what makes you itch? how would you really enjoy spending your life?


I felt strangely inspired by this video when i saw it.
Marcus and I have been discussing this matter, of what we really want, for sometime. 
We both went to school and got our degrees--one of us enjoyed that schooling more than the other, but we both came out of it not feeling really passionate about our career options.

We did what we were supposed to do, which was pick a major and graduate within the allotted time, but we're not sure we want to commit the rest of our lives to those paths we decided upon in our teen years.

I think it's rather amazing that some people can make that choice so early and feel satisfied in their decision. 

I envy them. 
I wish there weren't so many things I feel like I could love doing. 
I wish people around me wouldn't have told me those things weren't practical when I was younger. And even more, I wish I weren't too scared to try any of them--for fear of getting into something--investing that time, that money, and then either not being successful at it or not loving it like i thought i would.
So, instead, I find myself doing something I sort of enjoy for very little money and taking a few classes at a community college, exploring some topics of interest, in hopes of finding that thing i can be truly passionate about.

Marcus is lucky, he at least knows what that thing is, he just doesn't know if he could actually support a family doing it. After i saw this, i told him he should try, I told him we were young, we didn't have any debt, so why not?
 He got a huge grin on his face and said he had the most empowering feeling just thinking about actually doing what he knows he'll love. It made me happy to see that. I want to see that everyday.
I pray we'll be brave enough to try and passionate enough to succeed... 
Because like the video said, "better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way."
How did you decide? Have you decided?


breeatanner said...

I just wanted to say that your post has answered my prayers of the last week. Like you, I was raised to follow a certain path (college, marriage, kids, the whole shabang) and never gave it much thought as to what I actually wanted out of life. I try to stay away from the words, "If I could go back..." so I'm going to find happiness in what my life is now. Thank you for opening my eyes to realizing that people do live their dreams and can make what they want out of their lives. It's an idea in today's society that gets forgotten and we need to be reminded of it. Thank you so much!! I hope your day is wonderful! I'm going to mention this post on my blog: scribbles-snapshots.blogspot.com. Thanks again!

Natalia G said...

This is something I've noticed with all the adult friends my parents have. They graduate and get a job like this world requires then they're bored of it. They're always looking forward to vacation. They're never really happy with what they decided to do. And now all my older friends are going off to college like expected but they randomly picked and chose a career then they switch majors midway thru and basically never choose what they like. I hope I won't do that but we'll see I guess. Luckily For me it graduate at sixteen then I'm going to take a couple of years off before college, take some community classes, travel and see where my passions are then. I'm in no rush. Sorry for the ramble its just that I've been thinking about thus a lot :/
xx Natalia


Briseida Perez said...

I have actually been struggling with this subject all semester long. I am about 2 semesters away from being done with my bachelors and I have no clue why I am even going into the area or psych when I have found myself just DREADING my classes all semester. Thing is, I honestly don't enjoy the subject as much as I used to when I started at 18. I just don't want to change my major when I haven't found what that thing I enjoy the most is. I'd like to blame it on an early case of "senioritis" but I know it's a bit more than that. It's just scary taking that chance to pretty much start all over. Thanks for this post!


Irene Navajas said...

I literally cried over that video because I have felt so lost for the last 6 years of my life. Since I saw the end of college coming I was so scared that I got a depression and it only got worse after because I felt I didn't like my major anymore and that it was hard to work in this field. Then i did lots of others things that never fulfilled me but I was supposed to do, adviced by family and friends. I never really got to do what I DO LOVE. I was always a crafty person but it didn't mean anything, just free time after homework. I wish I could do crafts all the time and forget about all these years studying something that doesn't make me happy 100% but that I need to do because I want to buy a house, get married and the long etc.

Tell Marcus to do what he truly wants. Hapinness is never granted, so we have to take a leap no matter what the consequences might be. Maybe you'll lost and you'll have to go back to your normal life, but you already had that. I wish you the best in your life. And sorry for the rant!! :)

Elizabeth said...

I'm currently a freaking out college student, set to graduate in a year, and I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I actually just blogged about this because I feel like we're constantly pushed to choose a degree and a career so early on, and the thought of not knowing is terrifying because we're SUPPOSED to know. I love my major, I really do, but I don't know what I want to do with it, or if I want to take it in a completely different way. I know what my passion is (traveling), but I don't know how to make that a career or a life. It's scary trying to plan out your life when you haven't really lived in yet. I'm only entering my 20s, and have only ever constantly been in school. That doesn't help too much with choosing my career!

If you find any amazing information, pass on the advice :)

xo Elizabeth


Emily S said...

