Go with the Flow!
I have to admit something. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. And I turn 40 in a few weeks. And that’s OK!
My career and education path has been full of changes. Graduating from High School, I was going to be an Economics major. I thought it would give me the best chance of a stable job when I graduated. Turns out, I hate economics! But I loved my Geography and Anthropology courses. Luckily, that’s what first year is about, finding subjects that peak your interest. So I changed my major to dual Geography-Anthropology only to then lose my part time job and move home with my parents. The university in their city didn’t have an anthropology department so my major became Geography. However, once I graduated with my BA, I realized I would have to get higher education to carry on in that field, but I didn’t love it enough to work towards a Master’s degree. So I decided to work for a little bit. While working as a waitress, I decided to get a certificate from the local college in Business Administration. I liked the Human Resources part; people made sense to me. But I stayed a waitress because the money was good and I had a pile of student debt. A few years later, I met and married my husband, who with his military career, took me around the world, and gave me two children. During the next fifteen years I earned two more college certificates, one in being a teacher of adult learners, and one for graphic design. Both I took online in my spare time. Now I work part time in a retail store and I own my own business doing graphic design, photography and freelance writing. How’s that for going with the flow? If you would have told me in High School that I would one day be getting paid to be creative, I would have laughed at you.
The idea that a person knows exactly what they will do with their life at 17 or 18 is ridiculous. Even if you are 100% sure of the path, life sometimes takes twists and turns you weren’t expecting. Good and bad things will be thrown at you, and it’s your ability to deal with those events that determine how successful you will ultimately be.
The best part about being open and going with the flow, is that every experience you have, can be brought with you. I may not be “using” my degree, but the research and study skills from those years are a core part of every course I took afterwards. The customer service skills I learned as a waitress, I use in my freelance business. The software I learned in business, I use every day. Even the cultural awareness I gained while travelling is invaluable.
In short, be open to new possibilities. Learn from failure, say yes to new things, challenge yourself to try scary things. Sometimes the things we fear doing the most, are precisely the things we need to be doing.
And, remember, two steps forward and one step back isn’t failure….it’s dancing the tango!