We will all find ourselves in a season of uncertainty. That’s when you aren’t sure anymore of what you’re doing and where you’re trying to go. It can be a scary feeling, especially the older you get. Society has conditioned us to follow this timeline and the moment we get behind, we panic.
You’re a 29-year-old who wants to give college a chance now, but you’re scared you’ll fail, plus you work a lot and have a child. You’re a 33-year-old woman who isn’t married and there isn’t a good man for you in sight. You go on bad date after bad date, plus your ex cheated on you and now you have trust issues. You’re a 30-year-old man still living at home with your mother and you work a terrible job with no benefits. You want to be a provider and thought you would have your own place by now with a great job. You’re a 41-year-old who has had an amazing career and has enjoyed traveling and eating at the best restaurants and then you lose everything. Do you start over, from the bottom? Do you quit? All of these scenarios are different, but the one thing they have in common is they all thought they would be somewhere else at their age, not where they are now.
The season of uncertainty is not a fun place to be. Trust me, I’ve been there. I used to think about my goals all the time. I wanted to accomplish certain things by a certain age and when that year came and went and I still hadn’t checked it off my list, I became discouraged. The worst part though, is when you no longer desire what you used to want in life, but you don’t have an immediate alternative.
I’ve always been the kind of person who decides on something I want and then I go for it. I’ve always had multiple plans to accomplishing it. One day I woke up and asked myself why. Why did I want this thing? I wrote before about knowing your why. When I realized that I was doing it to prove something, to make my family proud I changed my mind. The thing I had been working toward for years was no longer desirable. Once I stop pursuing it, I felt anxious in a way because I was back to the drawing board. Now what do I do? What was the plan? That’s when it’s important for you to know your purpose. I used to pray all the time, asking God to reveal it to me because I was lost. I didn’t feel like I was living a fulfilled life, although it looked amazing to those on the outside.
I literally had to be still and think. I read books, watched YouTube videos and even took an online course. I desperately wanted to do something that truly made me happy and feel fulfilled. Money is great and trust me, I can always use more, but I don’t believe the money is enough, you need more.
Quick story. When I was in college, I had an opportunity to intern for six months in a corporate office, working in marketing. They wanted me because I was an English major and I expressed in my interview that I loved writing and editing. Up until then, I had worked several different jobs and had news internships, but I wanted to try something different. I was a college student making more than I had ever made before and it was great. I had just gotten my first apartment and I was able to finally save, but I was also spending money too. I started getting my nails and hair done a lot more and shopping at high end stores so I could look the part. As my internship was coming to a close, I had an opportunity to pursue full-time employment there and the salaries were very nice. I remember seeing one position starting around $70,000. People in the department encouraged me to apply.
I didn’t stay though. I didn’t love the work. I was really good at my job and I had learned how to navigate corporate, but journalism was still my passion. I found myself in a difficult position. Do I go after the money or my heart? I applied for grad school that spring and enrolled at Columbia College for the fall. I don’t regret that decision. It was difficult, but it was the right one for me. I temporarily moved back home to save money and I didn’t get to spend money the way I used to. I freelanced when I could, getting anywhere from $50-150 a story. It was hard, but I wanted it. And when I first started out, I was writing for free! I was hungry. I wanted the experience and clips for my portfolio. I didn’t care. It was my passion. I knew the hard work would pay off.
Going back to knowing your passion, stop trying to find it. That’s when you overthink and get stressed. Keep doing what makes you happy. You’ll soon discover it. It’s usually that thing you’ve been doing for years for free for friends and family, or for yourself.
A lot of people want to know what their passion is and ask me how did I “find” mine. First, stop trying to find it. You’re supposed to discover it. It’ll just hit you one day. I think most people get frustrated and tired of “finding” their passion because as a society we’ve been conditioned to always think about the money. You need to change your way of thinking. If you only focus on doing what you love to do and what you’re naturally good at doing, people will be willing to pay you for your services. I always tell people that the money will follow. In the meantime, stop chasing the dollar and start chasing the dream. The dollars will follow. Watch and see. Do you enjoy motivating people and giving advice? Do you find yourself always decorating and getting compliments? Is it fun to help people plan and organize? Do you love to write? Again, you’ll probably find that your passion is something so simple that you’ve been doing for years for free.
So when you find yourself in that difficult season where you’re not sure what to do, remind yourself what you’re passionate about and then ask yourself why are you doing this. That will give you the strength to keep going forward when you feel stuck.
Stay encouraged and don’t lose faith. You got this!