Oh my goodness. This video. This will stick with me all day.

Danielle said...

I don't think I've ever commented...but seriously this post relates to me so well. I went through college in a degree that I thought was really practical, responsible, and got through college as quick as I could because I thought that was a good thing to do. Well, it turns out- I hate my job, and when you work 8 hours a day 5 days a week, its not good to hate your job! But of course then you have obligations you need to pay for...so I feel so stuck! My husband and I did a kind of similar thing...my husband is now pursuing his passion, which I am so happy about. But I just keep wishing I could do the same thing...and just think...what if I had known then what I know now? I have a lot of things I want to teach my children about picking majors and careers. Things that I didn't understand. Pick PASSION! Not practicality. Pick HAPPINESS, not money. Thanks for the post though, it sure boosted me to try harder at getting out of my situation :) You are so super cute by the way- I love your style and writing!

Melody Rich said...

I knew what I wanted to do in the 6th grade. I realize this is pretty rare and it's kind of a curse. I don't know how to encourage my husband to find his passion because I already found mine! I don't know what it's like to not have that one thing that I can't be without. It's still frustrating though, like Marcus, figuring out how to do that one thing and help support a family.

Melanie said...

I saw that video a couple of weeks ago and thought about it for a very long time. I've written about this a couple of times here and there in comments or on my blog. I visit a university here in Germany since 4 years now and although I learned a hell of a lot, I've realized that it doesn't give me the knowledge that I am looking for. I still want to stay in that field, but want to go in a direction that nobody approves of at my school. They all say I'm nuts actually. Which just sucks. Which also means...that I've started to loath going there...so, I am taking far, FAR to long to finish. I honestly think it is a waste of my time, but I do not want to quit....it is a degree and I've come so far that it would just be stupid.

So, at the moment I'm trying to tucker through there as fast as possible so I can finally start my actual dream job. (two actually) It's rough trying to focus on something everyday and take it serious when you don't like it and I honestly don't know how so many people accomplish living a happy life although they hate their work.

I think it's awesome that marcus is going to pursue his dreams...and that you support him!!! Everybody should have the chance to accomplish his dreams!!!! Loved this post!

Megan Bee said...

What an interesting post, and interesting comments. I went to school and got a degree in something I was passionate about (though it's not the only thing I'm passionate about). I got a degree in music, despite getting questions all along the way about what did I want to do with it. When I graduated with my bachelors, I remember feeling some of this confusion. Here I was with a degree in music, uncertainty about how to even go about looking for employment (who wants someone with a music degree??), and to top it all off, I wasn't married like I'd hoped to be. Looking at my options, I chose to continue with music in grad school, basically going off the idea that if I ever wanted to get an advanced degree in music, it would be best to do it then. I'd never originally planned on grad school, and I was uncertain about getting the degree the whole way through.

Pretty much weekly I'd ask myself why I was doing this, and remind myself that I could quit at any time. It was hard, and at times extremely lonely. But I know that it helped shape me in some key ways, and helped me to grow in mature in a way that was necessary for me. Other things could have shaped me, but this is how it worked out for me. Now that I'm at the end of that road, I'm grateful that I continued with something I essentially just couldn't let go. I still love music, and now I have the option of continuing with other things, but I have my music education as well--which I can continue to build and expand.

I was fortunate to get a job that I enjoy upon graduating, and the degree helped me to get it. I actually advise music and dance students now, and it's incredibly fulfilling. I don't know that I'll stay in it forever, but it's right for me right now. When/if it becomes not right, I'll look for something else, and that's ok. I hear a lot of the same sentiments already mentioned. It's disheartening the number of students I meet with who are unsure of their major because it isn't going to guarantee them a job. But they love what they do. I know too many people in their later twenties who are dissatisfied with where they're at, because they picked a good career field, but not necessarily something they're passionate about.

I don't have any great answers, but if you look around at "successful" people, which in my book are people who love what they do, they have pretty diverse paths. I think we also need to get rid of the notion that by our twenties we are to have reached that point; it may be possible, but I think it's unlikely. But hopefully the disappointments and decisions (as well as the successes and fulfillment) lead us toward what will ultimately be fulfilling for us, so they won't be in vain. When you find you are disheartened by your degree, accept that, and realize you've at least learned the valuable lesson that that isn't what you want. It isn't time wasted if you've learned something from it.

Read about people who have achieved success. Many times we see where they are in their success, and we want that now, but we forget they forged a long path of discovery and wanting before they reached that point. The author Lois Lowry didn't publish her first book until she was 40. I heard her speak about this, and she said that she didn't think she had the life experiences she needed for her writing until that age, that her path was necessary. The beloved Julia Child didn't start cooking until she was nearly 40, and look at the career she built! There are countless other examples, as well, but the point is, it's all part of the journey. It's never too late to find your passion, and everything along the way helps lead you to it.

