It’s Okay to Not Have Your Life Figured Out

You have probably had the following question asked more than once in your lifetime: “What are you going to do when you grow up?”

Each time it was asked you may have changed your answer or said, “I don’t know”. I know I have, especially when people look at me in dismay when I tell them my major, or my future plans. Maybe perhaps what you are pursuing does not align with the traditional idea of “success”. Most people congratulate those that are studying law or a field in STEM but look down on social sciences and humanities.

But what is success? And how is it measured?

There is no right or correct way to do things; everyone is on their own journey and only oneself can measure their own success. There is this idea that there are timeframes for different accomplishments, but in reality, there is no deadline. Everyone is on their own rightful path, and just because someone is at a certain point while you are at another does not indicate that you are a failure or are inferior because you are not where you think you should be.

A lot of pressure is built by society to achieve certain accomplishments on a deadline, with school being a major one. The expectation is that you should be done with school by a certain age, and must attend continuously without any breaks in between. This is most unfortunate, especially since different individuals have different life circumstances that may hinder their enrollment.

Students are looked down upon if they take a break or drop out, but society doesn’t look at why students make these decisions. Mental health reasons, finances, family, and academics are a few of the many reasons that students may have to take a break from their studies.  

Self-comparison is a major problem that I have deal with personally, and there are countless people who I know that struggle with comparing their lives to others, especially with the emergence of social media, and how everyone puts their best foot forward online. We see people’s accomplishments and then we doubt our own or wonder why we don’t have perfect lives like them. Just because their lives seem to be figured out and they look perfect, doesn’t mean that they have everything as put together as you may believe. We look at their accomplishments and put ourselves down because we do not match the societal timeline of success.

Sometimes I myself feel like a failure because I think that I am not doing enough, or I should have made different choices in my life. And when I see other people on social media whose lives seem perfect and have everything going great, I tend to diminish my value and the value of what I have overcome and accomplished.

Here is the thing- you are exactly where you are meant to be. You’re not meant to be like anyone else, this is you and whatever you’re doing right now is what you are meant to do. Just because you’re at a certain place in your life right now while someone else is where you want to be does not mean that you won’t reach that someday. Everything happens for a reason, and you’re going to be just fine. Trust the process, and you will achieve great things. Success will come to you, and success is measured differently for everyone, but as long as you are trying, it will surely come.