When I was a senior in college, the question constantly asked of me by people was “so what are you going to do?” There is nothing wrong with this question, and it’s a logical thing to ask, but over time the question begins to send the message of “have you figured out your future yet?”
I think there can be a lot of pressure on people in their twenties to figure their life out as fast as soon as possible. This can be from parents, internally, peers, society as a whole, etc. The message is to get a nice full time job, buy a house (not avocado toast apparently), get married, the list goes on.
If you don’t accomplish one or more of these quickly, it’s easy to feel like you’re falling behind.
Listen, you really aren’t supposed to already have it all figured out, and even if it looks like you do, you probably don’t because life is always throwing curveballs.
Have patience with your life, but don’t waste this time either. Gary Vaynerchuk talks about having macro patience and micro speed. See the big picture of your life and plan for the long haul, but do everything you can now to prepare and grow for the future.
We always need to be taking steps to achieve our future goals. Gain experience and make the most of whatever job you have. Network and build relationships with people, you never know when a connection will lead to the job or the opportunity you want. Then never forget to continually be improving both personally and professionally. You want more skills and knowledge in 10 years than you have right now, but that will only happen if you are seeking to grow.
Overnight success is a myth, for almost every person that hits it big, there were YEARS of hard work and preparation for that moment that launched their career into another level. Regardless of your current job, you can start working today towards what you want in the future. Start a side hustle, volunteer, read every book on the topic. That huge opportunity you get in 10 or 20 years begins with the effort you put in now. That’s not to say the next 10 to 20 years will be terrible (I hope they’re not), but the reality is that success doesn’t happen immediately, so take the small wins and always be trying to improve yourself and your skills.
Most of us struggle with delayed gratification. With technology we can get so many things that we want within seconds, and thanks to Amazon Prime we can have packages delivered in 2 days (more than that seems like an eternity to me at this point).
We don’t have to wait for a lot of things, so it can be really difficult to have to wait to get the job we want or find out where we’ll find meaning. For most of us though we have to wait. We have to put in the work now so that we can take hold of opportunities in the future. This will be a long game, but when your dream moment comes you need to be ready.
Whatever you do, please don’t spend your time complaining about how you wish your situation was different. That helps nobody and it hurts you in the long run. If you want something to be different, then take the steps necessary to move in the right direction. You have the freedom and agency to make change happen, complaining is a poor way to get to where you want to be. Know your goals and work towards them.
Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself, and don’t worry if you haven’t “made it” yet, there is time. That being said, always be aware of what you want and be intentional about how you are going to make it happen. The success you’re looking for might not happen for a while, but it starts now. Learn. Experiment. Succeed. Fail. Serve others. Grow.