H O M E .      A B O U T .      C O N T A C T .      T U M B L R .      T H E   B O O K   J O U R N A L .      sailorjennie [at] gmail [dot] com

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

So, I have absolutely NO idea what I'm doing!

'I am a blank page waiting for life to start' - Sia

I've been trying to ignore a particular niggling thought and I think I've been doing a pretty good job so far - if ignoring things were a profession I'd be all over that. However I'm seemingly losing the ability I've grown so fond of... totally against my will I might add, I'd quite happily ignore it forever. But now it's becoming sort of all-consuming and that can't be healthy.

So the thing is I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing in almost every part of my life. Nope. Not a clue. I've mostly been pretending that I've got my shit together to the point of actually almost convincing myself. The problem is it's now getting to the point where I should actually have my shit together and I'm nowhere close. My degree is coming to an end and an MA is a little out of my budget right now, so I need to figure things out. But I don't even know if figuring things out is a thing that can be figured out.

Will there come a time when I know exactly what I want and that I'm making the right decisions? Does making the 'right' decision even matter, or is it the decision making process itself that offers the vital life lessons we learn from? Does it happen at a particular age? When I'm 30, or 40, or 50 will I know what I'm doing? How will I even know when things are figured out? Does it end when/if I find a career that I don't loathe? Or will there always be something that's uncertain? In reality I know that I already know the answers to these questions, that it's just not that simple. But knowing some questions don't have definitive answers is pretty scary because it means I need to find my own answers somewhere.

I'm pretty set on some things I don't want to do, but some of the things I would like to do seem wildly impossible without either taking a huge leap into the unknown, winning the lottery, or finding someone who's willing to give it a try with me. Here's a glimpse into some of the things that are currently floating around inside my head:
  • Ultimate dream: opening an independent bookstore that hosts poetry slams in the evenings and creative writing/art/homework clubs for children in the afternoons. It would also have a little cafe/bar attached with cake, a million varieties of tea and something a little stronger for night time events. Oh and maybe a gallery space too. Being realistic I know this is a dream potentially only possible in another universe. Certainly not the sleepy village I live in anyway.
  • Renovating an old caravan, turning it into a pop up shop and rolling up to various fairs throughout the year.
  • Establishing a publishing house that shares beautiful editions of wonderfully obscure work.
  • Professional bunny-sitter - I will cuddle your bunnies when you're on holiday, at work, or away on business.
  • Carve out some kind of writing career. No idea what, or how, or if I'd even ever be good enough but you know, it's good to dream.

I don't know, I suppose I'm just a little...overwhelmed? I mean, in theory I could do anything I can think of - obviously minus the things I'll never be qualified to do (be an astronaut) and the things that I'm just not good at (singing!). I've held the belief that everyone is destined to do something great in their lives for as long as I can remember. I don't think it's the scale of greatness that matters, it's the act of greatness itself that does. So it could be anything from raising babies to be wonderful adults, to writing a novel whose story stays with someone throughout their entire life, to standing up for something so passionately that goes on to make a positive difference to society.

The niggling thoughts aren't so much about wanting to achieve something huge, or because I'm in my mid-twenties so I should have done this or that by now. Neither is it because someone else holds a certain expectation of what they think I should do, or because other people are out achieving amazing things right now whilst I'm sat here in a penguin onesie eating a plate of custard creams! I've never been hugely ambitious and honestly I don't really mind what anyone thinks of what I'm doing or how I choose to move forwards. It's more the 'I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing' thing. Equally though I think it's completely okay to feel this way because in a world where almost anything is possible, how does one even begin to decide what to focus on? Some options seem infinitely easier than others, but very often the things that take more effort, love, and perseverance are the ones that are more than worth the time.

So much has changed over the last twelve months; floral dresses have disappeared from my wardrobe, bold lipsticks have drifted towards the back of the drawers, I'm generally more secure in my own mind, and I have completely fallen head over heels in love with books again - it's not just a crush, it's a forever kind of commitment - I've taken the unbreakable vow if you will. Maybe I'll need this next year to find my way on to the path that I'm supposed to find. The one that will show me what I should do with my time now, and that will lead me on to the things I'm supposed to do in the future.

I guess the running theme here is that I have absolutely no idea.
And maybe that's the point. No one said this was easy, right?

- xo

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  1. I feel you, Jennie! I'm 24 turning 25 in a couple of month (eek) - 4 years after graduation, I still have no idea what I'm doing with my life. I wish there's something or someone who would guide~ me as to where I should really be, but well - obviously, impossible. I envy those who know what they want to do. They make everything seem so easy.

