It’s a question I ask myself a lot. I was listening to a Tim Ferris podcast with Gretchen Rubin. She wrote a book called Power, Money, Fame, and Sex. She mentions in the interview that one of the reasons that brought her to this topic was the curiosity of figuring out what people really wanted out of life. She initially started off going to law school because for her that was the “safe” thing to do. She ended up becoming very successful in her field however lost interest and then pursued writing. And I think like myself and many people out there they can completely relate; either you’ve gone through this at some of your life or are going through this.
I mean speaking for myself I made a plan at the age of 18 that was crystal clear for me and stuck through it up until this point. My plan initially was to become an anesthesiologist not because I loved it but it was a “safe” thing to do. My parents absolutely loved the idea of me going to school and hopefully one day getting a master’s degree in something that would give me complete financial security. But deep down inside they also knew that I was the little artsy fartsy girl that loved writing poetry, enjoyed chorus, and always looked forward to acting class. My biggest fear in life was to disappoint my parents so I tried my hardest to get good grades and be in advanced classes just so that my parents would allow me to do the things that I really wanted to do. And I remember like if it was yesterday when I finally had to sit down with my parents and choose a career that I would be doing for the rest of my life. My first choices were completely thrown out the window and I received a long lecture of how I needed to get a career that would give me financial security and without a doubt plenty of success. And as we all know artsy fartsy careers contain a lot of doubt and don’t always bring financial security or success to everyone that pursues it. So that pretty much narrowed my choices down to either the medical field, engineering, or becoming a lawyer…
Once my future had been picked for me I went for it and I have never looked back. Every step of the way I always told myself “I have to keep moving forward because I can’t stay where I am forever and I’m way too deep in to change my career.” And I’m not saying that I’m not thankful for my parents pushing me. Without that push I wouldn’t be as financially secure as I am today. I wouldn’t have the success that I do have. Because of them I’m able to do what I want to do when I want; but in the back of my mind that “what if” is always lingering.
At this point I am so close to completing my goal but I’ve found myself in a little predicament. Which is “I would rather fail in doing what I want than succeed in my current career.” And now that I do have financial security, perhaps not on an anesthesiologist scale but more so on the better half of the country scale, I find myself doing more of the artsy fartsy than attempting to complete that initial goal. The excitement of “risking” has become much more worth it to me.
A lot of this doubt has made me wonder “what do people really want out of life.” And because I am who I am, I went around and asked. I got so many different answers in return. A lot of people mentioned freedom ranging from inner peace to financial freedom, one person said happiness, someone else said they wanted to live up to their full potential. And then I got really curious and wondered “does what you want out of life change… ever?” So I asked one person what they wanted out of life at the age of 15 and they said “oh that was easy, leave my country and come to America.” How about at 20 “Make enough money to provide for my daughter.” At 25? “Nothing, I had everything I needed. I had a home in a nice calm middle class neighborhood, a family, and I had a job that gave me enough to support my family.” And then I asked how about now at 45, and with a little bit of delay she responded “To become a better person.”
So my question to you is “What do you really want out of life?” Is there anything holding you back and why? And by all means if you want to leave or share any personal experience similar to my little predicament please do so… I think we’re all in need of some advice.
And remember there’s no right or wrong answer. There’s always going to be two completely different perspectives battling with each other you can either choose the clean cut reality
Or if you’re more like me find the beauty in the risk
(And yes that sculpture is in the first picture… you see perspective😏)