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.


6 thoughts on “14/31

  1. So is 19 old enough? Interesting that you chose 18…cough, cough. I love your reflections, Larkin. I do think it’s fair to say that you will always be doing something creative, and I don’t think you’re going to stay terrified of being tied down–if you really are now!

  2. Does it ever really hurt to inquire: “What do you want to do?” or “What do you love?” Keep asking questions. Keep seeking answers and holding them up for periodic inspection. Fail and learn. Succeed and celebrate. Reflect and change in some areas, preserve in others. I’m okay with those things for starters, and I’m grateful you shared your thoughts.

  3. I certainly didn’t know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life when I was 18, or 21, or 40. Really, I was well into my 60s when I realized I was doing exactly what I wanted to do — and I’d been doing it for more than 30 years at that point. I started college saying I was a drama major, switched to philosophy, political science, settled on history. But, like you, I’ve always written. And you are definitely right that you may not know what it is you are meant to do until you’ve been doing it for many years and loved it. I think your open mind will keep you alive to your own possiblities, whatever they turn out to be. Enjoy your journey.

  4. I read once that a human being has absolutely no way of knowing how or who she will be in 10 years. Maybe that’s why our decade birthdays are so significant to us. Who knows what we will want in 10 years? Isn’t it exciting that we get to find out?

  5. Great question, but no definitive answer is possible for every person. As you keep thinking, your thinking will evolve, and who knows what will be the outcome. Exploring the possibilities is the fun part of living. Keep having that kind of fun. 🙂

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