    Hang in there, we'll figure it out some time! <3

  2. I have just posted something very similar I guess things like this happen to all of us. Feel free to take a look at what I wrote at www.thenortherngirl94.blogspot.co.uk hope you figure everything out soon.

    Lucy xx

  3. I did just type a comment but not convinced it went through - if not, it was along the lines of:

    Totally get it, I know exactly how you feel. I don't think anyone ever really has their shit together, some people are just better at pretending they have than others. Chin up, missy xxx

  4. I connect with this so much! thanks for putting out there xx

  5. This is such a well-written post, I think it is totally normal sometimes to question where life is going and what you'll do next, especially as this turning point in your life when you're about to finish your degree. It might seem scary and daunting but, you'll figure it out, it might not be right now, or in the next few months, but at some point you will. It is good to have dreams and goals as it gives you something to aim for, even if you don't manage to achieve them all, just going through that process reminds us of what we enjoy and what is important to us. Your dreams aren't unachievable, you can totally make them happen (it won't necessarily be easy) xx

    Ioanna | www.hearting.co.uk

  6. The bookstore dream sounds amazing! Please do that, I'd love to visit haha! I like posts like this, I always look at bloggers like these amazingly organised people that have a completely set path in life so it's really comforting to know that people haven't got it all figured out yet and people have their own pace in choosing their life path :)

  7. I've spent a huge proportion of my life feeling as though I was waiting for it to begin. I think you have to figure out what makes you happy and start there. The rest will follow. I don't do what I was planning to do, nor what I studied at Uni, but I'm making my own path and who's to say if it's right or wrong. Just, don't sit and wait for it to come to you or you could end up letting all of the dreams pass you by. x

  8. If I can give any advice as a somewhat 'older' person and that's try out the things that seem a little more radical, out there etc now. I lived with my parents until I was 30 so had no bills or outgoings etc and wish I'd taken advantage of that to explore the slightly less secure paths etc. Blogging was different back then and I was obviously in a different place but I imagine what I could've achieved from that place of security if I'd focussed on the blog etc.

    I pretty much left college and went into a job I loved and had a real career path I wanted... unfortunately I met a boy, went for a job that had more money so we could afford a mortgage and went down a career path that wasn't for me... missed out the opportunities of the other job and the relationship ended anyway (without a mortgage!).

    That said everything happens for a reason and I have no regrets and found myself in a job which I enjoy if not necessarily the dream career and of course on the flip side of doing things when you're younger when you reach a certain age and without children, committments etc there's almost the second chance to try new things!

    Hope that wasn't too much of a ramble!!

    V x


  9. Can I just stress how nice it is to know it's not just ME who thinks like this! I am in year 3 of my computer science degree - I am in fact on my placement as I type this yet I don't even think this is the career for me, I mean I like it, I'm reasonably good at it, great oppurtunities and fantastic pay but I just can't imagine me doing this for the rest of my life. I genuinely do NOT know what I want to 'be'. It's such a horrible feeling when all my friends love their jobs or have just graduated, or for the rest of my friends in my subject they are now in final year after skipping placement. :-( It felt so lovely though to know your in the same-ish boat.


  10. I am totally with you on this. I am on my final year of uni and I found I want so much in life that I'm trying to fit in a single year before I have to 'grow up'. My problem is I have sonly many things I want to go out and do but sadly don't have the means to do it. So instead I think about the things I can control in my life - the small things and split them up within the year while collecting the resources needed to do the big things.

    Thank for sharing you really got me thinking

  11. Your dream bookshop sounds amazing <3
    Seriously, though, I don't think anyone really knows what they're doing - I know I'm just making it up as I go along and hoping for the best! It'll all work out okay in the end :)

    Jess xo

  12. You're definitely not the only person that feels this way, you just have to go with your gut and take every opportunity you get and see what happens. It can feel awful if you are a control freak like me but worrying about it doesn't do much either and it's always good to dream.

    Katy xx

  13. If you ever open an independent bookstore, please hire me xx

  14. Life is just overwhelming and I don't think age has anything to do with it either, as I'm still feeling lost in life! Let's all just be lost together x

    Quite Frankly She Said - UK Lifestyle Blog

  15. I'm in a similar situation to you and feeling very much the same way. I'd love to do an MSc but I just don't have the funds to do it right now. I'm considering taking a year out after my BSc to work full-time, hopefully something related to my degree but if not then anything will do. I think a year out will help me to see what I really want to do. I'm sure that we will both work out where we are meant to be in life, but it might take some time.

  16. Oh I feel and understand you Jennie! Myself have
    so many things that I want to do, to make dreams
    come true and some of them cost money
    unfortunate. I'm graduated this year and the
    education itself is not really part of my dream as
    it's more a security/back up plan for the future.

