What to do with my life? (I’m not sure what I should do next)

Photo by Mark Duffel / Unsplash

The question that seems to rattle around in our head over and over, and over… and over again. 🧠

What do I want to do with my life? What life decision should I make next? Is this the path I want to take? Am I running out of time? Am I too late? Will I regret not doing this if I don’t do it now? Do I still have time? ⏰

We’ve all been asked the cliché question, ‘So, where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?’ 👴🏼

Well. That depends. Where do I ‘think’ I see myself? Where would I ‘like’ to see myself? Where do I ‘dream’ of seeing myself? The honest truth is… I don’t know. I don’t know what I want. If 5 years ago someone would of asked me that same question and I could see where I am now. Would I be happy? Sure, I mean, I now earn more money. I have a stable career. I have my professional qualification. I now own a house. 💭

But is that where I saw myself being? Is what I wanted? Is that what I dreamed of? Hmmm. 👱🏼‍♂‍

Me (just over) 5 years ago... my first year on the graduate scheme

We all know of those people who have either become a doctor, nurse, teacher or police officer. These people since about the age of 10 just knew that they wanted to ‘help people and make a difference’. Or the friend who’s our age that just got married to their school romance after saying ‘they can’t wait to settle down’. Or the girl who’s just had their second child who’d always said her dream was to ‘start a big family’. Or even the lad that’s decided he’s now going to live in Australia after taking a year out to go travelling. 🦘

You must know these people, right? These people who seem to know what they want in life. That appear to have figured it all out. Meanwhile, I’m sat here not even knowing if I want jacket potato, cheese and beans, or a fish finger sandwich for dinner tonight. Let alone decide what I want to do with my life. 🥪

For years now, my head has been so jumbled with thoughts, plans, hopes, dreams and ambitions of what I want my life to be like. However, as I’m stepping further and further into adult life, I feel like I’m getting further and further away of finding an answer. And it feels like time is running out? ⌛️

My latest excuse (or thing to blame my delay of not managing to make life decisions), is the emergence of COVID which has affected all our lives (I am extremely lucky it has not greatly affected anyone close to me to date). I had originally planned to work abroad in the summer of 2021 (or at least travel) after spending most of 2020, like everyone, shut in houses. 🦠

My biggest regret in my life to date is not making the most of my summers whilst I was in university. However, with restrictions still in place near the start of this year and thinking it wouldn’t be the experience I wanted, I ended up cancelling any hopes of going travelling and instead… bought a house. ✈️

It’s arguably one of, if not the biggest life decision I’ve made so far. Don’t get me wrong, its great. I love the house. I love the space. I love the freedom. I’m incredibly lucky to be where I am. But I can’t help but feel that it wasn’t my plan A. It wasn’t what I really wanted (well not just yet anyway). Now I feel that I’ve missed opportunities. I’m stuck with this thing called a mortgage that’s chained to my leg and holding me back. I can’t just pack up and go. 🏠

I don’t even know how to structure this next section of this post as there’s just so much going on (I suppose a good representation of what my head feels like)… 🤷🏼‍♂‍

So, what I’m going to do is word dump the few things on my confused mind. Decisions I’m not sure about. The directions I’m being pulled in. The paths I could take. Like a game of bingo… see how many can you tick off? 🙋🏼‍♂‍

This doesn’t even touch on the concerns and worries about what each of these decisions would mean:

…and this just scratches the surface of what comes to mind when I instantly think about my life decisions. Since publishing my introduction blog however, I know I’m definitely not the only one in this situation. 💬

The trouble I find is, we have so many more options than ever in today’s world then we’ve ever had before, thanks to developments in technology and innovation! Shout out all those smart people out there! Think about how much the world has progressed… 👨🏻‍🔬

There are so many new companies today with swanky offices all over the world. Offering roles with job titles you didn’t even know were a thing, until you saw a cool viral post advertising it on LinkedIn. Apps on our smartphones can have us booked on a plane setting off to almost anywhere in the world instantly with a click of a button. Accessing social media through the internet or 4G anywhere, anytime, can let us see what literally anyone in the world is doing. Where they’re staying. Who they’re with. 🤳🏼

It’s hard to not think… ‘F*ck! I wish I was there’. 🤦🏼‍♂‍

Our generation today has so many choices and opportunities. Choices and opportunities our grandparents and even our parents never had. How are we meant to know what’s the right one for us? Do we follow societal norm and get a job, buy a house, have a family, work, retire? Or do we say YOLO, sack off our jobs and spend a year backpacking in Thailand eating chicken pad thai noodles for the next year. 🎒

I seem to tell myself all the time… ‘I’ll take a sabbatical next year’, as well as ‘I’ll do a year living in London at some point’, and even ‘I’ll definitely do a season working in Ibiza before I’m too old’. 🏝

Hold the phone, Alex.

You aren’t fresh out of university anymore. You’re on the wrong side of your 20’s. You’re seeing people who were a couple years younger than you at school now getting married and having children on Facebook. And worst of all, your hairline is starting to look more questionable than Donald Trump’s fake tan. When are you planning to fit all this in then? Surely you should have done this by now, no? 🚨

Like most people, my parents tell me that I’m young and there is still time. But I can’t help feeling I’m running out of it. Life in adult mode seems to be going so quickly. Where did the last 5 years go? I’m sure I’m not the only one in this predicament. In fact, I know I’m not. I reckon most of us are. From the 18 to the 40, 50, 60-years-olds. I don’t think many people have the answers. 🙅🏾‍♂‍

In conclusion, I think that it’s okay to not know all the answers. Money comes and money goes, but time is our most precious resource we can’t get back. Sure, it feels like it’s going quickly, but there is so much more of it ahead for us to make the most of.  ⏳

So, let’s do our best to not feel embarrassed or inferior by the accomplishments of others compares to our own. I often see people a lot younger than me and get frustrated about how far ‘ahead in life’ they are than me. Like it’s a points game and I’m at the bottom end of the leader board. Time to stop with the pressure. 💰

Let’s try and focus on the type of person we want to be, before worrying about what we want to do, where we want to be or what we want to have achieved. Remember that not everything is in our control. COVID, recessions, family issues or a million and one other things that could mess up our most laid out plans. Instead let’s act on what we can influence. Go find out what we enjoy most in life. Then ask why do we enjoy it? Also, who do we enjoy doing it with? 🚀

We’ve all found out there is no manual for how to correctly install ‘adult mode’ in us. No universal ‘Adulting for Dummies’ guide we can follow. We are all just making it up as we go along. If you can take one thing from this let it be this… You are 100% not alone. 🧍🏼‍♂‍🧍🏽‍♀‍🧍🏿‍♂‍🧍🏻‍♀‍🧍🧍🏽‍♂‍

Thank you to all the feedback from my first post! Let me know what you think of this one and if you relate to the above, make sure to subscribe to the email list to get sent all my blog posts coming up. Adult mode - there is a lot to discuss! 📧
Alex Dean

Alex Dean