A Guide to Figuring Out the Rest of Your Life… (Aimee)
Hello to you, my lovely reader pals! An official welcome to *trumpets and fanfare* Year 2!! (The second series; the sequel, as it were!)
Let’s plunge straight into today’s topic: life decisions!!
During Year 12, I had this whacky but rather wonderful Lit teacher. I remember, during SAC prep, a well-meaning boy with awful study habits came up to her and said, “Miss, can you give me some priorities?” I think he meant ‘study’ priorities. However, my teacher, in her usual eccentric way, replied: “Priorities… right! Pass your exams, go to uni, get a job, get married, have some kids and then you’re done!” This week, I’m hoping to give you some advice on the same subject. (Though, I’m not going to tell you what to do with your love-life… Frankly, my explaining powers don’t extend to the unexplainable!)
From what I can tell, life is like that Coles-Myer gift-card which you unexpectedly get for Christmas. It’s a pretty neat present. The problem is: it has a ridiculously short expiration period, when there are so many things you could spend it on! Quite often, you leave it in your wallet until the last minute, whereupon you ask yourself, “Well, what on Earth am I supposed to do with this!?”
Being a pre-crastinator (if there is such a word!!) I had my mid-life crisis twenty years early and was, for a while, downright confused about what to do with my existence. A lot of people kept mystically repeating, “Follow your passions!” (Makes you want to break out in song, doesn’t it?) I don’t know about you, but this advice never helped me one bit! What do you MEAN follow my passions!? I have lots of passions! One of them is organic low-fat cocoa and hazelnut butter! Should I therefore devote my life to it?!?
Instead, I did the whole life-decision thing more scientifically. I picked a career which sounded vaguely interesting – speech pathology. I did some work experience. Then, I did a summer course and got a job – as a carer/speech-worker with autistic kids. By Day 2, my nerves were being mightily tested! I had to take non-verbal clients to the bathroom, prevent road accidents AND deal with all sorts of bizarrely unthinkable complications on the way. On one exceptionally hot day, a client and I were sitting by a fountain. Next to us, a homeless man was happily swimming in his birthday-suit, having left his clothes on the footpath. Before I had time to react, up jumped my client! He grabbed the poor man’s shoes and, with great joie-de-vivre, chucked them in the water. This is one of those situations that doesn’t (but really should!) come with an instruction manual. (I’ll spare you the details of me bending over sideways to fish out the shoes…)
What I learnt from this experience (apart from that Nike runners are extremely buoyant!) is that you rarely begin your chosen career with a passion. After all, how can you be passionate about something you’ve never done before? At the end of the day, passion comes from the knowledge that you’ve accomplished something which other people couldn’t/wouldn’t dare to attempt.
Here then, is my nugget of advice for the week: DON’T just follow your passions. Try things. If you can’t try yourself, talk to someone who already has.