Coast Yantai China

I am standing in front of life, trying to figure out who I am, who I want to be, where I want to go, overwhelmed by the thousands of possibilities in front of me, lost within myself and lost between choices.

I am sitting in my room watching a video about how to edit photos in Photoshop lightroom, walking from the train station to my friend’s apartment listening and dancing to music, running through the forest next to our house trying to clear my mind, lying in bed reading about self-control being the key to happiness, riding my bike to meet someone who built his own houseboat, trying to teach my mom some taichi in our garden….

But during all these moments every day there are just so many thoughts that never want to leave my mind:

Who am I? What do I want to learn? What do I want to be good at? Where do I want to live in the future? How do I want to earn money? What kind of a life do I want to live? What is going to make me happy? How should I figure out what I am good at and what kind of job is most suitable for me?

I am interested in so many things, eager to learn anything that I am curious about. But how should I choose just one thing, one direction, one job? And how should I know that this is going to be the one, the one that will make me happy and fulfilled for the rest of my life, know that the path I am taking is the right one? How?

In the last 2 weeks I´ve imagined myself in so many professions, working at different places, in different countries, having different duties, jobs, thinking, wearing, doing something and being someone else.

Working as a scientist on a boat shipping through the Antarctic, taking samples of micro animals in the sea, or tramping through the jungle in search of an undiscovered species. Yes. I could see myself as a biologist or explorer, traveling the world and doing research about plants, animals, ecosystems etc.

I also love physical training. I´ve been practicing Taekwondo for almost 10 years now, reached the level of a master, being allowed to teach. I just finished a yearlong immersive program in China, in which I discovered my passion for Taichi. Maybe I should focus on that and start teaching.

Being able to build my own tiny house out of wood and other materials, knowing how to handle the different tools and to create and design my dream house would be amazing to learn. I could build my own portable home and travel the world with it. And because I would already y go into the direction of planning, designing and building furniture and whole constructions, I might as well study interior design, room setup or architecture. I´m sure I can find a job as an architect almost everywhere in the world.

But then again I am really interested in photography, picture and video-editing and could imagine myself being a photographer traveling the world, taking pictures of all the amazing places I would visit and also taking videos maybe for YouTube and earn my money with that.

Wait. I am really good at organizing, planning and keeping the overview of something. Perhaps I should study management…?

Oh, and writing. I enjoy writing. I could be a travelblogger or work for a travel organization, giving recommendations about where to travel, what to bring, which hotel to stay in, where to eat, where to buy groceries, what to pay attention to etc. or I could be an author writing my stories while traveling through the world.

Or a stargazer, the universe is an unknown and unexplored place; or a diver, diving is fun; or an artist, I always liked drawing and painting; or a cook, because food is existential and delicious; or a translator; or; or; or

I wish there was a machine that could plant the memory of a job being so amazing and perfect for me into my mind so that I would think or know that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I would be happy, even if my job would consist of picking strawberries in a field every day and selling them on the weekend on a local fruit market. And that’s all I want. I want to be happy and fulfilled with what I do. But what is it going to be? How shall I find out? What path must I follow?

I have moments in which I feel so lost and confused. I let myself get depressed and sad because I am so afraid of making the wrong choice or not being happy with what I am going to be doing in the future. How do other people find their passion? Do they even make their passion into their job? Or did they just choose one thing that came across their way and are pleased with what they got? Could I be pleased with anything?
I just don’t want to be one thing, good at only one thing. I don’t want to be only an architect or only a biologist. I want to be good at lots of things.

So what’s the key?

Maybe the choices are not the problem. Maybe it´s me. Maybe my demands are too high and I wouldn´t be happy regardless of which career I would choose. Perhaps there is no “perfect job” and I have to change my attitude towards an occupation having to be “the perfect one”, because maybe any kind of job that I am interested in could fulfill me. But who knows?


5 thoughts on “confusion”

  1. First of all: you are definitely not the cause of the “problem”!
    I think the actual culprit behind your dilemma might be “society” itself or rather the expectations, ideals and norms every person gets exposed to while living in a social collective. Every “society” promotes a certain set of ideas and images of how we´re supposed to live our lives, “who” we´re supposed to be.
    It´s nigh impossible to not be affected by that stuff, even if it´s just on a subconscious level. I for one catch myself comparing the state of my life with “how things are supposed to be” at my age and 2/10 times that concludes with me slipping into a spiral of negative thoughts. It´s hard to escape the fallacy of feeling like “failing” to “reach” certain “milestones” in life has to mean I`m somewhat defective or that there must be something wrong with me. That sort of echoes, correct me if I´m wrong, some of the emotions you´re experiencing atm, don´t you think?
    I`m not exactly confident in my ability to put my own “solution” into adequate words and even a little intimidated by the prospect of the attempt, so I´ll skip that part for now, but I´d like to end this comment on a somewhat positive note nonetheless.
    The focus of one of my favorite mindfulness exercises is learning how to develop self-compassion and includes the repetition of three phrases (the adjectives are a matter of personal choice btw)

    May I be strong
    May I be patient
    May I be kind to myself

    Feeling lost sometimes is more than okay 

    1. I think you summarized really well how I am feeling. And yes, (I think) you are totally right by saying that we all are somehow influenced by the people and the society around us. We can´t completely escape being affected by the ideas of the society we live in. Having a sort of “Mantra” as I would call it, is a really great thing to have. Visualizing how I want to be and what kind of person I want to become and focussing on the positive things in life helps me to focus only on myself, trying to be as little affected by other people’s ideas as possible and finding MY way/path. Also, it helps to find people who might share some of your own ideas about life and with whom one can exchange experiences and thereby help each other.

  2. Umm… Thanks for the praise, I suppose, and your eloquent response in general.
    You and I seem to share some common ground on this particular topic, so I´m going to add another of my personal “revelations” to it:
    I´ve learned to be a lot more at peace with who am I today by trying to not to get TOO attached to any outcomes. Sure, it´s helpful to have a goal and a general sense of direction, but in my experience, life is more about the journey than the actual destination. Personal and external circumstances can change within the emotional equivalent of a blink of an eye, everything and everyone is continuously evolving (at a different pace of course) and I personally don´t believe that I´ll ever know with absolute certainty who I am, because I, just like every other individual, am not static and will continue to grow every day and with every experience as life goes on. I´m not clairvoyant, so the future will always be somewhat unpredictable, no matter what kind of preparations I set in motion. I used to worry a lot about that, but right now I´m content with focusing on “enjoying the ride”.

    1. I think attachments in the majority of cases are not beneficial. They bind you or rather bond you to them; them being a place, a state of mind or a person. They keep you from evolving, learning and changing. And yes, life is not to be lived in means of someday achieving something, but to have the experience of living. If you´re too focused on the supposed goal you miss out on the wonderful things in life that are worth experiencing. There is no “end”. We learn and grow all the time, without ever getting to a point where we achieved complete knowledge or growth.

  3. I hope that you won’t stop writing such interesting articles. I’m waiting for more of your content. It’s so good that i’m going follow you!

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