I hear it all the time from people who are just entering their quarter life crisis. (Trust me, that doesn’t exclude me) Sidebar: A quarter life crisis if you don’t know, is kind of like a mid life crisis but with a lot less money and a lot more music festivals. What I hear is, When am I going to find what I LOVE doing. Am I going to be stuck in this 9-5 forever? Or: What’s my passion? Why haven’t I found it? I think we’ve come to a fundamental breakdown on this entire discussion; and the breakdown exists because of our language. The language we use regarding a topic dictates how we feel, or think we are supposed to feel, about it. So here’s how we’re feeling. We’ve cultivated this mysterious, magical notion that you’re supposed to find your THING. This elusive THING is what you LOVE to do and what OUGHT to be doing for a living rather than soul-sucking your way to the top of the corporate food chain. (My THING apparently is excessive use of caps lock). So here’s some sage advice from someone who isn’t in any position to be giving it but is going to anyway.
- Over the course of your lifetime you’ll have many THINGS. Things ranging from creating baroque oil paintings, obsessively making spread sheets and taking nifty photos all the way to collecting your favourite strippers underwear. Having many things will help you to realize what isn’t your thing. That’s also super helpful. Do not judge oneself for what thy ‘thing’ is, and just enjoy that you have multiple, ever-evolving things.
- Now, some of these THINGS you may be able to cultivate a living from (like spreadsheets, who doesn’t love someone who lives and dies by spreadsheets?!) and some you probably won’t be able to. (Keep those underwear for later, weirdo) The good news is, that’s ok. Every single thing you enjoy doing isn’t meant to be turned into a capitalist enterprise. Do you know why? Because often when we start doing what we love as a hobby, for a living, it becomes a drag, and something we HAVE to do instead of something we WANT to do. There is much to be said for keeping your main passion, a passion.
- Even IF you’re one of the lucky few to finally have found your THING and even luckier to have been in a position to earn a living from it, you’re still going to have days where you fucking resent and despise your job. It’s still a JOB. You still have to get our of your warm ass bed every morning (or night, I don’t know what you do) to go and work and make sure shit gets done on time. Which is often an adjustment from your regular routine of doing it when the “mood strikes”. Take writing for example, when I feel I have a pressing deadline, I easily fall into the trap of producing something for the sake of producing it, rather than fleshing it out, sitting with it and deciding if it’s right for different eyes. When I don’t have the luxury of pondering and wondering for days on end, I sometimes cut corners and publish just to publish.
- Should you start doing your ‘thing’ for a living and you’re shitting rainbows one day when the next day you’re contemplating the best way to light everything on fire, know that you’re not destined to do one thing for the rest of your life. You’ll evolve as a person, or at least we hope. You’ll probably evolve through jobs, passions and people. It’s easy to immediately think you’re trapped when you find yourself in some kind of situation or job, but rest easy knowing that people have started over much older and in much more disadvantaged ways.
So here’s the moral of the story. You never really find your ‘thing’. You just do stuff, different stuff, different hobbies and passions. You’ll eventually get to a point in your life where you will cherish all the different experiences and creations you’ve made over your lifetime. All of these experiences amount to who you are and what you call a life and as long as that life of yours is what you wanted it to be – OVERALL – it’s just fine if you never find your ‘thing’.