Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Now What?

I'm sure most of you have heard the sunscreen song which found its way around the internet as a commencement speech at MIT. You'll find the history and information about the original author (Mary Schmich) and the lyrics here. If you haven't heard it already, please go listen to it. It is a very feel-good piece, with some stellar bits of advice, or more accurately, retrospective insights on life.

Well, what reminded me about this song of late was the line:
Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.
..because (you guessed it) I find myself quite in the same predicament. It's all very well, Ms. Schmich, that you find these people interesting. But are they satisfied with their lives? Are they happy at 40, not knowing what to do and still interesting?

I am doing something in life, but is this what I want to do with my life? Hint: Probably not. I sort of went with the flow for a lot of choices I took along the way. Mostly it was the path of least resistance and lesser churn. But of course that isn't the path of most satisfaction. Or is it, if I try a different approach/work harder? Or is there something altogether different I should take on? Sigh. Is there some NON-trial-and-error approach that people are taking that tells them what they should invest their next few years in? Who are those people? Wave if you know.

Anyway, so the point is: now what?

1 comment:

Ashish said...

Most people I know are in the same boat as well. And trust me, most people who seem to be super confident that they are doing the right thing in life are equally clueless. Many of them just don't think much and let it flow the way it's going; Others who think are perhaps in a similar situation as you are in.

My take is that we land up in this state mostly because of a lack of a bigger goal. By 'bigger goal', I don't mean 'why we are born' type stuff, but a goal bigger than day-to-day life. It could be as big as something you would like to learn which will make you feel good. If you get that sense, then it's much easier to devote each day building towards that goal step-by-step. Otherwise, passing each day can be quite painful I know.

To find your 'bigger goal', look at things around you - at work, at home. Make a list of things you think you would want people to associate your name with. Prioritize this list in terms of different criteria - in the order of what you like the most, or in the order of what's the easiest to do without disrupting your lifestyle too much. That should give some direction.