Why Being Insecure About Your Future Is Okay

Nobody knows what the future holds, and if they do, they’re certainly not telling. From consulting my battered Magic 8 ball as a kid to shouting anguished questions at the sky, I’ve had my moments when it comes to being uncertain about what the future holds. I always thought that I would become either a doctor or a lawyer. Both my parents are lawyers, my aunts and uncles are lawyers, I’d been to courts growing up, and I had a mouth on me and loved to read. It seemed like a perfect fit. 

Even becoming a doctor didn’t seem so far-fetched. Plenty of my relatives are doctors, and I’d done pretty decently in Biology and actually enjoyed it. I was the kid at family gatherings that grandaunts would look at and say, "She’s going to be a doctor when she grows up." Except that I’m not. ​

I’m not going to be a doctor or a lawyer, in fact. I’d had this whole perfect life planned out to a T in my head. I was going to go to university in England, get my law/medical degree, work a job that I loved and would pay well, get married and have a bunch of children, and live happily ever after. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would end up majoring in English and Psychology in a college in America, not even thinking about going to law or med school. I don’t want to get married at 25 anymore and I’m uncertain if I want to have more than two children. 

I’d always been indecisive but if anyone had told me an accurate description of my future, I would have almost definitely laughed in their faces. America? Me? I’ve never even visited. Twelve year old me would have remarked, “What can you do with an English degree? Everyone knows that you can only be a teacher.”

The point is, people change and plans change, mostly for the better. Usually what we think we want as children is so very often what other people have told us is good and acceptable and right. Most children think they want to be doctors, my roommate said, because they want to heal the world. That’s a noble pursuit of course, but not everyone heals the same way. 

Journalists heal the world by drawing attention to issues so they can be addressed and teachers help the world by molding the young minds of our future and so on. Not everyone has to stick to a script, and being without a concrete plan tends to leave people feeling exposed, surprised, and, at times, insecure. I was insecure and uncertain when a cousin of mine asked me, rather pointedly at a family gathering, about what I wanted to do in the future. 

I remember wanting to cry. I remember being at a complete loss for words. What was I going to do with an English degree? Teach? Cry and watch sitcoms all day? Pine for my long lost Romeo and write him sonnets? 

I still don’t completely know what I want to do, but from what I do know, it’s going to be a hell of a ride (in a great way). And I’m here for it. 

 

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