams while parenting, eating right, exercising, and brushing their teeth. And here I am, just trying to be a half decent mom without losing my mind when my toddler asks for her 99th snack of the day.
And so recently, I broke down. I’ve been battling this dilemma for the longest time. I had a conversation with my husband about it and what I finally realized is that our job does not have to define us. We can have passions without wanting to do them or be them every single day.
And because this realization is still so new to me, I’ve prepared a short list of tips to help me get through the days where I start to feel that pressure return. Maybe it can also help anyone else that is in my slow sailing boat.
Volunteer / Do Good:
Volunteering won’t be a realistic goal for me anytime soon with a newborn arriving shortly but there’s always a way to do good. Stopping to acknowledge and converse with a lonely senior takes no effort. Leaving a positive comment online takes all of two seconds. Preparing a meal or two for someone who could use it is a fabulous gift. Donating unused items to shelters helps a tribe of those in need. Even supporting a friend pursuing their own passion is a great way to catch some good vibes. Doing good from the heart always, always fulfills us in ways that no job ever could.
If there is one thing that we are not lacking today, its opportunity. We must embrace what comes our way and gain that precious experience. Explore hobbies, take on new challenges, and consider those wild offers that cross our paths. The mystery of the unknown can be nerve wracking but we will never be able to narrow anything down without exploring our options. I may not know what I do want to do but thanks to dabbling, I do know what I don’t want and that’s a direction in itself.
Striving to stay in touch with those activities that leave us feeling refreshed and fulfilled makes the world of a difference. Bake, cook, do yoga, meditate, paint, golf, read, get a massage, go to bed early, watch a whole season of a TV series in a ridiculous amount of time. Do you and know that it’s deserved and necessary.
Remember that the whole future can’t be planned:
Life isn’t a puzzle. We can’t sit down and figure it out just like that. We change as we grow and if we didn’t I would be that ice cream truck driver that I said I wanted to be when I was in grade 4. It is merely impossible to foresee our growth and the different paths we will yearn to take as we evolve. Different hobbies, interests, mindsets, energies, and lifestyles will be introduced throughout our time. These flowing inspirations are here to guide us through journeys made to be appreciated and proactive in the present time.
Again, for the longest time it bothered me that I didn’t know what I wanted to do professionally. I always wanted that perfect job that could define me. All of these years that I have stressed over it have actually prevented me from organically finding my way. I was trying to force something that just isn’t meant to be forced.
And now here I am in the present, realizing that I have a title that means the world to me. If asked, I would’ve never listed Massage Therapist as an adjective that best described me as a person. But I would definitely include being a stay at home mom. I may not be a hustling boss babe behind the scenes of motherhood but I am no longer sweating over the fact that I’m not. I’m a SAHM with passions. Some have been set aside but will return. Some will be replaced and I can guarantee that new ones will arise. This is where I am supposed to be right now and we will see where life brings me tomorrow, the day after, and within the next few years to come. Life is full of chance with change and as a woman 33 years young; there is way more of that coming my way.
“If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.” –unknown.
Images taken by Jamie Mandap.