Thinking about what your future will be like is perhaps one of the most stressful things, especially when you see your peers having their lives all planned out. But really, everyone is a work-in-progress, so are you- and there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s okay to be a work-in-progress

Here comes the shitstorm

There comes a season when the people around you start bombarding you with questions about what you are planning to do in the future, what your career plans are, what you plan to be et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And if you are unlucky enough, these people may proceed to compare you to your peers, relatives, or acquaintances who earn a sizable income or are in brag-worthy jobs.

According to the very official Life Seasons Forecast, this interrogation session usually occurs around a few specific timings, including university application time, just-graduated-and-looking-for-a-job time, and for some, during the family gathering time.

Despite the best intentions of the people around us, the additional pressure that these interrogations put on us does nothing for our already frustrated and confused minds. At a stage when everyone- especially your friends- seems to have it all figured out, you might find yourself in a state of panic, questioning your choices and doubting where you are in life. And guess what? Chances are, most of your peers are going through the same thing too.

Identity cri-what?

The quarter life crisis is real, driven by a fear of a wasted youth and fuelled by the habit of comparing ourselves to other people’s deliberately curated social media feeds. Most young adults will experience some of these 25 signs of a quarter life crisis– so yes, you’re normal. Phew.

That probably doesn’t seem like much consolation, though. When you think life at 20s should be this:

 

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But in reality, it’s this:

 

Here’s the deal: it takes a very, very long time to “figure out” your life. And maybe, it isn’t so much about figuring ourselves out as much as it is about creating and discovering ourselves.

This process of self-discovery is a lifelong process, and that’s a good thing. Finding new interests, trying out different things, going through successes and setbacks- these are all signs of growth. Yes, growth means change, and change, in most cases, means challenges, stress and pain. Despite all that, you’ll grow as a person after every challenge, and growth is definitely better than stagnation, that’s for damn sure.

Yes, growth means change, and change, in most cases, means challenges, stress and pain. Despite all that, you’ll grow as a person after every challenge, and growth is definitely better than stagnation, that’s for damn sure.

Shut up and be patient

Time. The most precious commodity that feels like it’s slipping away for every day that you fail to decide on your dream, or your so-called ‘purpose in life’. That sounds like some higher order stuff, doesn’t it? No wonder you’re feeling so burdened.

Instead of deliberating about the purpose of your life, your higher calling, or any of these burdensome and complicated-sounding terms, just observe yourself and start noticing what you are drawn to. Pursue those interests and doors will open to you, leading to the very career goal you were searching for.

And don’t time yourself or limit yourself by thinking that you have to get somewhere by a certain age. Many successful people took a much longer time than we think is ideal before they achieved anything.

So what if you’re not a billionaire by 23?

Vera Wang didn’t even begin her career in fashion until she was 40; the renowned Henry Ford didn’t create the industry-changing Model T car until he was 45; and of course, there’s the famous Colonel Sanders who founded the world’s best thing ever- Kentucky Fried Chicken, rose to success only in his 60s. These examples demonstrate that- as unbelievable as it sounds- you can achieve success at any stage of your life.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things, as they all help to lead you to where you need to go. And not to limit the examples to world-famous icons, this writer here confessed to having taken on a ton of different jobs since graduating high school, “including work in IT, night security, carpentry, gold mining, retail, restaurant service, and as a professional actor”, before he found his calling as a writer.

So if you think you’re taking too long, you’re not. There’s no time limit on chasing your dreams.

Remind yourself that you are right where you need to be, surround yourself with those that motivate you, and continue hustling to work towards achieving your dreams.

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