The Emerald Girl

casual. classic. curious.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Finding Direction (or not) in Life

Brace yourself, this is a long post about my experience.

I did not take the typical route from high school through college. To start, I did not finish high school on time because I was too concerned with partying. That being said, when I decided to finish a year later, I pursued the high school program offered at a local technical college where I could take college courses and get credit for both. I chose accounting. I liked money and I enjoyed math and finance. When I received my two year degree in accounting, I was 20 and certainly didn't feel like going out and getting a "real" job being an accountant. I was not concerned about the "rest of my life" in the slightest. I enjoyed every bit of my life and my friends and in general I was quite happy.

Two and a half years later, I decided to go complete a bachelors degree in business from the University of Washington. It seemed like the next thing to do and I'm glad I did. I chose to study business because I have loved business and marketing from the time I was a young child. To this day I fill my bookshelves with marketing and motivation books that I read for fun. I recommend a business degree because it is so versatile and to that end, I recommend any versatile education unless you specifically have a deep interest in something else, like becoming a Dr. or something very defined like that. I have found that sometimes a degree is just a formality and getting a job or promotion comes down to soft skills and who you know. All of that to say, if you have a job but you want to change your trajectory, don't feel locked in to your industry, just start looking around and putting yourself out there.

Looking back, if I could change one thing, it would be that I wish I would have developed my other interests at an age when I had more time (ie: before kids). Photography has been a strong interest of mine since grade school but I never sought to develop the interest until after college, when I was 25. Even now, I am just beginning to dive into a bunch of other interests and hobbies. I wish I would have disciplined myself back then to get better at something other than hanging out with friends.

Follow your interests - let them guide you through life. Don't let yourself be boxed in by what you think you have to do or force yourself to meet other people's expectations.  We're lucky enough to live in a world where we have the freedom to make SO MANY choices and I think it best to take advantage of that. Live a different life than people did 50 years ago. Anything is possible and I believe anyone is able to achieve any dream they have if they work hard for it.

Developing your interests leads to finding more interests. For example, it was through photographing weddings that I discovered my love for all things floral. And now, in my thirties, I am just starting to further that interest. I'm obsessed with flowers and photographing their pretty petals. I never would have found this level of fulfillment from a "hobby" if I hadn't pursued that small interest. (I'll write a separate post on my journey as a photographer).

Don't fall into the Passion Pit, as I call it. By definition, Passion is a strong and barely controllable emotion. Passion is the "it-word" of the moment and it can lead you to a pit of despair. Searching for divine direction that will give you a strong and barely controllable emotion is like jumping out of hot air balloon and expecting a giant bird to appear and whisk you off to where you are supposed to be. It is NOT going to happen - you are just going down. I say this from experience. I desperately wanted to find my passion in hopes that I would find my life's purpose. But I've come to realize...

 the best direction is simple: be kind, work hard where you're at, make room for hobbies, keep learning, be interested, stay hopeful. Life will open and close doors unexpectedly.

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