Friday, May 16, 2014

choosing your path

For the majority of my life, I've been traveling along a pretty regular path. It's been good to me. That's not to say it hasn't been uphill and difficult at times, but I haven't really had to make huge life decisions about deviating from the straight and narrow. At some early age I decided I wanted to be an architect (seriously, I think I was 10 or 11), so from then on I walked the path towards that goal. Going to Auburn seemed like a decent way to get there, so I didn't apply anywhere else. After graduation, people go out and get jobs, so that's what I did. (Some people might see it as a big decision to move to New York City, but I took the first job I was offered and there was no where else I would have rather been.) After a few years of working, you're supposed to get licensed. It's responsible to get licensed. It's what people who want to be Architects do. I studied a lot, took a bunch of tests, and got my stamp. 

So now, here I am. My clearly defined path has petered out and in it's place are countless forks in the road.

We've had some big events happening at my office recently. Everything is good but change is on the horizon. With the upheaval, people tell me "You should ask for a raise...You should angle yourself to get XYZ...You should have a bigger role with yadda yadda yadda." And most disturbingly, I've been asked "What do you want to do?" What do I WANT? What an insane question. I haven't the foggiest idea.

I've been so consumed with following THE PATH that I hadn't bothered to think of what happens after my arbitrary goal was reached. What kind of work do I want to do? Should I change firms? Do I eventually want to work for myself? Do I abandon architecture completely and do something different? (Probably not, but it's a possible fork in the road.) And beyond professionally, what do I want the rest of my life to look like? How long should I stay in New York? If I leave, where do I go? Do I get married and have 2.5 kids? What kind of work/family balance do I aim for? The questions have always been there but they always seemed distant and terrifying because there is no one to tell me what I should do. 

I know everyone struggles with these choices, so I'm not preaching anything new. I'm also not complaining about the task at hand. I'm incredibly grateful and lucky to be able to set lofty goals and have to opportunity to work towards them. I have the support of my boyfriend, family, and friends no matter what I do and the comfort in knowing it will all be fine in the end. Now, I've just got sit down with a glass of wine and do some soul searching. The path ahead looks uncertain and bumpy, filled with doubt and worry and screw ups and no clear end in sight, but it's going to be okay. It's all about the journey, right?

[image via the fantastic Death to the Stock Photo]


  1. I loved reading this. I think you put into words what I have been feeling. What do you do after you reached the goal you set for your life? It seems so difficult to think about. Write a follow up post that gives me the answer please. And Congratulations on meeting your goals!!!

  2. But this is perfect. This is so totally me. I've never quite aspired to do much more than college and job. Sometimes I feel like that makes me boring, uninspiring, whatever. But now, I just try as hard as I can to steer towards happiness. What makes me happy? What do I have to do to get the means to make the happiness happen? For now, that's all I need. All the other stuff can be figured out. Good luck choosing your path! And thanks for being open!

  3. This sounds all too familiar:) It's kinda scary, kinda something I put off thinking about, and it all works out in the end. Or at least it is so far...

  4. 1. We should talk about that .5 kid.

    2. This morning a quote from Milan Kundera came to mind that sort of applies here: “There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? That is why life is always like a sketch. No, "sketch" is not quite a word, because a sketch is an outline of something, the groundwork for a picture, whereas the sketch that is our life is a sketch for nothing, an outline with no picture.”

  5. ♥ It seems like so many of us are going through one big transition. I would say to breathe, think, meditate on all of this. The path sometimes finds you.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...