Exploration Gets You to Knowing What You Want

The notion of having to have one job for a long time bothers me.
And what upsets me further is the expectation that at 31, I need to figure already what I want to do with my career FOR LIFE if not it appears to be that I am “way behind”, “confused” or “not knowing what I want to do with your life” to others. My parents get into a shock when I tell them at 31; I still wish to try and explore something new for my work.

For me, I enjoy doing many things. I like writing, reading, dressing up, playing the piano, singing, dancing, yoga…etc. Whenever I start something new, I am excited like a kid that has gotten her new toy, I can see all the right features and benefits of my new found hobby, and my enthusiasm is so convincing. It is until like perhaps a year down the road that I realised I never really have the interest to stay in it for the rest of my life?

My family and friends have gone through with me my various bouts of enthusiasm from the beginning until the end where I found reasons to justify why I am moving on. Hobbies, careers, relationships. I used to beat myself up and compare myself to friends who seem to have one hobby that they stick to for a long time, and in fact, they get better over the years. People who have careers that are going in successive progression and friends in long relationships, marriages and eventually kids.

Me: Single, unsure of my next career progression, still deciding between calligraphy or flower arrangement classes to take?

I read self-help books that mentioned about finding passion, have the discipline to follow things through, yadda yada…that led me to feel that I can not give up on learning a particular skill. I have to keep at it; I have to stick to it, I have to be committed all the way till the end. The “find something and stick to it” concept made me all the more nervous, feeling that if I have not yet figure out something to choose to stick to for the rest of my life, something is wrong with me. Coupled with the comparisons to my peers has led me to develop some negative believe in myself that I have unconsciously been carrying it with me for the last few years.

Some of the negative beliefs that I had were:
I will never be able to find something that I enjoy for the rest of my life.
I am a fickle minded indecisive whore.
I have commitment issues.
I am getting older.
I am running out of time.
I should not try new things anymore.
I have to stay until the end of learning something even if I don’t like it anymore.
I am a let down to all the people around me.

and the list goes on.

Honestly, was it really to prove to myself or for others?

The consistency that I have in my life is the change of interest. Does it make sense? The main consistencies that I noticed I do is the continuous change in interest that I picked up, and I ask myself, is there anything wrong with this?

(Surely I am not schizo and am forever changing choices am I? I don’t think so.)

The reason that I have many interests is that I like to try new things, I love to try it enough to get the hang of it, I never really want to do it to become a master of it. I enjoy exploration and similarly like tasting the toppings that cover the first layer of ice cream without having to finish the entire ice cream.

( My mind drifts off to times that I scraped off strawberries & cookie crumbs toppings and never really finishing the cakes that I have ) AND SO WHAT?

Recently the growing discontentment that I feel at work made me sit myself down to contemplate about how in the world could I have been switching positions in and out like me changing hobbies in and out AND still not figured out what I wanted? So I started looking out for the consistencies in my life in which it will give me an inkling of my commitment level. I noticed that I do have a set of routines that I adhere to on a daily basis and the difference for me is that I enjoy varieties within a structured life.

For example, I disciplined myself to workout for 4–5 times 30 minutes each time, once a week. I have in place systems that ensure I get a good sleep so that I wake up in time for my workouts. That is my commitment. AND I enjoy variety within my workouts. My 30minutes can be yoga, HITTS, just running, dancing or circuits.

The other system that I have recently incorporated is to discipline myself the habit to write consistently. I have set myself a goal to write three articles a week. So this is my structure, but my content has a variety. Some days I write about self-development, sometimes poetry, sometimes abstract, sometimes reflections. I like this versatility. I dislike having a rule book; a formulated “5 ways to have a successful life” kind of instruction that well-intended family & friends try to bring across.

Honestly, don’t take anyone else’s bullshit on how you should live your life.

Understanding this aspect of myself has helped me a lot in challenging the beliefs that I have. Continuous exploration and trying of various things led me closer and more apparent to knowing what I want. If you haven’t found one activity or interest, job or even relationship, please don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t believe every “How should you live your life” manual. I feel it is entirely okay to need to explore and figure out, to take time to understand these things. Try different things, change up your routines and plans. Sometimes it is in the trying that you chance upon something that you will enjoy in a long time to come. Because I paid too much attention to the crowd’s choice, I started adopting their belief system of myself which turns out to be untrue. I am what I think and decide I am. Some people have it figured out early while others are like unpolished diamonds, it takes some time to dig through the dirt before they realised their potential.


So, quit the justification to others who just don’t get it. If something is not working for you or you haven’t found a meaning that you genuinely connect with, then continue to explore. Live your own life the way you decide how you want it to be. And while living with your choices, go in wholly and enjoy it. When the exploration is complete, acknowledge the enjoyable experience and move on. Do not feel obliged to stay in a job that has no growth, in a relationship that is not working, or an interest that you are no longer excited; it is ok to switch plans and choices.

And as I continue to explore and allow myself to figure out things at my own pace without the pressure to answer to others, I have figured out the things I do know for sure now:

I am committed to living a passionate life.
I enjoy an environment that provides continuous growth and exploration.
I appreciate reading and writing.
I only go for dark chocolates.

Follow me on Instagram: Maybelline Tan

Story maker discovering my voice • Reflective musings • Dreamer • Life Coach • INSTAGRAM: @thatwildnotebook

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