The worst part of being an adult is the moment you sit down, look at your life and start questioning everything. You’re asking yourself: Did I pick the right career? Did I study the right things? Did I choose the rights jobs? Did I move to the right place? Did I befriend the right people? Did I pursue the right interests?
And it’s painful because even though you’ve put all this time into the choices that lead you to where you are now, you are still young enough to do something different. So you sit there, looking at everything you’ve done and who you are, and you wonder…should I keep going the way I’m going or should I change everything and start over?
They say choosing your college major is the hardest decision because it will determine the direction of your life, and I agree, it’s a big one. But I think the hardest choice you can make is whether or not to stay the course. In college, people change their majors all the time, but how often do people completely change their lives?
At my own crossroads, I’ve found myself asking one question over and over:
Like so many people, I’m not just in need of direction, I’m in need of purpose.
So I sit and wonder, what can I bring to the world? How can I influence people’s lives in a positive way? How can I make their stories happier?
What is it that I can do for people that no one else can?
Every book and blog I’ve read says this is the way to find your passion; that altruism is the fastest path to happiness. And I believe that. To do something “just for the money” quickly loses its charm and you’re left wondering why you spend so much time making money that you aren’t even spending on things that do make you happy.
It’s the same reason why, in the long term, giving gifts feels better than receiving. That shiny new thing you received feels great at first, but the shine fades. Watching someone use a gift you’ve given them to improve their lives gives you a warm feeling each and every time.
I don’t have my own answers just yet, but I’ll keep thinking about it. I know that I won’t be satisfied being a cog in a wheel of a larger organization. I want to be hands on. I want to see the impact I’m having. I want to hear the stories of the people who have been affected by something I’ve done, (ideally in a positive way!)
This is a big reason why I want to get deeper into freelance work. By directly impacting someone’s business or project, and working with them on a personal level, I can help. I can have an impact. I can be a positive contribution.
Isn’t that what we all want—To make this world better than it was before we got here?