    So it's great to hear about your ultimate dream!
    A bookstore + cafe sounds define c:
    But never let go of that dream! Myself am doing
    baby steps in achieving my own dreams but also
    taking a break of it because focusing on something
    else can be a relief and maybe even inspiring as

  17. I think you'd make a wonderful writer (well, you already are really!) so if you wanted to pursue that I can see you enjoying it greatly and being successful. Try not to overthink things too much! I think if you can be happy in what you do then that's the main thing :)

  18. This has become a daily panic for me recently, so it's really comforting to know it's not just me! I come from a family where everyone has a profession, a very traditional one at that, and then there's me - a bookish and very frustrated administrator with dreams of owning a bookshop (very similar to yours! Partnership, maybe?). I know things will become clear one day, it's just holding out for it. Good luck finding your path, I truly believe the perfect future is there for everyone even if it takes a little hard work and a lot of patience to find it x

  19. great post jennie, you're definitely a talented writer. whilst you feel lost, maybe take a moment to feel proud of the successful blog you've built? i also find uncertainty difficult to deal with, i just try my best to embrace the unknown as exciting.


  20. I can definitely see how this can be stressful and daunting BUT what is stopping you from doing those things on your list? If you don't try, you'll never know - and I'm pretty sure you won't regret trying but you would definitely regret not trying! Taking a leap into the unknown but the best thing I've ever heard was 'life begins at the end of your comfort zone'. I did that this summer, and it was the best decision I ever made xx

  21. Hey Jennie! You should not cross your dreams off your to do list that fast. I always think I'd never launch my business unless I'd win the lottery, that it was impossible, that I couldn't do it etc... Yet I made it. It's not always easy but it's so interesting. And I have done so many things I thought I could never do.
    I'm sure your bookstore idea is doable. There are funding possibilities (crowdfunding etc), there are lots of things that can be done... You should join some entrepreneur networking to get advice. DO NOT GIVE UP xxx

  22. This will sound really strange, but this post made me so, so happy! I'm going through something really similar at the moment and only yesterday was I able to admit it to one of my friends, because I'm in such denial. Everyone around me seems to have everything sorted out and I'm just feeling stuck, not knowing what I want to do with my life and how I want to spend this year off Uni.
    Reading this was like seeing my thoughts on the screen, making it a reality and something I should work on.
    Thank you! xx

  23. I made basically this exact post last week but far less articulate - so I definitely get this feeling! Maybe no one really knows until they eventually fall into the thing that feels right.

    Nicola // pink-confetti.co.uk

  24. I'm in your boat too SailorJenny! I know what I'd love to do but the motivation and time to do it isn't happening! Maybe someday :) xx

  25. In a way it's comforting to know somebody else feels the same way that I do, in a way it's not as I just wish we knew where we we're heading and what we wanted and how to get it if that makes sense. I'm heading back into education in just less than a weeks time of which it took me ages to finally decide what I wanted to do. I already have a degree but have chosen to take a career change into law, I'm so bloomin scared you would not believe yet at times I think we just have to make these decisions and go for them.

    We won't know if they're the right ones until perhaps three or four years down the line, it's a risk we take. It could either be an amazing one or simply one we learn from.

    Amy x | A Little Boat Sailing

  26. Oh Jennie, I don't think anyone know what they're doing with their life and the ones that appear like they do are lying :P rest assured you're not alone feeling lost. I totally feel that way at the moment post-Uni in my first 'proper grown up job' and questioning whether this is actually gonna be my career path for the rest of my life.
    I will say, however, I would totally be willing to join you on the dream to open an independent bookstore/coffee shop/general cool hangout for bookworms like us! Xx

  27. Hey, it's ok! I have no idea what I want to be or do yet either. I have ideas floating around in my head, but I need a path towards it and I don't know which one to take! A lot of my close friends already know what they're doing or heading down the right path and I'm just... here. So you're not alone in this at all! <3

    xx becky // star violet

  28. I'm gradually learning that people normally don't have a clue what they're doing but somehow manage to 'go with the flow' and pursue opportunities that crop up. Even from glancing over the comments this seems to be the case.

