Confession: At a Crossroad

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I have been pretty fortunate for most of my life.  I grew up in a loving family with great parents.  I studied hard in high school, and had the opportunity to attend  great Engineering school.  I landed my first job out of school with a great company doing something I was interested in and making a decent income. I started reading PF blogs and learned about how to plan for my future.

I feel like I’ve done everything right but…

Four Years Later…

I’m not sure exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life, and it’s kind of scary.  Like, really scary.

How do people figure out what they want to do for the rest of their life.  It’s so intimidating.  It’s such a long time…

Some questions I ask myself:

  • Do I want to stay working in this field?
  • Do I want to go back to school?
  • What do I want to accomplish in life?
  • How can I be happy?

I know those are big questions.  I also realize is that I won’t figure out the answers to those questions sitting on my couch, doing the same thing I’ve been doing, and expect a different outcome.

What I’ve Learned

I think it is a iterative process figuring out the “life” thing, and what I tell myself is that instead of figuring it all out at once, I need to take a first step in another direction to see what it’s like.

It’s not much but it’s a start.

What are your life goals and how did you figure out what they are?  Do you have any tips for me to figure out my goals/life?

Cheers,

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “Confession: At a Crossroad

  1. ST

    If its any help, realize that you are not alone in your concerns and that there is no rush to figure everything out. Life is very fluid and plans/goals will always change with new learning and experiences. I will say though that in my line of work, I have met lots of people in their 30′s, 40′s, 50, and even 60′s who have no clue what they want to do with their life. The best thing I’ve learned from them though is to do what makes you happy. That’s a great place to start.You live this life once and you should make the best of it. Try to have no regrets :)

  2. That’s one of the things that always bugged me, when people would ask “What do you want to do for the rest of your life?” The answer is probably not the same thing forever! I heard that with our generation, people will have multiple careers in their lifetime. And why not? I personally couldn’t imagine doing the same career or work in the same field for 50 plus years. I have so many interests and I want to explore them all!

  3. Have you been reading my mind? I am in the exact same boat. Life goals are hard and watching episode after episode of ‘Community’ is easy (and hilarious). I think what’s holding me back is that in my mind, I still feel like I’m 24 and therefore have all the time in the world to figure stuff out.

  4. Honestly I just take it day by day. I don’t know if I’ll ever just do one thing my whole life — I’m really open to pursuing whatever career opportunities come my way. I just feel like the right things happen at the right time, and the only thing you can really be is ready for it so you’re not afraid to take the leap. Engineering is a wonderful profession and will always make a solid back-up plan, but that doesn’t mean it has to be your ONLY plan. You can end up doing something totally different or you can go back and forth throughout your lifetime. The only limits anyone has on themselves and their lives are self-imposed. Let go.

  5. You don’t have to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life.

    I’m 30 years old and already on my second career. My first career served me well. I had a very general idea of what I wanted to do. I took a Myers Briggs Type Indicator personality test. Then, researched the professions that were suitable for me based on the results. After that, I obtained the training I needed to be successful and networked like heck all along the way. I think it’s important you pursue a field that you’re passionate about and allows you to pay your bills.

  6. Amy

    Career-wise, I never really had the “what am I going to do with my life”, I found a good job that opened me up to numerous possibilities. Due to that, I’m currently working on my second degree, which will open up more opportunities and maybe a job change.

    Although I haven’t struggled with careers, I do struggle with the fact I feel like I need to spread my wings. Everyone struggles with some aspect of where their life is going and its normal. I’ve seen a lot of people move away, only to come back, and I know a few people who are on their second or third careers. As long as you can pay your bills, do what you love at that point in your life.

  7. Sounds like you may have a mild case of quarter life crisis/reevaluation period. I’ve been going through this since I landed my first official “adult” job. I think another blogger (can’t remember who it was, MoneyRabbit maybe…) said it best when she described hersefl as “another 20-something bubbling with ambition and with no idea where to focus it all”. I think you’re on solid ground in saving up a safety net, and when you’ve started getting these questions, exploring them as they come.

    When I was little I used to love to fantasize about what I would be “when I grew up”, back then the sky was the limit. Now that I have a grown up career that I could potentially work in for the rest of my life, it feels limiting somehow, since there are so many other options out there. It looks like you’re feeling the same way?

  8. Hear hear. I just had a friend who came back from a year’s travel in Asia and who is now regrouping and researching on what she wants to do with her life. Before I go to school I’m going to try to take some time to think about that too. At least think about what ELEMENTS I want to have in my career / life.

  9. Hey Fru-Gal!!! :) I feel you on this one. I’m 24, and I feel like I should have my life figured out but I really don’t. I’m going back to school but half of me feels like screaming what the hell are you doing? Stay at your job. It’s safe. It’s secure. Who knows what could happen if you stay there for 10 years, you could get promoted… wellll, idk, going to school also allows me more opportunities to network and to get a different job. It just all depends what you believe in your gut, and your heart. I would say that we are not supposed to know what we want to do for the rest of our lives, because that would be scary. Just take it day by day, or at least make a 1 year plan and a 5 year plan.

  10. I often ask myself this question and “are you sure you’re doing what you should be?” (Answer: no, I’m not sure. I’m ok with it for right NOW but what’s next?)

    I recently advised a youngun trying to pick between possible paths to determine by looking at what elements he/she wants in his/her whole life future, and then see what the job sort of needs to look like to make that life future work in the way of flexibility, advancement, structure, autonomy, etc. I sense the wrong decision will still be made in the context of the workplace politics/support that he/she is getting into but I can’t do anything about that part; I’ve already tried to gently warn against it.

    For myself, I’m still looking for an alternative path to the one I’ve been carving for myself. Whether that means independent fields to the ones I’ve been in or going back to school for finance to change fields, I don’t yet know. Committing would be good though, I’m not as happy where I am as I could and should be.

  11. Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful comments and insight. I appreciate each and every comment and thank you for taking the time out to share your thoughts on my dramatic post :)

    This last week has been a bit of a whirl wind for me, and I hope to have some news to share with you all soon.

    *hugs*

  12. I hear ya… also wondering what I want life to look like for the next ….ever! Prior to now, it all seemed to have a purpose and such – go to school, find a job, volunteer a bit. Now I’m at the “now what?!” stage and not caring for it too much.

  13. I used to have a timeline. I want to get married by this age. I want to be at this position in my career by this age. I want to have a house by this age. And sometimes, life can throw you curve balls and you end up in situations that you have no control over. I’m leaving the 20-something category this year and it was only a couple of years ago that I finally felt my life was starting to fall in place. I finally am working on a career I see a future in.

    All I can say is, try different things and have no regrets! :)

  14. Greg

    I’m 47 and I still haven’t figured out the answer to that question. I think I’ve finally figured out, though, that it truly IS all about the journey, not the destination. My advice? Don’t overplan, and don’t take anything too seriously. Enjoy whatever you’re doing and wherever you find yourself at this moment in you life. Just when you think you’ve finally got it figured out and start making 10 and 20 year goals and plans, the whole game changes anyways.

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