PASSION, LIFE GOALS, & ACHIEVING BALANCE
There’s a seemingly harmless question we all tend to ask kids that drives me kind of crazy. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. Yeah, I know, you’re thinking “Uhh what’s the big deal?” or “This builds motivation, insight, goal-setting!”, and yes I agree to some extent, but hear me out. Why does someone have to be just one thing for their entire life? Kind of boring actually.
The tendency to put our careers in a nice neat little box seems to extend to other areas of our life. Part of this is due to how we as humans process and categorize information (called schematic processing) and perhaps the other part is how society tends to want to keep things very black and white. We love labels. You’re either “girly”, a “tomboy”, a “bookworm”, a “fashionista”, but God forbid you’re all of the above!
Without realizing it, I’ve always kind of embraced a variety of labels. In high school, I got straight-As and read voraciously, but I was also a cheerleader, but also kind of a rebellious teen that loved to party (sorry Mom and Dad!). I loved animals, but I also loved hanging with the boys. I had friends from various cliques that were apparently never supposed to mix (high school is just SO serious).
College came and I had to choose one direct path with one career goal. I opted for psychology because I felt it didn’t totally put me in a box and instead gave me a lot of options and flexibility depending on what I chose to do with it. Then, I decided to become a psychotherapist. And as endlessly interesting as I found it to be, it also kind of stressed me out thinking that I had to be this specific label. And shocker, I was kind of miserable when I was doing it full-time. And I felt guilty for feeling miserable because aren’t you just supposed to have one big passion in life and commit yourself fully to that?
If you really do have one big passion and are totally fulfilled just doing that, good for you, seriously. But what if you have multiple passions and interests? It’s actually pretty unrealistic, given the fact that we change SO much throughout our developmental life stages, to think that people should commit to just one specific life path. And once I realized how unfair that expectation was, I felt relieved. And I decided to do it all. So, I volunteer with animals, I work in fashion part-time, I write this blog, and I still work as a licensed therapist. I wouldn’t feel half as fulfilled if I was doing only one of those things. In fact, I’d feel pretty gypped.
Life is about balance and I’m a big believer in being well-rounded. To me, it’s a bit more authentic and a hell of a lot more interesting. After all, we only have one life to live, so why spend it just doing or “being” one thing? You really can have and be it all. #lifegoals
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