Julie Herbert said...

I absolutely loved this post and it even made me a little teary eyed. This is a topic that my husband and I discuss a lot, in fact most recently just yesterday morning. I have always tried to juggle two paths that have made me happy. One I was slightly more happy with, but the other paid more. Now after about four years going down the path that gave me a steady income, I have come to the realization that I am completely jaded with it and the mere thought of doing that for the rest of my life makes me want to run down the street screaming like a crazy person! Luckily I have been slowly moving in the direction that I prefer, now I am just waiting for the courage to jump off that cliff and make it happen. It's a scary thought.

Thanks for sharing and best wishes to you and yours!

Megan Bee said...

Also, Sarah Von wrote a great post along the same lines of realizing your happiness: http://www.yesandyes.org/2012/12/a-2-step-plan-for-getting-what-you-want.html

Esther McClure said...

I'm totally with you, Ashley. I think it's ridiculous how we tell mere children (I had no idea who I was at 18, and I'm assuming most others don't either) that they have to decide what they're going to do with their life.

From the time I was in 8th grade, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. I was fascinated with the human body and how it worked, with microorganisms and the havoc they could wreak on a human body, with modern medicine and the healing it could bring about in a human body.

At 19, I was in my last semester of prerequisites before actually entering nursing school. Suddenly, literally overnight, I just changed. Pictures of wounds, which I would previously have studied in-depth, made me vomit. Names of medicines and body parts, which I could always keep straight (I had A's in all my nursing classes) became muddled in my head, and I had a sudden deep fear of watching a patient die. The only way I've ever been able to understand this period of my life is through the idea that it was God miraculously intervening to bring me to where He wanted me to be rather than where I wanted to be.

The next year of school was so difficult. I floundered through changing my major from Nursing to Music to Psychology to English in one year. Finally I decided to stick with English, simply because if I was going to graduate in the allotted 4 years, I had to choose something and stick with it. A year into my English major, I was miserable. Then, one day at a meeting with my adviser I saw a little blip about the somewhat new Creative Writing program on the back of a flyer about the English program. I asked him about it and he brushed it aside as I was such a good English major, and Creative Writing students were not very good at grammar and just wanted to make up stories and would end up writing the backs of cereal boxes for the rest of their lives.
Within thirty minutes I had changed my major to Creative Writing - poetry to be exact.
This set my graduation date back by three semesters, but I felt a peace I hadn't felt during any of my college years up to that point. Long story short, I graduated two and a half years later than I'd originally planned, but I wouldn't change a minute of it.

The best part about this story? I'm now working for a non-profit using absolutely none of my poetry writing skills.
I still wouldn't change a thing.

(Sorry for writing an essay in the comment section of your blog...)

Margarita Clarke said...

As much as I completely agree with everything it is so hard to actually live my life this way, doing what I love and what not, when the reality is there are bills to pay, and lots of them. What I want to do is raise a family. Right now. Be a mom forever and do some awesome volunteer work in the process. But you need money for that. It is so hard to live with that because I so often tell myself that I should do what makes me happy, not follow the money, but you can't survive or provide a good life without it. I just wish there was a way to do it all and not have to worry about the bills and whatnot. I wish you the best of luck in your pursuit and hopefully the rest of us will have some luck too!!

Karen said...

It is the hard one isn't it? It takes a lot of bravery to actually go out and do what you love because you can't just shrug it off as: ah well, doesn't matter that it didn't work out. Because it does matter. If you do something you truly love there is much at risk. But for me jumping in has been worth it so far.

Chelsea Trunnell said...

I totally love with this. My husband and I are kind of at the same point in our lives. We both have our Bachelor degrees, yet we both dislike where these degrees will take us from a career standpoint. While I am so happy to have a college degree, I feel like I will never do anything with it. It's kind of frustrating to think of all the time, effort, and money I poured in to my education and realize that I studied something I am not passionate about. I am glad you wrote this! I thought I might be the only one. Ha!

Autumn said...

'I have struggled with this. I spent the first year teaching wondering if I had chosen the right thing. I loved it in school, but my first year of teaching was miserable. It has taken me some time to realize it actually is the right route for me...I just had a really bad experience with it. Now that I am preparing for grad school my husband has been telling me just to go for it even though the option I am choosing feels less practical to me.

I think we're all pretty excited to see what y'all end up choosing!

Autumn said...

Have you thought about fashion school?

