On Not Knowing What The Hell You Want

When I was a preteen, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I went through several different scenarios in my head of possible career choices. We all do. At least I tell myself that we all do, and if you don’t, GOOD FOR YOU.

I thought about what it would be like to be a marine biologist, and I considered whether or not I should follow in my grandmother’s footsteps and become a nurse. I thought — for a brief moment until I remembered how much I dislike children — that maybe I could become a teacher. And I even considered the possibility of being Indianapolis’ newest nightly news anchor.
I somehow, by the grace of our lord and savior Britney Spears, made it to college and by the time I was a senior in college I was on my way to earning a degree in Communication. By the time graduation was approaching, I wasn’t even sure I liked what I was doing anymore, but it was too late to do anything about it so I graduated and prepared for an internship that sounded about as fun as trying to talk to a dentist while their hands are in your mouth.

I made it through that internship and eventually found a job. THE END.

Except it wasn’t the end. Because, to the shock of no one if you’ve ever read my blog or talked to me for longer than five minutes, I ended up hating my job and quit before the year ended.
I thought I had found what I wanted to do with my life. And maybe I had, maybe I know. For now.
But lately people have asked me where I see myself in the next five years. And I no longer have an answer for them.
Sometimes I look around me, and it seems as if everyone knows what they want to do. They have some sort of end goal…whether that’s becoming a News Editor, owning their own business, starting a family, writing a screenplay, or writing their own book.
But I don’t have an end goal. I don’t even have a starting goal. I’m back where I was ~10 years ago, and it’s freaking me out.
I want to think about my future, I want to make plans, I want to make my dreams come true. But the problem is that I don’t even know what my dreams are right now.
It seems like for my entire life I have had some sort of end goal. I wanted to go to college, so I went to college. I wanted to become an account manager for the student-run public relations firm, so I did that. And I wanted to write for BuzzFeed, so I did everything in my power to make sure I could do that. But now that I’ve accomplished it, I don’t know where to go from here.
For the first time in a long time, I don’t know what I want to do. I have a job that I like, I live in a city that I like, and yet I feel more lost than ever before.

There’s always the advice to follow your dreams and do what you want to do. But what if you DON’T KNOW what you want to do? Huh Pinterest??? What then???

I think that in this life, we all have some sort of calling. Some of us discover it early on, some of us discover it by accident, some of us discover it only when others point it out, and some of us… well some of us are still trying to discover it. It’s easy to get bogged down in the direction set upon our lives by others. There’s what our parents think we should do, what our friends think we should do, what society thinks we should do… and then what we think we should do, which almost always comes last.

While attempting to find my calling, I find myself repeatedly remembering an episode of “The Hills.” Stay with me here.
In this particular episode, Lauren Conrad is confused about what to do with her life. I FEEL YOU, LC, I FEEL YOU.
Whilst talking to her boss about these concerns, her boss mentions that being in her current position of feeling lost was actually a good thing. SAY WHAT? I know, right? She then throws out a french term which may or may not be accurate because let’s be real this show was on MTV. “Je voudrais flâner” she said… which means to walk around aimlessly without a plan.

It’s a beautiful thing, in many ways, not having a plan. It gives you the ability to explore so many different options until you find something that really makes you come alive. I think we should all “je voudrais flâner” at different points in our lives. We should all re-evaluate our hopes and dreams every couple of years and make sure we’re still doing things that make us come alive.

I hate feeling lost and I hate not being able to answer the question about where I want to be five years down the line. But I’d hate pursuing something I hate more. The thing about following your dreams is that your dreams should always change.

So maybe this time instead of trying to follow my dreams, I’ll just wander aimlessly until I create new ones.

Take time to wander aimlessly and create your dreams, too.

Because as soon as your create them, you can chase them.

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4 responses to “On Not Knowing What The Hell You Want

  1. Hey Lara! Something to ponder – I’ve found that I’ve had a “calling” for different phases of my life. You may not have the same calling now that you have in 10 years. When I graduated college, I knew without a doubt what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be. Two years later, I left that path and that city to do something completely different across the country but that I felt 100% (eh, maybe 85%) certain I wanted to do. Now, I’m in the same place as you – figuring out what’s next, and it really is a cool place to be because you could literally do anything. I would just say that when you start to have an inkling of what that is – go for it, just like you did with BuzzFeed and LA. You’re a rockstar, girl. Excited to see where you wind up!

  2. Hey Lara – just found your article on Buzzfeed about vaginismus/vulvodynia and had to somehow contact you personally to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m 22, single, and recently diagnosed with vaginismus; sometimes I honestly wonder whether I even deserve love. Thank you for your courage and bravery – I sincerely don’t even have words for how much it meant to me, reading somebody talking so openly about their experience. You give me hope for my own future. Best of luck to you and your partner – thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • Hey… thank you so much for reaching out to me! It means a lot more to me than I can express via this comment, haha. Please don’t ever question whether or not you deserve love… you absolutely, absolutely do. Don’t forget that. All my love.

  3. Hi Lara, thanks for sharing your thoughts. This post really resonated with me. I’ve been struggling a lot with feelings of anxiety and discomfort that come from being lost and confused about my “life purpose” or “dream job” (especially when it appears as if my peers are already in the the midst of one). Unfortunately, I realized that worrying caused me to have zero chill around friends and family, and yet I wasn’t getting any closer to finding my career path. So taking a page from the ever-chic French, I aim to enjoy the ‘flâner’. I will do my job, look around for opportunities, but if none call my name, you may find me at my friend’s place, drinking wine, hanging out, dreaming about a life filled with cheese and chocolate :-) Good luck on your journey!

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