Fun fact: A simple Google search yields 1,010,000,000 results for the all-too-familiar declarative, "I don't know what to do with my life."
This is followed by an array of articles and self-help programs that all promise to do the same thing: reveal your life purpose.
Well, I call bullshit. I call bullshit on the whole.damn.thing.
Before I am defiled by internet trolls and labeled a "spoiled Millennial," allow me to explain.
Self-help programs are fantastic. I am not knocking an individual's desire to better oneself. By all means, print out, pin, or Kindle your way through whatever program you feel will take you to the next level of this fun game we call life.
Self-help programs and those who create them are not the enemy. We are. We have turned words like "passion," "purpose," and "success," into buzzwords. We make people feel less than if they aren't passionate about what they choose to do for a living. We make the mom of three, who makes a respectable living as an assistant, feel broken or worthless because she cannot confidently say that this job is her purpose in life. We don't take the time to learn that her passion is heading to the gym after work every day and setting a new personal best at the squat rack, all while her kiddos watch their mother become stronger and more confident. We belittle the single twenty-something who is so passionate about travel that he works hard at the marketing job he enjoys to be able to afford trips over the pond. We say to him, "Why don't you figure out a way to turn your passion into a profession?" We scoff at him for giving us a perfectly reasonable answer like, "Because I enjoy my job and they offer fantastic benefits."
We are so engrossed with this idea that you must have a job that reflects your "passion." We're shocked when we hear someone say they don't really have anything they're passionate about or when they say that they don't want to do the thing they're passionate about every single day.
I love CrossFit (yes, yes, hate away in the comments below). I love writing. I love my cats. I love Harry Potter. And, if the cats didn't give it away, I love wine. Do I want to own a CrossFit gym? No. Do I want to be a veterinarian? No. Do I want to be Harry Potter? Of course.
My point is: I am passionate about things. The thing I'm most passionate about? Supporting my family. I love being there for my fiancé and supporting his endeavors. It gives me the same "pooping rainbows" feeling that, I assume, some people have when they go into the office and do the thing they're "passionate" about every day. I loved being able to comfort my father and plan my stepmother's entire funeral for him when she passed away earlier this year. I want a career that allows me to support that passion; a career that gives me the freedom to bounce from city to city and to come home immediately when shit hits the fan. I'm on the road to building that career. Am I passionate about content marketing? Not really. Do I enjoy it? Sure. Do I love the freedom it gives me to do the things I love to do? Absolutely. Do I try my hardest? Of course. Have I ever missed a deadline? Nope! Don't mistake someone's choice of career for who they are as a human being and don't immediately label them as lazy, entitled, or worthless because they aren't passionate about their career.
Passion is great. Purpose is great. Success is also great. That said, I'm tired of being made to feel like where I'm at in life isn't good enough. I'm tired of attacking myself and making myself feel like I need to find a career-worthy passion or purpose. I'm over feeling "less than" because I don't have an MA or PhD. When did letters start defining us? When did job titles and buzzwords become more important than who someone is as a person? Remember, at the end of the day, we're all going to be on an equal playing field and will be, as they say, "worm food."
To those who have found a career in the field you are passionate about, that's awesome! This article is not here to attack you. Instead, it is here to remind you that empathy can go a long way. Go on with your bad selves. I'm excited to see where life takes you!
To everyone else: You are perfect just the way you are. Becoming a better person should be a never-ending task. However, being a better person doesn't always equate to finding the perfect job (you don't have to have a career in something you're passionate about). Volunteer. Go kill it at the gym. Give a homeless person your lunch. Or, if all you can do right now is muster up enough energy to brush your hair, you brush that damn hair. You won't "figure it all out," because there's nothing to "figure out." Life isn't a Sudoku puzzle. It is not stagnant. It is ever-changing. There will be days, weeks, months, even years, that will knock you down. Life isn't about the perfect job. It's about growing and learning how to stand back up every time you fall.
Photo: Brian A Jackson via Shutterstock