Sidney Madsen said...

"most people are as happy as they decide to be". I loved the TV series where that the owner of huge corporations went and did the menial jobs of their employees and met people that were happier than most and their job was cleaning out port a potties. Don't spend to much time over thinking Work, it's just one part of the much bigger picture. I see people who spend their whole life looking for that elusive full feeling job or career, and most of them are still looking . Work can be your life or just a vehicle for many other more creative things. I'd be interested to know the ages of those posting, I'm 56 and my perspective is there fore going to be vastly different that those in their 20's and 30's

Ashley Nielson said...

you're so lucky! that is seriously awesome! good luck to your husband!

Ashley Nielson said...

hey i'm so glad that this could be of some help. as you can see by the comments, you're not alone! good luck in everything

Emily Nicoll said...

Ooooh I hear you on this :) I graduated with a Bachelor's in Exercise and Wellness and had every intention of working in that field but within a month of graduation, I got pregnant :) While that has been a huge blessing and I wouldn't trade it, it's kinda hard to be a fitness specialist when you want to throw up all the time. So now I work part time at an awesome job but one that I don't want to do forever.

I feel in my bones that I want to do more school. My head says "no way!" but I know I want it. My husband's in med school now so that's not an option for at least a few years but there are so many different options and I want to take all of them!

Brig is lucky in that he knew very early on in his life that he wanted to be a doctor and even though it's been a tough road and will continue to be hard, he would do it all again. I, on the other hand, could do a million different things... so I guess I'm in the same boat as you. Haven't figured it out yet. I hope you find it soon!

Kaley said...

I struggled with this same thing... mostly in my early twenties. I'm now in my late twenties. I realize now that picking a career you feel good about is important, but no matter what it is, it's still going to be a job. Very few people can have a career that supports them that is their #1 passion in life. If you can that is amazing and you should pursue it. But otherwise my advice is to pursue a career that you are good with. Work hard at it, and excel in it, so you can be proud of yourself. But don't pour your entire life into it. Pour your entire life into what you're passionate about and make work just a small aspect of it.

I have a good job that I enjoy and make good money at, as does my husband. But work is just one aspect of our life and it's not the main one. I serve (volunteer) on the board of a nonprofit that I'm passionate about in my spare time. My husband and I travel extensively. If I don't have a trip planned on the horizon I don't feel happy :). We have a lot of hobbies and activities that make us happy and that is what fills our life. Work is good. But it is not what our life revolves around.

What I hope to pass on to my children is to pick a good career that they will be content working at and then find the degree that leads into that career. If you don't know what that is when you're 18 that's okay. If you don't finish college in 4 years that's okay. If you want to take some time off to travel that's okay. And always remember your career doesn't have to be the most amazing full filling thing in your life. If it did, we wouldn't call it work.

gsaez03 said...

ya... this post hits home to so many of us! I also knew in High School what I wanted to do, I took my time pursuing it but did it and got my BA in it. Found work doing it..was excited about it then come to realize there isnt much money in it and since it involves being creative, there are times (many times) that I have to deal with the "subjective" part where other non creatives demand what they think they want, making it not at all what I imagined..and then I say to myself what was i thinking going into design? and now what can I go into?? now that im in my mid 30's... (not good a math or english or history)

Kara said...

I am one of those freaks of nature who knew what I wanted to do in high school and actually stuck with it AND actually work in my intended career. I realize this is rare but I'm so so so thankful it worked that way for me. That being said, though, work is definitely work. I'm happy to fill my off-time with non work related things and that makes me very very happy. I guess what I'm saying is that I think you'll be able to find a good balance between being passionate about work and also passionate about non-work life!!

Jenna Foote said...

I have always wanted to be a teacher in a school setting. I got my broadcasting degree as a way to finish school quickly doing something fun while also obtaining a multifunctional communications degree. I am currently a piano and voice teacher, which is nice, but once my kids are in school I'm going to get my teaching degree and go teach high school ... something. :) Maybe English. We'll see!

Erin Larsen said...

My husband has had a really hard time figuring out what he wants to do with his life. He is a CPA and has a good paying job, but it is very miserable and demanding and he feels like he is literally trapped in jail. I couldn't bear seeing him so miserable anymore. We finally found an amazing company where he will be able to eventually (in the next year) quit his job and do this full time from home and will give us time freedom, financial freedom and residual income. It is an industry that he LOVES, that is all about self improvement and helping others find success as well. We still have a while until we are making the money we want with the company, but it is SO fun to see his passion come out and for us to start dreaming and planning our future. Life is just too short to be unhappy.

© i believe in unicorns. Maira Gall.