I can confidently state that one of the hardest things anyone ever has to do is choosing between two career paths that you equally love. I have been faced with making such a decision and it’s not a situation I would wish on anyone. The whole thing is mind-wrenching and so frustrating. I have been missing in action here, doing a lot of writing in different other places which is not a bad thing, but a lot has happened in the process and I got to learn something.
Many of the young people I know are now out of campus, and it is a good thing if you had a plan before packing your bags for home. It is even better if the plan you had laid down was in alignment with your dreams. Sounds kinda unrealistic, right? That’s because we no longer go after what we truly love. No, not just in our careers but also in the places we live in, the people we date, in the food we eat. This is not a post to rant about how misguided we are as humans in the 21st century, though that is true, but what I’m trying to point out is we really need to live for what we truly love.
Just before my final campus exams three weeks ago, I had sent a message to several people in my contact list working in different fields asking them if they could please look at my CV and see if they can get me something to do after school. Many promised to help out once something comes up, but one of these people emailed me back with the words, ‘What is “something”? And because I was so afraid to join the masses in ‘hustling’ for work, I replied, ‘ANYTHING. I NEED WORK.’
‘Work you will find, but your life you will never find.’
That was his reply. I did not expect that so I quickly emailed him back asking what exactly he meant. And he told me, he can only help me if I know what I want, because what I choose to do out there will shape how my life will be. And I do not have a life if I never did what I really wanted.
Now there are many of us stuck in careers we care nothing about because of the money, which maybe is a good thing if you consider the bad economic times we live in, but then again we keep wishing and hoping we have the courage to quit and do what we truly care about. But then it happens that what we truly care about doesn’t pay at all, or doesn’t pay right now, or the money isn’t as much as what we get now, and so we stay stuck. We can get out if we want to, but we are afraid. What will happen if I take up writing as a career, what will happen if I decide to focus on my painting? Can my music really feed me? What if the business I desire to start fails? And so because we qualify for a white collar job (I know a lot of us do), we go that way, even when it is not what we want.
I am out of campus now and I could have started out doing internships at institutions where no one has to ask me, ‘So what do you guys do? What are you about?’, but then not many of them were going to nurture and grow me towards the path I really wanted to follow. Not all of them were going to give me the flexibility I needed to try out different writing and speaking skills that I feel are important to me now. I was probably going to be stuck up doing the same thing over and over again for a long time in my life and if you know me well, you would understand that monotony kills me. It kills my spirit, it murders my soul, it leaves me empty and angry and sad and so many things I am afraid of.
I can’t tell right now what will happen to me tomorrow. Maybe I will wish I went for the money (I’m kinda broke right now already, ha-ha). Maybe one day I will think of diverting to careers I understand nothing of and have not even the slightest interest in, but one thing I’m sure of right now, I will never regret doing what I love. Not even on my death bed.
I would like to assume that is right for you too. I don’t think it matters so much what you do with yourself at this moment, but fix in that thing you love. Fix in that hobby, that dream that keeps you awake all night. Fix in what you’ve always envisioned doing with yourself, fix it in and nurture it. Step by step. This is the best gift you will ever give yourself. I am a firm believer that when all is said and done, you never lived if you never loved. That includes love for the work you do every day. Or better yet, waking up for work you truly love 🙂