    I've just finished my MA and honestly have no idea what i'm doing. I know what i want to do but feel like many of those things have slipped through my fingers somehow or another. My heart is set on doing a PhD and becoming a scholar but unfortunately although i got an unconditional offer to do one, there's no way i would ever be able to do it without a scholarship. To make things a bit more complicated i'm also moving to Australia in a few months as my partner is Australian and he needs to go back to start working again after having a hiatus over here in the UK whilst i finished my MA. I'm bloody terrified i won't find anything that i want to do over there job-wise (even the thought of full-time job hunting in the UK let alone abroad makes me feel anxious and nauseous!). Even if i do find a job the visa i'd be on only allows me 6 months with 1 employer until i get a partner visa. I've just got my fingers crossed that taking this leap of faith and leaving everything behind will work out somehow.

    Your little cafe and bookshop plan sounds so dreamy! I can really imagine you running somewhere like that! I think your writing is great- perhaps if you haven't already, dabble in trying to get a little freelance work or perhaps try get something published. I'm going to try and get some of my Master's essays and dissertation chapters published online to give me a little exposure and writing experience on my CV. Or perhaps you could try and get a tutor or proof reading role for others who are studying the same degree you have done to give you that extra bit of confidence in your writing abilities. Whatever you do i know you'll be successful!

    Lizzy at Nomad Notebook

  29. I'm not generally good with the commenting, but I feel exactly the same way at the moment. My degree is coming to an end this time next year and while I have certain dreams (some not unlike yours!) I'm not sure if I'm good enough to actually pursue them.
    Reading all the other comments I assume everyone feels this way at some point though! I think with all the choices we're given nowadays it's just difficult to see your way through... Perhaps Loki's plan wasn't such a bad one after all... :D

  30. Love this post! AndI don't know if it'll make You feel better: I'm in my late 20s (really late) and I still have no clue what I'm doing. I work but my job is not what I want from life and if someone asks me what I want I just say I don't know, which is not exactly true but if I told them what I want they'd probably burst out laughing! I love Your full time bunnny sitter idea. I went through the stage of wanting to be full time cat minder but didn't really work out :)

  31. Jennie I love your blog and I think you're doing an amazing job so far.
    When I left University I traved for a year hoping that would allow me to decide what I wanted to do with my future, 5 years later I still have no idea!
    I turned 28 today, I figured I would know what I should be doing by now and I still don't. I wouldn't worry about it too much as there are many people in the same boat as you, but from my experience (because I didn't do this) is to just go for your dreams, if it doesn't work out or you don't enjoy it you can always try something else. I read something today which said 'Winners are just losers who gave it one more go', just don't give up before you start (my biggest failure is that I am too scared of failure that I never start).
    Best of luck, Jess x

  32. Most people don't really know what they are doing; most of us are just winging it whether we admit it or not. I worked in a rubbish retail job for ages.. I hate it.. but it gave me the time and money to set up my business, which I literally did not have a clue would end up becoming my full time job.

    Life works itself out.

  33. I could have written a lot of this post myself a few years ago, even now really. I think there is always a lot of unknown. I went through uni feeling like I knew where I was heading and what I was doing, but then when I got out into the big wide world I felt lost and didn't know what I wanted to do. I felt like I could do anything, but what did I want to do? Not a clue. I knew what I didn't want to do and I definitely did not want a boring job that I would have to go to every day for the rest of my life. I had lots of big ideas and ideals, but a lot of them when I thought about them in reality weren't as good as they were made out to be. I had lots of ideas in my head of things I'd like to do or be, a writer, a publisher, an interior designer, a photographer, a scientist, but I ended up temping, I didn't want to be stuck in a job I hated. I eventually found a job I enjoyed (working with kids) and sometimes you just have to take a plunge into the unknown and something that you may love. The unknown will eventually become known and then a lot less scary. This year I have started teacher training too, totally terrifying, but I'm hoping I will have a job I love.

    If you ever open that bookshop or pop up shop, let me know...

  34. Jennie you should just do all those things? I don't know if I misunderstood and those are the things you're doing next or if you mean those are ideas that you would like to do but aren't. I reckon the only things you'd need some more time to do is owning stuff - i.e. a van or a space. But you could easily run book nights, poetry slams, creative writing clubs, take books to festivals, look after bunnies, forge a writing career, start a publishing company etc etc. All that stuff is so easy and you'd be totally great at it; you've got an absolutely huge audience already so that's at least 50% of the battle won which losers like me have to deal with. Let me know if you need a hand X

  35. this is such a great post, as so many can relate. you def aren't alone in feeling this way. i always wondered will i know what i want to do as each year passes and i'm still figuring it out. i think my dreams of being in a 'career' i want so unlikely, i don't have the stand out talent :( woe is me! anyhow it's reading this post that makes me think it will all come together eventually, just have that hope! :) i think you could do anything u want to, as cheesy as it sounds. you are amazing at writing and it's clearly something you should pursue. it finding that opportunity for you. i hope it happens for you :)


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