A friend just sent me this article, and it’s really great. Definitely worth a read, even if you aren’t a freshman in college anymore and didn’t go to Stanford. It’s never too late to be who you’re meant to be.
I especially relate to the section on “going with the flow,” the idea that we often choose a path because the decision is easy, even if the path is not. At a number of points in my life, I have chosen to do a specific thing (graduate school, traveling abroad, working in construction and then consulting) not because it meant my life would be the most comfortable, but because the choices were. It’s easy to go to graduate school immediately after college, and it eliminates a lot of hard decisions like where to live and what to do with your time and what to do about money. Deciding to travel was easy, too. I had friends who had gone to Europe to work on farms, and all I had to do was apply for an internship and buy some plane tickets. Not that it wasn’t an incredibly valuable experience; it was life changing. But it was an easy decision.
Deciding to quit my good office job and strike out on my own was a harder decision which opened up all sorts of previously decided variables (location, where to focus my effort, and again, money). But at the same time, it felt right throughout the process. Maybe I had already internalized some of what the author is laying out here, and maybe I’m optimistic enough to think that everything will work out no matter what I do. But it was definitely not the same kind of decision that kept me going on the common path I had already followed to grad school, traveling abroad, and working at an office. It took time and emotional processing and a lot of encouragement to make the decision. Now I am immersed in a world that works much differently than 9-5, one which demands boldness, creativity, and authenticity rather than stability, security, and risk-aversion. I’m still figuring out how to navigate it, and probably will be for the rest of my life. Suggestions are welcome!
Also, I’ve been painting a lot. Check ’em out!