Thought I knew what I wanted to be

You know how when you were a kid, and you thought you knew what you were going be when you grew up? That was me then. And then, there’s the me now. Unemployed and not exactly sure what she wants to do.

A long long time ago, I thought knew what I wanted to be. Autograph books were so popular back in elementary school, and they always had that space where they ask you what you want to be when you grew up. For a time, I thought I wanted to be a businesswoman. To all my childhood classmates and friends whose autograph books I signed, my page will probably show evidence of that dream having been real. Businesswoman sounded like such a classy dream, especially for someone who didn’t exactly know what that meant or entailed. For many years, I thought I wanted to be a businesswoman. And here in the Philippines, if you were Chinese-Filipino, being a businessperson was usually (and more often than not) an option when deciding what to do.

And then I grew a little older, and I didn’t want to be a businesswoman anymore. I wanted to be a journalist, I wanted to write. Once in class, one of my teachers asked the class if they already knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. I distinctly remember this was in 6th grade, and maybe less than half the class raised their hands, I was one of them.  I remember having a classmate who raised her hand without fear or doubt, the teacher called her and she told us she wanted to be a lawyer. I’m still good friends with that girl right now, though I’m not entirely sure if the path she’s on will still lead her to becoming a lawyer, or if that is still her dream.

A few years later, I changed my mind again. No longer did I want to be a journalist, I wanted to be a writer or a diplomat working in some foreign embassy. I thought I had it all planned out when I graduated from university; work for ABS-CBN or some newspaper/magazine/publishing house, get my work written, eventually get recognized, yadda yadda. Then I would maybe take the Foreign Service Exam and try to get into working in an embassy abroad. Doesn’t sound that confusing, at least it’s a dream with a laid-out plan.

Four years of university and one year of Mandarin (in China) later, I am now stuck in a rut. Back in Manila and job-hunting, with no real goal or desire in mind. Honestly, I don’t know what to do. It’s funny how things turn out the way they do. Sometimes, those who are so sure of what they want in their childhood, inevitably discover that those dreams that they built weren’t the dreams they wanted after all. And those who didn’t really know what they wanted, found it somewhere along the way.  There’s a quote or a saying that can be compared to that, something about not finding what you want when you go looking for it, and finding things when you least expect them. Something like that.

I’m turning 23 this year and I still have no idea what I want to be, or what I want to do with the rest of my life. All the ideas or dreams I have or thought I wanted, just seem so idiotic when trying to think about how practical it all really is. Haha. Life is so hilarious, and surprising, really. To the kid me, if you could see me now, I wonder how disappointed you would be. The worst part is knowing what your best skill is, and what you love doing, but wondering if it’s enough to compete with in comparison to other people who think their best skill is the same as yours. Is it all really good enough?


7 comments on “Thought I knew what I wanted to be

  1. what *is* your best skill?

    Consider: say you know your best skill. What is something that uses that skill, no matter how vague it is?

    What gives you that satisfaction deep down after accomplishing it? Say me; I realized later on that I get my kicks from creating something out of nothing. Which kinda explains my two choices in UPCAT – Creative Writing and Computer Science

    23 is still young; but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ruminate on such things. The answer will hit you eventually. To be safe though, make sure the journey to finding that answer is enjoyable in itself 😀

    • Thanks for the advice Arc.

      I know the answer will hit me eventually, but there’s just so much pressure from people, forcing me to pick something even if I’m not ready. It’s not like I’m the only one whose resting and not seriously looking for work. I’m annoyed that someone is forcing me to rush to find work, telling me it’s bad and the like, but my friend hasn’t done any work since she graduated last October, and her parents are’t rushing her. >.> Why do I have to rush? It’s not like I didn’t spend a year in China, studying.

      I’m just so frustrated. Apologies. It’s not that I’m not doing anything, it’s just that I’m not rushing into anything.

      • Just one thing: don’t use your friend (or other people, for that matter) as a counter-example to sort-of justify your unemployment or lack of drive to find work. You’re your own person.

        OnT in bullet points:

        – we are never ready for anything. NEVER. No matter what preparation we do, life will throw us so much curve balls just because. If you think you can do it or you’re qualified for the task, get on with it. I guess you know what Yoda said about this yes?

        – at times, half-assed efforts really don’t count and people see it that way. Maybe that’s your case; you may be doing something but the people around you see that as just a token effort. Are your efforts there just so you can say you’re doing something? Only you can answer that.

        – yes, being a bum for so long is bad intellectually. People get rusty and they forget things. True, there are skills that come back but the time needed for them to come back might be too long.

        Do you have answers already to the questions I posted before?

      • First sentence, noted. I guess what annoys me is that I don’t want to compare myself to other people, but I get annoyed when adults compare me to other people, with the wrong reasons or justifications.

        Wow, all the tips are in bullet-point. I’m lucky that even when I’m confused about what I want to do and all that, people like you are willing to give me advice without judging me. It’s amazing how strangers can at times make me feel better than people whom I know. Now, as to some of your questions, I kind of have answers to them. I have answers but there are times that I doubt them. Like, as to my best skill, I guess to some extent that would be writing, and expressing what I know through text. But part of me wonders if my skills are enough. I know that there will always be someone out there better than me, but I have this partial fear of not wanting to disappoint anyone because of my incompetence.

        I probably need more confidence in myself. And I need to NOT FEAR failure. *sigh*

  2. Actually, I have my opinions already. I’m just holding back because 1)opinions are well, opinions, not fact 2) it’s neither the time nor place for me to air them. Oh and trust me on this one: you never really know anyone, even yourself. Never.

    OnT: Try this approach: where do you see yourself idk, five years from now? Married? With kids? Richer by at least a million bucks? Try to balance realism and your dreams. Five years from now is far enough that you can still set grandiose-enough plans in motion but near enough that you won’t lose sight of yourself. Try making a five-year plan starting from the goals then working your way back to today.

    What do you really want in life? Drop a line (if you want to, you know where) if you don’t want to discuss it here.

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