Friday, June 7, 2013

What's Your Plan?

Now that I’m thirtysomething (and old and wise, obviously), I field a lot of questions from twentysomethings who are trying to Figure It All Out. As a group, they ask one question more than any other: How do I figure out what I want to do with my life?

Usually, this question isn’t born of reflection or contemplation. No, it’s tinged with panic, or articulated in an all caps, I’m-doing-this-all-wrong email. These women think they’re doing something wrong because they don’t already have a clear path marked out for the next decade. 

My answer is always the same: Of course you don’t. Nobody does when they’re 22. (Okay, that’s not entirely true. Some people really do know exactly what they want to do with their lives on the day they graduate college, or even sooner. We call them “fast starters,” and they’re outliers.) 

When you’re 21 (or 24, or 29) you may not know what you want to do with your life. That’s not cause for panic. That makes you normal. 
Looking back on my twenties, I wish I’d known I wasn’t supposed to have it all figured out when I graduated from college and launched into adulthood.

I was ready to get married at 21, but I had no clue about so many other parts of my life. I hadn’t yet learned to develop good boundaries. I didn’t have a clue about my work. I thought I was supposed to have it all figured out by then. 
I was wrong. And I wish I’d known it
The twentysomething years aren’t the time for executing the perfect life plan; they’re for figuring out what that might look like.  These years are for learning about who you are, who you love, what kind of work you want to explore. 
Progress in these areas isn’t steady. It’s not supposed to be. 

So you’re twentysomething and you don’t know what you want to do with the rest of your life? That’s just fine. Do some exploring. Gather some data. Say your prayers. 

And trust that you’re right where you’re supposed to be. 

For further reading (and watching):

Why 30 is Not the New 20 (a TED talk by Meg Jay)

What do you wish you’d known when you were 21?

Anne Bogel loves strong coffee, long books, and big ideas. She puts a timely spin on timeless women’s issues at her blog Modern Mrs Darcy.

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  1. I'm 34 and I still ask myself these questions :) Although, my 30s have definitely calmed the panic and spazziness that usually accompanied the questions and searching in my 20s. Well, most days ;)

  2. I meet with several college girls, and feel like I am constantly telling them this. God will lead you where he wants you to be. And most often those twentysomethings with the perfect plan find out that God's plan is a little different than theirs. Amen! I wish I would have relaxed a little about all of that too!!

  3. I just got married, and turned 29. I thought I would have it all figured out too. Yet, things have changed and I find myself back in my room as a 17 year old writing a letter to my non christian parents telling them I want to be in youth ministry and that i would be going to bible school and that I hoped they would approve. They did, I did and that has been the path I have been on before and ever since. So then comes today, as a married woman, i freak out and think... what do i want to do with my life, like getting married has some how altered my path. It has in many ways, but I am still trying to figure that all out. Pray for me


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