Modern society dictates how we should live our lives, bombarding us with rules we should be abiding by. We have unnecessary high pressure living up to today’s so-called life expectations. Every Tom, Dick and Harry will know that life isn’t a linear path. Everyone will hit a bump on the road at some point in their life, whether it’s love, career, at a low point, a high point, or life in general. For me, I was overwhelmed by one’s life. So you can say, yes, I feel lost in life and I’m OK with that.
I remember wanting to be an artist and to work in the art industry since primary school. It was my love, my passion, thus excelled in every art subject throughout my pre-university years. Graphic design was the route I was going to pursue. Having Asian parents had meant I couldn’t go through with it at university. So instead, graduated with a Computer Science degree. The total opposite right? I can tell you straight up, I hated those 3 years. I was miserable, dropping out wasn’t an option and was only completing it for my parent’s sake. That was the first time I had felt lost nor had any aspirations for anything.
What was I going to do with a degree I didn’t want in the first place? Parents wanted me to complete a Master’s degree right after graduation in either in CS or something useful they approve of e.g. business. Hated both options. My potential new academic year was also the same year the tuition fees had increased to £9k. Rather than wasting money on another degree I didn’t want, I had told a little white lie to get out of it. It worked so job hunting it was.
Fast forward to getting a job in tech. I knew that I had wanted a new job after 2.5 years at one company but didn’t know what exactly. I was stumped for quite some time then thought, “Fuck it, I’ll move to China”. A bold move yes, but it was something I had wanted to do for ages. After a year in the making, 2017 was the year I actually turned a goal into a reality.
“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”Henry David Thoreau
“To get lost is to learn the way”African Proverb
It’s OK and you shouldn’t be ashamed of it. Taking time away to find yourself is OK. I used to feel embarrassed to say I needed to get away to find myself, to find what I really wanted. The responses I’ve had were all positive and encouraging, some had even shared their own experiences. I believe hearing stories in person has a different effect as compared to reading them online, quite possibly due to being able to hear and see emotions that go into it. Having someone who can relate to you creates a personal connection, giving you hope and reminds you you’re not alone. Acceptance is key. Remember, it’s clearly OK to feel lost in life.
Every circumstance we encounter is designed to teach us a lesson whether we originally wanted it to cross our paths or not. Those lessons will help steer our journey in all directions, down small trails. We must not take it to heart if it means having to go back to the previous step but rather a tale to tell us there’s an alternative way. It won’t be obvious at the start, however, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
We’re trying to impress others who completely have different values than ours, reaching their expectations doing meaningless tasks. Yet we’re too busy, blind and oblivious to see this.
Life giving you a taste of the truth serum can be gut-wrenching for some however it’ll open your eyes to the reality. Less wish wash, more clarity. With a clear mind and sight, you’ll know what the issue is, what is missing and will have a wider range of options to look into, henceforth knowing what steps to take next. Sometimes, all we need is to step back, see the truth, and have a clear mind in order to accept and proceed further. You’ll realise you truly have more control over your own life than you think.
If I feel lost in life, I have a void waiting to be filled. I have found that being in a new environment will temporarily fill this void. Temporality can differ from a few days to even a few years. This is the time for self-love and self-care, something I really needed. In order to do this, you start by listening to yourself. Let me reiterate this, you must listen to yourself. It’s the top and only requirement. Don’t listen to those voices inside your head or the figures resting on your shoulders giving you advice on both extremes. You don’t need them to steer you to seek other’s constant approval. Embrace freedom and what it can offer to help you grow.
We as individuals change, our ideals change, our ambitions change. As long as we continue to strive to keep at it and do our best, there’s nothing better we could ask for right? Two steps forward, one step back is far greater than one step forward, two steps back.
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