I often find myself thinking, ‘it’s really not fair for people to assume that an 18 year old knows what they want to do with the rest of their lives,’ but then I’m left wondering when we know for sure or if we ever know for sure. If not at 18, then when is it the correct time to ask a person, ‘so, what do you love more than anything else in this world?’
I do think that some people are meant to be teachers and others are meant to be doctors and that people like Edgar Degas were meant to paint for every day of their lives. However, I think that there are millions of people out there who have never found their true passion- either they weren’t given the opportunity to, or at some point in their lives a different career was forced upon them.
I’m lucky. I’m at an amazing college that provides me with tons of amazing opportunities and I’m doing what I really, really like to do. I paint or draw every single day, I write every day, I do yoga every day, I try to read every day, I learn new things every single day. I go to school for something that I love. Do I know that art is going to be the thing that I’m the most passionate about 10 years down the road from here? Absolutely not. But I can say without a doubt that I will always have a creative urge. It’s part of who I am. I know that I will never be able to do the same thing without fail for the rest of my life. I crave (and have always craved) the ability to expand my knowledge and to express myself in new and exciting ways.
As humans, we are always changing, always adapting, always seeking new opportunities. Maybe 10 years from now art will not be my passion. Maybe a teaching job will open up and I’ll realize that that’s what I’m meant to do with the rest of my life. Or maybe I’ll be the type of person who’s never satisfied- but not necessarily in a bad way, more in the way that I am always looking for new adventures and am terrified of being tied down.
I suppose it’s possible that we never really know what we are meant to do. Maybe there isn’t one singular job that is meant for us but instead, since we are constantly changing and evolving and growing, we are meant to take on jobs that change and evolve and grow with us.
So I guess, in conclusion, that I don’t really have an answer for my initial question of when it is finally okay to ask someone what they want to do with their lives. I think that it’s different for everyone and I think that it varies depending on what stage of life you’re at. Personally, I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to say ONE thing that I love more than anything else, but I actually think that I’m okay with that.