‘Hey, it’s ok to not have it all figured out’ is the first article of a new column on the blog- Sophie’s Desk. Here I’ll be sharing my musings on life, culture, travel, and this blogging career I’m still trying to get my head around. While the rest of the blog is geared towards travel advice, photography tips and weird history things, this weekly (maybe, we’ll see!) column is all about life behind the blog.
Hey, It’s Ok To Not Have It All Figured Out
Five years ago this month, I was headed to university for the first time. If you’d have asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I’d have probably replied with something along the lines of “I have no idea, but I have plenty of time to figure it out”. I’d actually chosen my course on a bit of a whim, never fully deciding what I wanted to study and leaving it until the day before the final deadline to complete my application.
Eventually, I settled on Classics, a subject I’d never even had the opportunity to study before. However, I’d always loved learning (about pretty much anything) and had a passion for ancient history (and had always wanted to learn Latin) so I settled on the subject. I’d toyed with the idea of studying law, but decided that, ultimately, I probably didn’t want to be a lawyer. And if you want to be a lawyer, you have to really really really want it. In fact, throughout the next five years, I spent most of the time realising what I didn’t want to be…
During this time, here’s what I thought I wanted to be (but then realised I had no clue):
I thought I wanted to be an auctioneer. I loved art, I loved working with people and I loved the thrill of seeing new items and artefacts all the time. In fact, I spent close to three years interning at an auction house. But then I realised that maybe it wasn’t the perfect career path for me.
I thought I wanted to do a Master’s Degree. I realised I don’t. And I definitely don’t want to be constricted to talking about one subject all the time. I have a whole load of admiration for people who have the brains and the perseverance to pursue post-graduate education, but I’m not one of them.
I thought I wanted to be a lawyer (and do a law conversion course as a postgrad). One move to France (for a study abroad programme) and I realised I never wanted to have a career based in one country. That, and taking up photography made me realise how much I craved creating new things every day.
I thought I’d really messed up and I should have become a palaeontologist. When I was really little, I wanted to hunt for dinosaur bones and spend my days writing and researching fossils. However, I never really enjoyed chemistry (nor was I very good at it), so maybe that would never have worked out anyway.
I thought I wanted to go into museum curation. During that five-year period, I also worked two retail jobs, three waitressing jobs and volunteered at five different museums and galleries. All the museum experience (which I loved nearly every minute of) made me realise it just wasn’t for me!
For the longest time, I thought realising I didn’t want to be any of these things meant that I had made a mistake. I mean why didn’t I know what I wanted to do with my life, dammit! During this period, I watched many of my friends and peers discover their passions, what they wanted to be, and follow those dreams. Now, I’ve finally realised it’s never too late to change your path. It’s never too late to start over. And it’s definitely never too late to change your mind. Even though I don’t think I’ll use my degree in the way I thought I would, it’s helped me to figure out who I am, what I want, and more importantly: what I don’t want to be/ do.
There are no guarantees in life, and certainly, none when it comes down to finding your career, or even in many of your relationships. In fact, when anyone tells you that they have their life all figured out, they’re probably not telling you the whole truth. We all have things we think we should have done differently. And we all have days when we think WTF am I doing with my life?
So here are five reasons why it’s ok not to have your life all figured out:
The best is yet to come. Excitement of not knowing exactly where your future will take you is often mistaken for fear of the unknown. Let yourself be anxious about your next career move, but also allow yourself to be equally excited. After all, the best is yet to come.
What does it even mean to ‘have it all figured out?‘ A perfect relationship? A career you love? Everything changes quickly in life and so do you. What you love doing now will most likely not be what you love doing in sixty years time. And that’s kind of exciting, and pretty scary at the same time!
‘Comparison is the thief of joy’- enough said.
One story goes that when Thomas Eddison was asked about what he was thinking when he failed over 700 times in trying to make a lightbulb, he replied by saying he’d simply learned 700 times how not to make a lightbulb. Figuring out what you don’t want to do is just as important as figuring out what you do want to do. After all, it’s only through making mistakes that we learn how we can do better and perhaps even happier.
Don’t compare yourself to other people… But, this list of incredibly successful people may just make you realise that it’s ok to not have it all figured out.