"But I've always wanted to be lawyer since I was 13!"
You hear it all the time. People feel like they have to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives when they're young. If you don't have any idea what you want to do, then you're just "wasting time". So decide "as soon as possible" they tell us. That way we can plan for you.
This common thought seems benevolent at first, right? It seems positive and supportive of someone's choice to do what they want. But really, it's a ploy for someone to fix their own insecurities. It's not about you.
It's about their lack of faith and trust in you, and wanting the ability to brag to other people about how their child is going to be X, and here's what we're doing to support him/her.
We've been tricked into thinking we need to solve this ultimatum at a young age.
Why does anyone think that a person at the age of 13 has any idea of who they are or what their interests are? They just barely popped out of the womb. You think they understand themselves so well that they can choose a career at 13?
Do you really think that you should trust your 13-year-old uninformed self with your entire future?
At that age, you haven't even been able to see any of the world yet. The only world you know is the one your parents set up for you.
I've experienced 100 times more new things, people, and ideas from 18-21 than I have in all of the years before that. If you're in a situation right now, where you don't know if you should keep doing what you're doing, then you need to ask yourself this: do I trust my naive 13-year-old self more, or my more educated present self more?
That may help with evaluating where you are and what will make you happy.
People are just going to need to learn how to deal with uncertainty. They will always want to be "in the know", but you can't promise that for them. It'll make them uncomfortable to not know what your life path will be, but that's how it's got to be. People are always going to want to put you on some "predicted way". But some of the happiest parts in my life are when I deviated from my "predicted way".
It may be the same for you too.
All of this talk may seem like I don't think long-term.
I'm actually a big fan of long-term planning. It's just that my long-term plans are never calculated over a year.
Everything is figureoutable.
There's nothing wrong with not knowing what you want to "do". The world we live in has a lot more flexibility than the world our parents used to live in. Just don't do stuff you don't like. I'm learning to trust that I'll figure out the best way for myself, even if I don't know it yet.
The world is always changing, so it makes me more comfortable to know that I can adapt to whatever my current gut feelings are at the time.
If you're going to make choices about your future: don't. People change and they change fast. The person you may be after one year may be completely different than the person you are now.
Do some benefits/consequences analysis, but make choices as close to the present as you can. You make the best decisions in the present moment where you have the most knowledge.
In my eyes, being confident with no plan is a lot more advantageous than having a plan and not being confident.
I'll talk more about the ways that I built up my belief that I could figure things out on Tuesday!