This might sound like terrible advice so I better start with an explanation. I don’t mean you shouldn’t do anything and just sit at home waiting for something amazing to happen, I don’t mean don’t have goals and don’t try to reach them. What I mean is, don’t try too hard as it might slowly kill your enthusiasm and passion.
There are some people who know what they want to do since their childhood and there are others who don’t. There are some people who are talented in one thing and other people who don’t feel like they’re especially good at something. Doesn’t matter if you know or don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, the pressure from society is pretty exhausting. There are parents who make you feel like you necessarily should know what to study at 18 and how to make money at 22, there are movies filled with people who quit everything at 27, 35 or 62 and reach their dream in just a few months. And then there are friends who are incredibly good at something, which makes you feel like you’re not good enough.
I didn’t know what I want to do when I was in high school, I didn’t know what I want to be when I was getting my bachelors degree in history. I was trying so hard to define “my dreams” and to think of a hundred thousand goals I should reach.
I think it was five or six years ago. I was studying to get my masters degree in history, I loved what I was studying and I still love it. My parents kept telling me I should get a normal job and I kept being stressed out that I can’t get the job that I want (at that moment I wanted to work in a museum or archive with historical documents).
Then the New Year celebration came and I got this “fortune” thing that said: “Don’t try too hard, best things in life will happen anyway”.
The pressure from society is pretty exhausting
At that moment I decided – fuck it! I will live according to this, I’ll keep studying to get my masters degree as good as I can, I’ll try finding a job that I want and I’ll try to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, but I won’t occupy my mind with all the “I could do better”, “my brother at my age had achieved this” and “my friends have accomplished that”, because there’s simply no point.
If I am already doing the best I can, what else can I do?
Few months later I got a job at the archive of audiovisual documents – that was the job I really wanted at the time. Around a year and a half later I realized this job is not for me, so I was searching for something else. One day almost out of the blue a friend asked me – maybe you want to go to Australia and take care of a kid? Even though at first I thought it was crazy, the next day I decided to try and it worked out. When I told everybody I’m going to Australia in a couple of weeks, my friends reminded me that quite a few times in the last six months I had mentioned my dream destination -Australia.
Over the next year, I managed to live in Australia, Norway and Ireland.
When I moved back to Latvia I was 26. I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have any extra money, I had to stay with my parents and altogether I felt like a pretty big loser. And while searching for the job I forgot my “don’t try too hard” motto – for two months it was a lot of tears, a lot of anger at the world and lot of moments feeling like there’s no point even trying.
One day I got a chance to apply for a journalist job. This was the secret dream inside of me since the age of 20 or something. For some reason, I didn’t want to admit it out loud in fear of failing.
I didn’t have any experience in journalism, I didn’t have the education, I’m introvert and don’t like calling strangers, I could go on and on, and on with reasons why I thought I’ll never get the job. But I got it. As it turns out – I enjoy calling strangers when it comes to work, not having the education and experience isn’t always a bad thing, because that way you don’t follow all the traditional “rules”.
It was my dream job.
Somewhere in between trying to be a journalist and struggling with life, I met my husband and later decided to follow him to London when he got a job here. Right now I’m jobless again, not seeing too many options, but I know that as long as I will try and work for what I want, sooner or later it will happen. Sometimes I tend to forget it, but I shouldn’t worry too much because best things in life happen anyways.
Illustration by @randomactsofbrie