Think back to your early preschool or elementary days. There were times where everyone would sit in a circle and the teacher would ask, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
This activity was repeated often, and oft times kids answers would change. But do you remember that one kid who never changed their answer?
I remember a girl who said she wanted to be a ballerina when she grew up. She was already taking lessons after school and had all the spinney Barbie dolls at the time. We both stayed in the same school district, and I had the chance to watch her grow up through elementary, middle and high school. 15 years later, that little girl is dancing for Alvin Ailey's American Dance Theatre. That little girl became a professional ballerina, and she always knew that would be her destiny.
How the hell do people do that? I'm almost envious of the person who knows what they want to dedicate their entire life to. We've watched our peers grow, their interests change, budding in and out of phases and obsessions. However there were always a few who stuck to their first love or hobby they've chosen. A great lot of us, especially myself, usually suck at that knowing that. My dreams have morphed into completely different things over time. At all the critical points in my life when I needed to make a major decision about my path, I usually met my options with uncertainty.
My crossroads were always a roundabout. Meaning, I've always spread myself so thin between everything I like, that I've given myself too many paths to take when I really need to focus on one. True, people are multi-talented and multi-faceted. However, we need to give a lot of time and energy to one or few things if we really want to call something our "craft" or "specialty."
It is said that in order to become an expert at something, you must spend at least 10,000 hours on it. Practicing, reading, experiencing...10,000 hours = real expertise on a subject or hobby. There are 8,760 hours in a year, meaning you would have to practice for a year and a few months straight through without breaks or sleep in order to achieve that level. Now of course, you would physically die if you tried that, but you get the idea.
None of us are getting any younger. At some point in life, there has to be a form of stability. Even if your livelihood depends on partying every weekend and making appearances at clubs, "Event Promoter" is the title on the card you give out. That's what you specialize in. Sometimes, it can be incredibly hard trying to figure out who we are or what we can do that makes us money AND happiness. What do we do when we're left confused in the middle of a roundabout? In a car, we might just choose a random direction and pull over to check the GPS. Other times, we might endlessly circle the roundabout thus leading to a self induced panic attack. If you already knew where you were going, you would have been guided through this quite easily. But too late for that now. You've already invested in projects, you've already changed your major four times. You're here, deep in the middle with traffic getting antsy.
I finally decided to pick a direction in life. A direction that holds many risks. I'm starting to focus more on my writing and modeling. Both of these are not instant money makers, and its driving a wedge between my desires and my responsibilities. However I reached a point where I had so many projects halfway started, and it's time to start building.
I picked this direction because it is the one thing (eh 2) that have been consistent wants in my life. I've loved writing for as long as I can remember, and the only thing that has changed is the type of writing I would technically build on. I had a story phase, a poem phase, a fanfiction phase, but I always love creating images with words. Modeling has the same base: I've always loved clothes, art created with bodies, and exploring cool concepts with photography. I'm hoping I'm smart enough to turn both of these things into revenue that supports me, but as a 20-something it's PRIME time for me to take risks instead of just wondering "what if" in the next 60 years.
Try this if you're stuck in a round about: What was one of your first destinations you set out for? Or where have you wanted to go for the longest time? Is it singing? Art? Robotics? As we grow, it's easy to forget the locations of dreams we've had along the way. What do you think is worth revisiting?