Relax — You Don’t Have To Have Life Figured Out Right Now

Relax — You Don’t Have To Have Life Figured Out Right Now ©iStock/lzf

“What do you want to do with your life?” How many times have you heard that one? I think I used to hear it at least a dozen times a week from different people. Why don’t I hear it anymore? The people asking realize they’re not going to get the answer they want, so they’ve stopped asking. What do I tell them? I’m figuring it out one step at a time.

No, you don’t have to figure out your life right this second. We put so much stress on ourselves to plan out our entire lives by the time we’re 18 that we end up more clueless than ever. I truly am amazed by those select few who do have that clear plan and manage to make it work. For the rest of us, we don’t have to know what 80 is going to be like when we’re 21.

  1. Things are always changing. Your interests, friends, boyfriends, home, car (and on and on) are always changing. You could have this clear plan, but what if the company you’ve dreamed of working for moves to another state? Would you move? What if your boyfriend doesn’t want to? You can’t plan for everything that might change, including what you might want, which is all the more reason to go with the flow.
  2. Everyone has questions. You’re not the only one who has no clue what they want to do. Everyone has those questions. Even when they’re doing what they wanted, they still question if they might want to try something else. You’re not alone.
  3. You only need to make one choice at a time. When it comes down to it, you really only need to make a single choice at a time. Need money? It’s not about choosing a career. You just need a job. Once you have a job, then you can think more about what you like to do. Then you can decide what to pursue. Then you can decide where you want to live. See what I mean? Just take it a step at a time.
  4. Why limit yourself? Planning out everything right now just limits you. You don’t see possibilities anymore. All you see is how to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. Do you want to retire one day only to wish you’d tried a few more things or gave yourself the chance at a different career?
  5. Life’s about discovery. If you’re like me, you’ve heard the whole “life’s about discovery” saying probably more times than you can count. If you have to know everything about your life immediately, what’s to discover? You’ll discover what you want as you go. Take your time and just experience life.
  6. You’re probably going to change your mind. Becoming an accountant might seem great right now. About halfway through college, you realize you hate it. You could plan everything down to the last detail and end up changing your mind before your done. Why waste the time? Do what sounds great now, change your mind later, do something else and repeat. It’s called life.
  7. No one else has it figured out. Sure, you’ll meet some people who seem to have it all figured out. Guess what? You don’t know everything about them. They have their own unknowns. They might not even be doing what they truly want. Don’t compare yourself to everyone else, and instead just worry about your own life.
  8. Who knows what’ll happen tomorrow? You might like tennis today, but get a wrist injury tomorrow that kills any hope of playing professionally. You could plan to open a business with your best friend, only to have her suddenly fall in love and move a thousand miles away. No matter how much you plan, you can’t plan for the unexpected.
  9. It’s not worth the stress. The more you stress yourself out, the worse you’ll feel. And trust me, it won’t help you figure things out any faster. Take a moment, calm down and stop worrying. You’ll have that ah-ha moment eventually and everything will be clear. Until then, just do your own thing and stress less.
  10. You have time. People are starting new careers in their 60s and 70s. Who says you have to know what you want in life in your 20s or even 30s? You have time.
  11. Rushing leads to bad decisions. Rushing to figure things out just to make everyone else happy only leads to really bad decisions. You let others influence what career you choose, who you date, when to have kids and even where to live and what car to drive. It’s only after you’ve settled that you realize you’re miserable.
  12. It’s your life, so ignore the pressure. Why don’t you need to figure it all right now? It’s your life. Ignore the pressure from everyone else. They’re not living your life. Maybe instead of being so interested in your life, they should focus more on their own. You have enough crazy worries, so don’t add one more to the pile.

You’ll have to make choices eventually, but you’ll get there. Don’t stress yourself out over it. When the time comes, you’ll know exactly what you want most.

Crystal Crowder is a freelance writer and blogger. She's a tech geek at heart, but loves telling it like it is when it comes to love, beauty and style. She's enjoys writing music, poetry and fiction and curling up with a great book. You can find her on Twitter @ccrowderwrites or check out her other writing on Medium.