Where Do You See Yourself In…

I don’t know what I’m doing.

Ever have those days where you feel like nothing will ever change? That you’re stuck in the same place, the same day, forever? And you’ll just live that day, over and over again?

I do. Happened yesterday.

I guess I’ve been fighting off the urge to cry ever since dinner. You may find that lame, but I don’t really care.

How do people know what they want to be when they grow up? Because I fit the definition of a “grown up” and I still have no clue.

You know how hard it is going to family events, or even just the dentist, and when they ask you about yourself, you reluctantly mention that you have a blog and they expect you to say how you plan to turn it into a career as a writer, or something in the media, but all you can say is, “Yeah, I don’t know if I want to do that exactly.”

It’s not that hard. You get used to it.

I don’t like this feeling. I don’t like this “stuck” feeling that no one told me about.

Life always seemed to follow a pattern: you go to school, you go to more school, you graduate, you get a job, and all the knowledge you didn’t have when you were a kid, miraculously appears in your brain. And off you go.

Hahahahahaha. Ha.

No one told me what to do when I don’t know what to do.

For the last five years, I feel like I’ve been chasing my tail, trying to recreate the past and see if it still applies to the future. It doesn’t.

I have no clue what I want to do with my life because I never put any thought into it. Even when I decided to go to university, there was no clear goal for me. I just figured that I’d have it figured out by the end of the four years.

I didn’t.

I still don’t.

I like sports. I think I’m creative. I’m the best writer I know. See, at least all the confidence isn’t gone.

Based on those three things, you’d expect me to be in marketing or advertising, or a sport journalist. Heck, even one of those witty social media people for a sports team.

Nope. Not interested.

Sorry if I’m sounding pessimistic.

So where does that leave me? In a dark room, writing blog posts in the middle of the night, hoping this will eventually turn into a motivational story one day. I’ll settle for a funny story.

I just don’t know.

As a kid, I always had teachers say I had a good head on my shoulders. I didn’t even know what that meant. What made my head “good”.

One teacher told my mom that they wish their kids turn out like me. Ah, so that’s what it means.

High praise, right?

Maybe I peaked too soon.

“You can be anything you want.” Yeah, well I don’t even know that.

Perhaps I should’ve been a bigger fan of Halloween. I hated choosing a costume. I was the “Scream” for two years and didn’t even know there was a movie called Scream. It was just an easy thing to wear.

I’ve tried to go back through my life and figure out how my other classmates grew up knowing what they want to do, and I didn’t.

In grade 7, we each had to give a 3-5 minute speech in class. The teacher called on someone to go first. They weren’t ready. He called on the next person. They weren’t ready.

By the time he called on the 4th person to go, everyone had realized all they had to say was “I’m not ready” and they’d be given a free pass for another day.

I was the 7th or 8th person that was called, everyone ahead of me “wasn’t ready”. So what did I do? I stood up and went to the front of the class and gave my speech on “A Day in the Life of a Toronto Maple Leaf.”

I was ready.

I think of moments like that and wonder where that level of certainty in me has gone.

Maybe it was easier to be certain back then because I didn’t really have to do anything except what I was told to do.

Now that I have the freedom to choose, I have no clue.

I present a funny persona online because it feels good. My default setting is to make a joke. It makes me feel like I’m sure of something. And I like knowing that people laughed at something I said. It creates a circle of happiness, I think.

Also, I can’t bring myself to write something boring. There has to be a flare to it, even if it’s just one sentence that’s off kilter.

I’m feeling better, so I’m going to end this.

I know all the clichés. I know not to compare myself to others. I know that good things happen when you least expect it. I know that everyone moves at their own pace. I know.

But that doesn’t make the clock tick any slower.

It just makes it tick louder and louder.

Thanks for listening. Regularly scheduled programming will return shortly.

