I have a zillion and one blog post ideas that I keep starting but they are all mammoth posts, I’m hoping to get one of them finished soon! A lot of them will be in retrospect, as it’s been a while since I’ve been anywhere. But I think that’s okay, as this blog is more than likely just going to be for myself and I like recording things. Anyway, I’m rambling…
Today I wanted to write about finding my way in life. I always have ideas of things I want to write about in my head, but when actually start to type they sound very vague, so we’ll just see where this one goes.
I’ve never had a career ambition. And I mean never. I have such a vivid memory of being in primary school and being asked what I wanted to do when I grew up and being filled with dread. The other children came out with a plethora of the usual responses – singers, teachers, doctors. I felt so much anxiety that I had no idea what I wanted to do that I just tried to satisfy my teacher by saying I wanted to be a hairdresser – I didn’t even like doing my hair!
Fast forward to when I was 17 and applying for university. I had decided that I wanted to do Forensic Psychology (I can’t remember why – it must have just sounded interesting, I loved psychology at A-Level) and accepted a course to do Forensic Psychology & Criminal Justice in Liverpool. A flurry of questions came my way. Did I want to be a forensic psychologist? What kind of job would I be able to do with that? Was I going to do a masters? What job did I want to do?
My response was that I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but the course sounded interesting and I was sure I would find out the career options there. Three years later and I still none the wiser. With a fun summer ahead and plans to go travelling I put off the decision and decided to have a year out from serious work until I returned.
Well you guessed it – a year passed and I still didn’t know what I was going to do. With no future plans my anxiety grew. I was feeling more and more that forensic psychology wasn’t my path in life, but I still felt pressured to find a job related to my degree. After a few months of being unemployed (a tale for another time!) I decided to take a job in mental health services, as I’ve always enjoyed psychology.
I’ve become to realise that my heart isn’t in it. At least I tested the waters, right? But what now? I could do a masters, but what in? I could go travelling, but what would happen when I got back?
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
When I was 18 I read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and it still remains as one of my favourite books. It’s indescribable how much I relate to the fig tree passage when I read it back; I think one of the reasons I have such a tough time making a life decision is that I feel like by choosing one option I’m eliminating my other options. I even had a tarot card reading in New Orleans (I know, I know, but when in NOLA!) and the reader said something similar to this, that I just needed to pick a route to go down. Instead I feel like I’m stagnating, growing older but going nowhere, staying in a job that I don’t like, not committing to it but not progressing anywhere else.
I’ve been fixating on my end goal, forgetting that life is a journey. Since then, I’ve been trying to push myself into accepting that my path will not be a simple one. I haven’t come out of university and fallen into an amazing high paying job and got a house and a boyfriend and a dog. Previously, I had always wanted to feel settled, but would I really want that? I need to find what’s right for me, not what I think everybody else thinks I should be doing.
Have you found your dream job? Do we only ever have one dream job in our lives?