Do not understand me wrong, I do not want to complain about the amount of choices we have (a luxury) and how overwhelming that can be sometimes. I’m immensely greatful for the freedom I have. It’s wonderful that we have the possibility to chase our dreams. But because it is possible, it is often also expected. And that’s why I wrote an ode to ‘not knowing’.
Everyone around me seems to be finding their way, in both big and/or small dreams. A nice job, big travels, living together, to study something extra, entrepreneurship, etc. There is a lot of diversity in the kind of dreams there are, but everyone has one thing in common (or so it seems): they are moving forward.
And me? This year, I came to the realisation that I don’t know what I want to do anymore. My whole life I thought that I knew what I wanted, but right now I am completely lost. I don’t know what my next step will be, at all. This realisation hit me hard. Here I am, standing still, in a fast moving mass, passing me by. It is scary to see others in movement when you yourself aren’t.
Because there are so many possibilities, it is expected that we make use of it. There is no time to stand still because you have to move forward. All the time. Life is so fast these days. You have to grow, grow, grow. Or that is how it feels. People say you shouldn’t compare, but if I look around and see how much people of my age have accomplished, it frightens me. I’m the same age and here I am, lost in life, while they are moving forward.
ODE AAN HET NIET WETEN
As frightening as it was to realize that I don’t know what to do anymore. It was more important to realize that it is okay. Even though it took me a while to actually be okay with it. Someone told me: “You have to accept the not knowing. Give yourself the right to take time to stand still.” It is still very difficult, because I want to go forward so badly and I want to know what I want, so that I can move on.
Even though the fear gets to me sometimes – because I’m afraid that I’m missing chances and opportunities – it also creates some kind of freedom. I became unhappy because of the obsessive search for a goal in my life. By pushing myself to find my ‘why‘, I slowly started disliking everything, even the things I had always loved. It was necessary to let things go.
At the moment I’m open for everything and I’m seeing what comes to me. I try to listen to my body and my gut and try to do the things I really want to do. I say no to what I don’t like, even though I might miss out on something. By stopping to push myself over my own limits in order to reach something – as not to miss any opportunities – I started to rediscover what I like to do. And it is so nice to let myself of the hook. It made me realize that in the past years, I have done a lot of things I didn’t like, only because it might be a good opportunity for something.
“I DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW YET”
And no, at the moment I do not know what I want to do next year. There are ideas, ofcourse, and plans even. But right now I’m still waiting and I leave my options open. I don’t have to choose right away. I don’t have to know everything. And I’m proud of myself, because I dare to face this emptiness, this not knowing, even though it is scary and hard to do. For outsiders it might look as if I’m not moving forward. However, I’m working very hard, at myself and that is always a priority.
There are a lot of people who do not know what they want, but who do not dare to admit it to themselves. I rather take the time to stand still now – at this relatively young age – to think about what I want in life. Than to wake up in ten years and realize that I’m unhappy and still do not know what I want. It will never be easy to confront myself. But wherever you are in life, take the time to think about what it is you really want. And if you don’t know? Realize that it’s okay. And you are not alone. Give yourself the time to find out what you do want.
I chose to face my demons because I know that if I ignore them now – which would be easier to do – I’ll face the same problems in a couple of years. You can not run away from yourself. I’m not there yet – it has only just begun – but I have to believe that the answer will come to me. And right now I’m facing this struggle. And I’ll see what will happen.
I have thought a long time about posting this because it’s so personal. This whole process is still new and scary for me, so it’s definitely hard to share this with the world. I still do not know if this is the right choice. However, it was such a relief for me, to discover that it is allright not to know, that I wanted to share this with others in the same situation. And I sincerely hope that my openness can mean something for others, in these times full of big dreams and expectations.