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63 Responses to Where Do You See Yourself In…

  1. leegschrift says:

    Follow where you go, it’s not in a hurry that we have to live. When you haven’t a clue, just stay outside and sport to get in a good condition. Don’t worry, don’t be happy, what you need is just your drive. Follow your car.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tanushka says:

    Really liked this!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hira says:

    I feel funny persona online because it feels good….Ditto!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ilah says:

    Ah, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think this was based off of things someone saw while looking into my brain. Thank you for posting something so relatable! Usually, I would try my hand at a comforting tone, but I really don’t have much to say that you haven’t already mentioned here. But well, at least you know you’re not the only one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I know you’re going through an internal struggle right now, Paul – but try not to stress out about it. I’m not sure this feeling of uncertainty really ever goes away? I’m pretty sure I’m older than you (random details in your posts to make a basic guess?) so with those extra years of wisdom and life experience, I can say *without a doubt* the feeling kind of just sticks. Yesterday I had one of those days too – maybe this is what February in Toronto is like? Everyone has a personal crisis? Is this how Torontonians deal with the end of a long winter? Anyways, I started questioning *everything* in my life (it was kind of spurred by an email I got). But, like you said, it’ll pass. Plus all those other cliches about it getting better and just when you’re not expecting it and all that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. kedawithani says:

    ❤ you just summed up the way Ive been feeling for a long time now😔

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I listened to an interesting interview recently with Pema Chodron, the Buddhist nun. She said we are always trying to get out of feeling discomforts, dissatisfactions, etc., and that we need to see that they are just part of life, instead of feeling as if something is wrong when we feel confused, uncertain, angry, etc.
    But those things don’t feel good. No sirree. So what do we do when we feel them?
    Her advice was “compassionate abiding.” If you’re interested in hearing the podcast, search for her + that + Oprah and I think you’ll find it.
    I’ve been at my wit’s end with certain feelings and conditions lately, and nothing I’ve done seems to help me get “unstuck” there. So I intend to give her compassionate abiding a try.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lee Dunn says:

    Well, you’ve certainly brought good feelings to others here, I’m sure. That’s worth more than its weight in gold, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Laura says:

    Yup. And yup again.
    Boy, do I hate it when people ask my kids what they want to be when they grow up. The hairdresser asked my 11-year-old this question last week and it was all I could do to keep from screaming. Luckily my kid doesn’t have a problem saying “I don’t know.”

    As annoying as it feels, you know when you know. And that might not happen in college or for years to come afterward. Sometimes the people who know just THINK they know, then years later they realize what they really want to do and wonder why they didn’t know before. I don’t know. Most of me thinks you live the life you’re supposed to, and then you live something different when you’re moved to.

    I had this sort of existential breakthrough a few years back. I was all torn up, wondering what was my calling, what was I supposed to bring to the world, how was I supposed to use my talents for good. Then one day I read something & it hit me like a ton of bricks: what if my life, *as it is*, is enough? That *I’m* enough. Just as I am.
    It works for me.

    Thanks for today’s post, Paul. It’s a really good one.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      I’ve never figured out why people are so interested in what others are doing, or plan on doing in the future. It just seems like a ridiculous conversation topic.

      I’ve always been a “I’ll know when I know” person, so it’s refreshing to hear you say that. Thanks you for sharing that wisdom at the bottom of your comment. Maybe I should stop putting so much pressure on myself and start thinking that what I’m doing is enough, and it’s good as it is.

      Thanks for this, Laura!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. benleander says:

    I know EXACTLY how you feel. Hell I even wrote a blog post just like this a couple of years ago. Life sometimes seems pre-planned: School, uni, job, whatever… But for some months I feel like I lost a little bit of orientation. I don’t really have a solution for that. However, I started enjoying living in the flow… Doing whatever I feel like… Finding what I like and what I want. It’s okay not to have everything together. There’s no need to rush through life as there’s no end goal.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      This is some good advice, thank you! You’re right, there is no end goal in life. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who’s felt this way. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • benleander says:

        *I meant that I’ve written a post (‘Running towards Death’) some months ago, NOT years XD*

        In this post I tried to process the feeling that I’ somewhat ‘behind’ in life until I realized that it’s literally impossible to be behind. Everyone has their own pace and the only goal is to be happy. Then I started enjoying the process of finding something a lot more 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Becky Turner says:

    As I’ve written about before, I have no clue what I want to do. And I still don’t. I don’t know if it’s because my communication degrees allow me to do a lot and I feel overwhelmed by what possibilities there are. Like if you have a teaching degree, you basically teach. But with a communication degree, I can practically go do anything. It seemed like a good idea at the time in college, and it’s really the only thing I’m good at, so I don’t regret my decision but there’s too many choices and I sometimes have trouble making decisions.

