Take a First Step (and Don’t Freak Out)

Theatre masks

Figuring it out, a step at a time


Person A: I think I know what I want to do!

If you now have a good idea of what first steps you'll need — congratulations, you're doing it! All you need to do is keep going.  

Person B: Nope, I still have no idea.

That's fine. Seriously. There are people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond that are still playing it by ear, and sometimes that's just life. Not all of us (or even most of us) are born knowing exactly what would make us happy, and even those who think they know are often wrong.   You are not locked into one path forward, and tons of people are changing their own lives every day. Sales associates become stylists. Engineers become doctors. Teachers become small business owners. Things happen. Lives change. Priorities shift. The goals you had (or failed to have) yesterday don't have to dictate what your goals are tomorrow. Opportunities open up at unlikely times in unlikely places, and it's not only normal but expected that most people's 'plans' for their lives will change dramatically as time goes on. That's okay! What you should still do, though, is take a single first step. Get yourself moving. Don't bum around on the couch waiting for things to sort themselves out, and don't do anything that you know will take you backwards (like spending all your money on things that have nothing to do with your future). If you truly have zero idea what you want out of life, then yes, you'll have to think carefully before sinking money into any large investments (like college). But it's okay to try things out! It's okay to change course if something's not working for you, whether that be work or school or your crazy side project. Ultimately, everything can be turned to advantage, but what employers, investors, and college admissions offices always like to see are people who do things. So go pick up that part-time job. Look into the apprenticeship program your aunt suggested. Fill out a college application. Just do anything to start moving in a direction that isn't backwards, and eventually you'll figure out what, if anything, you need to change to become happier with your situation. Got something in mind? Ready to get started? Then congratulations, you're doing it!  

Frances Banta Waggoner Community Library

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