I spent a good twenty and a half years having zero (zilch, nada) clue about what job I wanted to pursue in the future. It’s a very normal, yet terrifying, dilemma for any young person who’s about to go into their third year of university. When I was younger, I remember wanting to become an artist, then a fashion designer, then a journalist, then a detective. But nothing was sticking. I was terrified that I was going to finish Uni having no concrete plans for my future and end up stuck in a job that I couldn’t give a monkey’s about. Growing up around people who seemed to know they were destined to be a doctor or a lawyer since they first left their mum’s wombs left me questioning, WHY COULDN’T I BE LIKE THEM?
*Warning, soppy story inbound*
During a sunny day in April, I was relaxing in my garden when I noticed something flittering around the window in my garage. A gorgeous peacock butterfly had somehow got stuck inside, getting caught up in decades-old cobwebs and empty jam jars. For some reason, something about that trapped butterfly stirred up something inside me. I knew that if I didn’t help it, it would die in there. At the time I thought that butterflies only lived for two weeks, so what was the point in me saving it if it was just going to die as soon as I released it? But no, I’m a sensitive soul, and I made it my ultimate goal to rescue that butterfly.
Armed with a jam jar and a piece of paper, I spent a good fifteen minutes desperately trying to coax the butterfly towards me. Despite its furious fluttering, I eventually caught it, slid the paper under, and brought it outside. And then I released it. It shot off over the trees, and I was left feeling immensely satisfied with myself. I’m not going to lie; I got a bit emotional actually. It sounds weird, like I’m overreacting maybe, but I realised that I hadn’t felt so satisfied and proud of myself in months. And I knew I’d felt like that in the past too. I didn’t feel like this after handing an essay in or getting a good mark back. I was coming to realise that those things actually meant nothing to me. What actually made me happy was reaching out to someone who was struggling and doing everything in my power to help them.
You might be wondering what the point of this stupid little story is. It sounds weird to say that it took rescuing a helpless butterfly to set me on the career path of my dreams, but it really did. And no, I don’t want to be a professional butterfly rescuer. I want study psychotherapy, become a therapist, and help as many people as I can. I’ve never had such a clear idea of what I want to do with my life. And I (kind of) owe it all to that little peacock butterfly. Basically, the point I’m trying to make is you really never know when that epiphany is going to happen. It’s so hard not to panic when you reach that point where everyone around you seems to have some kind of idea as to what they want to do, and you’re just floundering around like a fish out of water. But your butterfly-rescue-mission-moment could come at any time. Whatever your THING is, that thing that makes you more proud of yourself than anything else, that’s what’s going to set you off on the career of your dreams.
Told you it was going to be soppy story, didn’t I? A little soppiness never hurt anyone though.
P.S. By the way, peacock butterflies actually live up to 11 months! Yay!
Words By: Hannah Martin
Edited By: Dasha Pitts-Yushchenko