I am turning 33 this month and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I am finally okay with it. It bothered me for years that I was living a life without “purpose” or so it seemed. It affected me so deeply because I grew up with a typical millennial mindset. I believed that happiness should always triumph a paycheck.
During high school, my friends freely followed their dreams even though they didn’t line up with what is traditionally considered safe and secure. Today, these women are mothers and well-known entrepreneurs that are exceeding every expectation they’ve put on themselves. Although this was close to two decades ago, I still remember yearning for that passionate feeling myself.
I wish I’d known what my calling was, but I didn’t. I finished high school and went right into first year University where I wasted both time and money. I felt no direction, no pull, nothing. After taking a year off I was still left with uncertainty. I looked into different options and forced myself to pick something that seemed half-heartedly interesting and challenging. I enrolled in a Registered Massage Therapy program, graduated, and practiced for over a decade, until I went on extended maternity leave when I had my daughter.
I have been at home with my daughter for two years and just had my second child. Although this was our family plan, some days as a stay at home mom are just so much harder than others. This decision can be isolating at times as it’s not the popular choice that it once was.
And there’s that question that still haunts me: “What are you going to do when you decide that you are ready to go back to work?” I’m still left answerless.
My personality and mentality are positive, but bring in the societal pressures and I feel like I’m being drowned. Buzzwords like passion, success, and hustle are everywhere. Quotes like “do what you love and never work a day in your life” are being thrown around like confetti. It seems like everyone is crushing it at slaying their dreams while also parenting, eating right, exercising, and brushing their teeth. Meanwhile, here I am just trying to be a half decent mom without losing my mind when my toddler asks for her 99th snack of the day.
Recently, I broke down. I’ve been battling this dilemma for the longest time. I had a conversation with my husband about it and what I finally realized is that our job does not have to define us. We can have passions without wanting to do them or be them every single day.
Because this realization is still so new to me, I’ve prepared a short list of tips to help me get through the days where I start to feel that pressure return. Maybe it can also help anyone else that is in my slow sailing boat.
1. Volunteer / Do Good
Volunteering won’t be a realistic goal for me anytime soon with a toddler and newborn at home, but there’s always a way to do good. Stopping to acknowledge and converse with a lonely senior takes no effort. Leaving a positive comment online takes all of two seconds. Preparing a meal or two for someone who could use it is a fabulous gift. Donating unused items to shelters helps a tribe of those in need. Even supporting a friend pursuing their own passion is a great way to catch some good vibes. Doing good from the heart always, always fulfills us in ways that no job ever could.
- If there is one thing that we are not lacking today, its opportunity. We must embrace what comes our way and gain that precious experience. Explore hobbies, take on new challenges, and consider those wild offers that cross our paths. The mystery of the unknown can be nerve wracking but we will never be able to narrow anything down without exploring our options. I may not know what I do want to do, but thanks to dabbling, I do know what I don’t want and that’s a direction in itself.
- Striving to stay in touch with those activities that leave us feeling refreshed and fulfilled makes the world of a difference. Bake, cook, do yoga, meditate, paint, golf, read, get a massage, go to bed early, watch a whole season of a TV series in a ridiculous amount of time. Take time for you – it’s deserved and necessary.
4. YOU DON’T NEED A PLAN
- Remember that your entire future can’t be planned: Life isn’t a puzzle. We can’t sit down and figure it out just like that. You will change and mature. If we didn’t, I’d be an ice cream truck driver like I decided when I was in the 4th grade. It is impossible to foresee the different paths we will yearn to take as we evolve. You will be introduced to different hobbies, interests, mindsets, energies, and lifestyles, which will ultimately guide you in the right direction. For so long I wanted that perfect job that could define me. This stress actually prevented me from organically finding my way because I tried to force something that just isn’t meant to be forced.
And now here I am in the present, realizing that I have a title that means the world to me. If asked, I would’ve never listed Massage Therapist as an adjective that best described me as a person. But I would definitely include being a stay at home mom as one. I may not be a hustling boss babe behind the scenes of motherhood, but I am no longer sweating over the fact that I’m not. I’m a SAHM with passions. You will set some dreams aside, others will be replaced, and I can guarantee that new ones will arise. This is where I am supposed to be right now. Life is full of chance with change and as a woman 33 years young; there is way more of that coming my way.
“If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.” – unknown.
CHANTAL URBINA is a registered Massage Therapist and Culinary Nutrition Expert. She is passionate about living a life full of health, love, and happiness and that all three start with our diet. “Nature’s healing properties will never cease to amaze me and it inspires me day after day to create and share recipes made with only real whole foods.”