I didn’t have the answer, but I needed to get moving regardless.
This was what I finally realized one morning in my twenties, not wanting to get out of bed and go to work (but knowing I will anyway).
I’ve been asking myself this question most insistently since I got into college—when the proverbial path ends and becomes yours to determine. It has been an inkling that just hasn’t gone away.
I don’t have the answer currently, nor do I foresee myself having one in the near future.
I asked this after a couple years of working full-time post college. I asked the question again after my wedding, and I asked the question yet again six months after we bought a house.
What’s next for living the life I want to live, instead of following the status quo? What’s next for what I want instead of just what someone else wants me to do? What’s next for the new adventure? What’s next for getting ourselves closer to the free life, figuratively and financially? What’s next for the impact I want to make?
These are the questions I want to answer. Even with much concerted effort to control the outcome—the countless hours of soul-searching activities, online assessments, surveys, books, coaches and so called experts—I have not been able to find it.
With so many options explored to no avail, I felt frustrated and confused.
Eventually, I realized I need to be okay with not having an answer for now.
I needed to try new things without any expectation of short-term gains or results.
Being okay with not knowing is scary at first and almost necessary for progress to be made. It’s all too easy to complain about your situation and stay stagnant in the midst of too many options and indecision.
The key is to continually take action, experiment, and have some fun with it.
Embracing the ambiguity, taking the time for the reflection and exploration allows you to let go of those preconceived notions, generally consisting of existing molds you may settle for in your haste to find an answer. Switching to another company, taking another mediocre job, going back to school without a clear idea of what you’re going after… these are common options that are often disguised like the next step you think you want.
It’s worth taking some time to embrace the not knowing in order to explore options out of curiosity rather than fear. During times of impatience, I ask myself, “Do you want to move very fast in the wrong direction, or very slowly in the right direction?”
If you must err though, definitely err on the side of taking action.
There are few mistakes that you can’t learn from, and much more is gained than lost when you introduce new experiences into your life vs just waiting.
Just waiting, in a time when your inner being is yearning to make progress—to do anything for the sake of doing something—is only prolonging your misery. So do yourself a favor and get moving!