I often ask myself, “What am I going to do with my life?” It’s the question that I’ve been struggling with from the moment I got my first job. I worked at a children’s clothing store at the time. With only two weeks into working there, I knew I was going to hate this place. Let’s start with the fact that I didn’t like kids. I was never the person who lost their mind whenever a woman walked in with a baby. I was considered strange in that way. The workplace itself was like something out of a bad teen TV show. The store manager was bipolar to the extreme. One minute she’d be prancing around singing then she’d be slamming her hand on the counter and threatening customers’ kids through gritted teeth. If I wasn’t spending my shift with her, I was with the other manager who would use her authority to bully me, sometimes giving me instructions to purposely get customers mad at me. Whenever I questioned myself as to why I ever showed up to that hell hole, I would say it’s because I had to do something for money. That answer didn’t justify for long, as I had put my two weeks in after two months.
I decided to ask myself a different question. “What can I do that will make me happy?” I observed the world around me. There were people out there who, while being themselves and having control of their own lives, were still able to make a living. “Make a living doing what you love,” became my new goal. I came to the conclusion that going to college would be the right path for me. Having to sit through several hours of lecturing a day was a lot for my goldfish attention span to handle. Somehow I made it through. I got a degree in Engineering. I always loved making things as a kid. To me, Engineering meant I could use my creativity, along with my knowledge and research, to design or problem solve. I thought this degree was the key to unlocking my destined path. But after walking across the stage, I had nothing to show for it except a piece of paper.
“Well, what is it that you want to do?” It was a question that was thrown at me each time I opened yet another rejection letter for a job I applied for. I applied for jobs endlessly. I figured, if I could just get a job from whatever company doing whatever, I’d be happy. I did a few small gigs and temporary jobs to get by. I felt like I was floating by with no purpose. I realized that I had no set goals, no ambition. I needed to dig deeper. I thought about the important lifestyle aspects that I wanted. I wanted to be able to be myself. I didn’t want to wake up every morning and throw on a pantsuit. I didn’t want to sit at a desk all day as someone barked orders at me. I wanted to be in control of how I spend my time. I wanted to be in control of my own life.
If I wanted things to be different, I need to try something different. It was time to look at things in another perspective. I stopped anxiously waiting for big companies to give me the time of day. I thought to myself, what could little old me do? What am I capable of as myself right now? What could I do to help someone? To help the world?