    So don’t feel bad. There are so many people who feel the same way you do. Sometimes it just takes time and dumb luck. Keep up your writing and don’t get discouraged!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Yeah sometimes I wish I didn’t have such a broad degree, and it was something focussed on getting a specific job. Like you said about teaching…I know a lot of people who became teachers and ever since day 1 of university, that’s what the knew they’d end up doing. The rest of us were just guessing and hoping something would be waiting at the end, I suppose.

      I think you’re right, it will take some dumb luck. Thanks for the kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. peckapalooza says:

    Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Miriam says:

    Hey Paul, I just want to say that I used to feel just like you. So many years of just going with the flow and not really knowing what I wanted to do. And I’m much older than you!!! You’ll know when things click, when you wake up and suddenly things don’t seem hard any more, when suddenly you find joy in the smallest of things and look around and see things with different eyes. Keep writing too, you’re good, it’s great therapy and who knows, maybe it’ll take you to some far flung exotic country where you’ll completely find yourself! Good luck! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Chichi says:

    Man, I feel you.
    I’m not an adult yet (not even close, lol) but just let the universe play itself out.

    You’ll do amazing things, Paul! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Jad says:

    It was really nice to read another side of you, I somehow feel like a peeping tom, like I took a sneaky peek at you when you were not looking.
    I hope you get it worked out eventually, but ya know what!! Who really cares if you don’t know what to do yet as long as you are doing stuff while you are waiting to see if you can find out what you want to do!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. sportsattitudes says:

    Paul, I can identify with these thoughts and feelings. I think there are a lot of folks out there sharing the same mindset right this moment…or have felt this way previously. You’re right about the clichés – they don’t completely drown out or slow down “that clock.” Waiting is often the hardest thing we humans have to do. But as you point out, wait with confidence. That, I believe, makes all the difference.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Ariel Lynn says:

    You’re allowed to be serious in your blog. While, I’m sure I can speak for everyone, we love your humor, we know you’re a real person. Life isn’t always perfect. Showing us that aspect of your life makes you more “real.”

    As to the meat of your post, I think it’s much easier to be sure of yourself when you’re a child. The decisions we make as kids have little to no impact on us beyond a few weeks, maybe even a month.

    As an adult, however, we’re expected to make big decisions. People expect us to make them casually, & the impact they have can affect us for a few years, maybe even a few decades. That knowledge puts a lot of pressure on us to make the “right” choice. To know how it’ll affect us for the rest of our lives & be OK with that information.

    It can be paralyzing, knowing that you need to know exactly how your life will go & what you want to do for the entirety of it.

    Honestly? It’s all B.S. You can do something for a year, or five, then go back to school & change the trajectory of your future. You don’t need to know what one thing you want to do – just know what you enjoy & stay happy. Making money to sustain yourself is good too, even if it’s not your first choice job. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I don’t even know how to reply to this comment, I was just nodding my head in agreement with everything you said lol

      Thank you for sharing such wisdom!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ariel Lynn says:

        I made the great & powerful Poz (erm, I mean Paul) speechless? * victory dance *

        Seriously though – I’m in a very similar situation (a common refrain, reading the comments) & it’s scary as heck. Best thing to keep my mind at bay? Looking & moving forward. I can’t change who I was, what I did, or how I acted back then, but I can work on what I see were my strengths & weaknesses.

        Also, as an older (but not wiser, nor more mature, obviously) person I can tell you that “faking it until you make it” actually does work. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Little Rants says:

    I feel the exact same way sometimes too. “I have no clue what I want to do with my life because I never put any thought into it.” I know how that feels.
    Always here for you fam.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh man I love this post! So I went from studying art, business, archeology, astronomy, psychology, choreography and thought I wanted to be an RN. My job now in comparison to my what I thought I wanted out of life is what makes me truly happy. Honestly! I know alot of people look down on my line of work but in the last seven months I have been in it I’ve gone from holding one title to holding multiple. Im good at what I do and it shows in my work ethics/performance. I started in this business because it fit my school schedule I could work and go to school. Eventually I left it to be a full time student but the things I was studying never made me happy it was starting to feel more like a burden than success. The one place I have been truly happy is where Im at now. I hope that you find what your looking for Paul, perhaps its teaching creative writing? Your awesome at it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thanks for the comment! Yeah, I’m starting to realize a lot of people taking different paths to find what they truly want to do/what makes them happy and that what they went to school for, isn’t always what they wanted in the end. Glad to hear things are working out for you!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Ely says:

