Maybe not everyone has one big passion, but many people seem to have that one passion that drives their career. It’s what they get higher education in, what they studied and practiced for, what gets them going in the morning, what gives them butterflies to think about.
I used to be so set that my passion was education. I thought, I’ll get a teaching license, get my first classroom, then have a career for life. But every time I thought about having 25+ children relying solely on me for their entire education for a year, my stomach dropped – & not in a good way. I kept telling myself that this was just nerves or self-doubt, again and again, as I was student teaching, doing pre-practicum, and searching for jobs after graduation. I’ll get that confident “teacher voice” one day, I kept telling myself. During those two weeks of full classroom takeover, I was a mess, but that was just because it’s my first time doing this, right? Being up in the front of the classroom isn’t supposed to feel totally natural at first, right?
I’m not assuming that everyone who teaches feels totally natural at first, or even after their first full year, but to me, it just felt a little too unnatural. I don’t know if it ever really clicked. It felt like I was trying too hard at something that I didn’t have my head fully into. My heart was there, all there, still is there, but that’s not enough sometimes. Or it wasn’t enough for me. I’m not writing this to say that I’m completely, totally, & forever giving up on the idea of being a teacher – but that I’m thinking it’s just not for me at this moment, and I need to stop beating myself up for not going down that path right now. I’m listening to that tiny voice coming from the depths of my soul telling me that it’s okay to spend some time flopping around like a fish out of water, and that maybe I’m just trying to find the right pool to dive into.
Maybe it’s photography. Maybe it’s something in the coffee world. Maybe it’s being a librarian. Maybe it’s working in publishing. Maybe it’s writing a book. Maybe it’s something else that hasn’t even yet crossed my mind.
I keep trying to remind myself that this is normal. This is so fucking normal, especially for people my age. It’s also such a privilege to be able to spend any time at all waffling around with different career ideas & not having to rely on my job to pay all of the bills. I know I am so lucky to be where I am, and to have the time to figure things out. Still, it’s hard to be in this limbo where I have no purpose in particular & I don’t know exactly what I’m passionate about. Just because many of my peers have figured out where they’re going with their careers and are charging full speed ahead doesn’t make me any less-than. They are so lucky to have figured things out already. But of course, no matter how people appear on their resumes or their social media profiles, no one actually has it all figured out.
Not everyone’s life paths are as straight and narrow as they may seem. I think mine’s just got a few more curves at the start. But at least I’ve got a driver’s license and a great co-pilot to help me navigate.