Let’s Play LIFE: Are You Feeling Aimless?
I have felt this way for the longest time.
I hate that life won’t stop for those of us who are confused. Like, there’s no pause button on time. How can we continue if we feel confused and aimless? How can we end up where we want to be, nay even need to be if we can’t pause life and search every possibility?
The thing is, we have to search for the answer every single day. We have to test every single thought that comes to our mind in hopes that it will be the answer and magically solve our problem. And the worst part is, it won’t always automatically come to us, though we may wish and pray it does.
Today, I want to encourage my fellow college students. It doesn’t feel great being confused and aimless in college, when this is the time that we’re supposed to know where we’re going! So, let’s talk through some steps that just might help us narrow our search.
Step #1: List every possible thing you can think of that you enjoy doing.
Stepping into college, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Lo and behold, I was very incorrect. In fact, it has taken me a couple of years to even narrow it down to some things that I somewhat enjoy. Only for two days now (as I’m currently writing this) have I actually come across an idea that doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
When I was a little girl, my dad (who is also a musician) used to play Jazz. Even before I was born! Sometimes, my mom and I would get the chance to go see him play and since then I have always associated Jazz with that little coffee shop moment in my childhood. And throughout the years, Jazz has been a silent musical backbone. Though, I never really knew it.
The other evening, as I was singing in the shower, a thought came to my mind: “Why did I never follow through with Jazz last year?”
For context, I played in our department’s Jazz Band, and it was made up of me and two musical colleagues. However, I was forced to play the piano as it was a three-piece and my fellow pianist already knew how to play bass; and every good Jazz Band needs a solid bassist. And so, I didn’t get to sing like I really wanted to. To be fair, it was a great learning experience. It quickly showed me that I could rule out Jazz piano as a career option.
It was at that moment that I realized why I didn’t continue considering Jazz: There wasn’t an opportunity for me to sing like I had hoped. So, from feeling dissuaded, I looked at all sorts of careers that sounded interesting (in my fields of study):
- Musicologist/Music Historian
- Music Librarian
- Historically Informed Performance
- Classical Performer
- Vocal Coach
- Piano Teacher
- Composer (Film, most specifically)
But none of these careers really fascinated me. I felt pigeon-holed and frustrated. And then just two days ago, it came to me. By making this list and researching each career consistently, the fog in my mind finally cleared.
Step #2: If you come across an idea that sounds “right” in your heart and mind, ask a friend or family member what they think.
Asking for a second opinion doesn’t mean you’re giving up if the opinion given is different from yours, it just means that it might give you some insight as to what others think. If they agree, maybe this is something you should further research and pursue. If they don’t, maybe it’s worth double-checking since they can’t imagine you doing _______ career.
I spoke with my mom not but fifteen minutes after the realization came to me. She’s always been a solid sounding board. In past, some of my ideas seemed more likely than others, and my mom was supportive regardless. She often asks about the details of the careers, which is super helpful to my research. And when I told my dad about it, he agreed that it was the right choice!
So, make sure you can talk to someone about your thoughts. That way, you may just hear the words I did, “I can see you doing that. This reminds me of you.”
Step #3: Celebrate the wins, even if they are momentary.
Without recognizing how far you’ve come, you’ll never feel a bit satisfied with yourself. No, it won’t always be an automatic realization. I’m amazed for those individuals who actually know what they want to do as kids. However, I think it’s probably more likely that most people feel the way I do. But that’s what college is for! Exploration and realization.
Along my research trail, I celebrated the possible ideas. Yes, it was frustrating to feel unsure in the back of my mind all the time. Mainly because I forced the career to fit me. Yet, it was worth celebrating. The confusion and fear really taught me a lot about myself, and here I stand victorious!
I don’t know what the future is going to look like. Graduate school is even harder to get into than regular college. Still, I’m up for the challenge. I’m ready to go after my dream. My goal. And I can’t say how relieved I feel to know that Jazz is the right answer. Listening to it right now as I write this blog just feels right.
The Answer To Your Problem
Never give up on yourself. You deserve to feel this way that I do. To feel overjoyed and at peace. If I could say anything to make you see hope, I would say this:
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
— Proverbs 16:3
This is my favorite verse in the Bible because I believe it applies all the time. Over the years, I have prayed consistently about knowing my career. And in all of the mental stress, I forgot about it. But God is so good in that He still guided me towards my heart’s desire even when I didn’t take time with Him in prayer. Even when I neglected to stay as dedicated as possible in my prayer life, He still had my back and answered me at just the right time.
If you are still struggling with finding a career, and you feel exhausted from the confusion and frustration, I would encourage you to pray. God hears our prayers, even if He doesn’t give us an answer immediately. By being patient and trusting in Him, I think you’ll be surprised at how wonderfully He blesses us at just the right time.
All my love,