    Aw Paul! You are NOT ALONE! I’m 32 and I still don’t know what I’m doing or what I want to be. So I juggle my passions with my “day job” with hopes that I’ll soon wake up just KNOWING what I’m REALLY supposed to be doing. In the meantime at least for me, its about putting food on the table and keeping the family happy. They shouldn’t suffer over my internal struggles and that’s why, I just keep pushing myself so HARD because something has GOT to give soon. I’m exhausted. I know how you feel. Seriously. I do. I’ve been there several times. And I’ll leave you with one cliche: this too shall pass. For what it’s worth, you bring so much life to the blogging world and to writing overall. You really are an exemplary writer and you’re very respected and appreciated. FEEL GOOD ABOUT THAT and just keep doing what you do! All will reveal itself with due time!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Jiyaraobreeze 🌷 says:

    Your blogs never fail to make me smile & laugh. You are talented Paul, and I understand what you’re going through. We change in more ways than can be visible to the naked eye. That isn’t to say that we are stuck in the same place, mentally were probably growing bigger castles in the sky. I think a lot of life is based on social status and it’s an endless journey that chains you to give and take. Life isn’t always about giving, it’s much more than that. And perhaps what we were trying to figure out is within us and were overthinking what needs to be done. 🙂
    I don’t know if any of this makes sense as it’s late here now.
    “There is no race to relevance here, nothing to live up to, and no ladders to climb — just a gentle shift from one day to another, and a train or two to catch to the next destination. Breathing room, and space to explore myself.”

    Liked by 1 person

  22. m4gical says:

    I really liked this post, I feel like I could relate a lot to it. I think I’ve just accepted the fact that I’ll never know what I want to do. I remember at school EVERYONE would ask what I wanted to be when I was older and it got to the point where I got fed up with saying I don’t know and just ended up saying I don’t care as long as I’m happy – which wasn’t a lie.
    I asked my friends at Uni how did they know what they wanted to study/go on to do and their reply was that they just had an interest in the class. I never had any interest in a class or topic. I always did bare minimum to get me through. Wasn’t really sure where I was going with this comment but I’m sure something will come to us in time!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Angela says:

    SNAP!!!! 13 years chasing my tail! sometimes I’m cool with it, sometimes it scares me that I have no..direction!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Dutch Lion says:

    Paul, you’re a good kid. You’re a good guy. I can tell from the way you write and from the way we converse. You’ll be fine. I understand everything you wrote though, because I have gone through it and am still going through it, in a way, my whole life.

    As you know, we’re very, very similar people. I’m just older than you. What are you, 26? I’m 43. What I’m excited about is that I finally found something I love, besides sports. It’s writing! I have no idea where it will lead but I’m excited about it. I’m sure on other days you feel this same sensation.

    I know you’ll do well, because I’ve read enough of your stuff to know. You remind me of several writers that I read such as Chris Erskine from the L.A. Times for example. You’d be a great free lancer, newspaper journalist, etc. Or you could write a book. It could be a compilation of all your thoughts and stories.

    Whatever it is, you’ll be successful. So don’t worry buddy.

    But I get it. I understand. You know what’s really really ironic? I had a really horrible day on Feb 28 when you posted this, but I finally got around to reading it now. We all have bad days. Strikes and gutters.

    Godbless buddy.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Sarah Warsi says:

    Paul, I can totally relate! I’ve had those days as well where I wonder what my purpose is and what I’m doing with my life. We’ve all been there, trust me. You are not alone. I actually wrote a similar post on this last year (https://sarahwarsi.com/2017/09/06/reflect-reminisce-but-dont-regret/). I was having one of those moments of feeling sorry for myself and wondering what might’ve been, and then just as quickly, I snapped out of that and realized that everything happens for a reason and that where we are in life and how we got to that point is how it was meant to happen. It’s okay to feel down about things for a moment, because we are all human, but it is equally important to pick ourselves up just as fast, let the light of positivity touch us and boost our motivation and confidence and keep on trekking forward. You are an awesome person and whatever clarity you are seeking will come to you in due time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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