Recently, I’ve noticed a common feeling among some friends and colleagues my age. It’s a feeling of restlessness. You have a few post-collegiate years under your belt, enough “real world” experience to feel you’ve earned your stripes and although you may have had a few detours along the way, you’ve found an ecosystem of your own. It may not be an exact niche, but this ecosystem lets you survive and do the things you enjoy doing. Then the realization sinks in that you’ve checked off all the boxes on what your entire educational experience was preparing you for in the short-term: you graduated, you got a job, you got to be pretty good at your job, you no longer have to live paycheck to paycheck…but now what?
I feel entitled to speak on these feelings because I’m probably the biggest culprit when it comes to feeling restless. I’m pretty sure it’s a compulsive trait hardwired in my personality that I feel a need to be in a state of constant motion. For educated, career-hungry millennials, I feel there is this perception that there are those that are restless and then there are those that appear to have everything figured out. I see so many of my peers and former classmates going on to do great things; everything from writing a successful lifestyle blog and starting their own business to launching charitable organizations. It makes me extremely proud of my generation, but it also leaves me wondering where’s my muse or strike of genius? Did it already come and pass? What will be my greater contribution? Have I already peaked at 26!?
Then I laugh at how melodramatic and narcissistic that all sounds and I think of Game of Thrones…no really:
Because even though we may feel like adults and we’ve gotten this “real-world” thing mastered, we don’t. Our careers, work, family & relationships will continue to challenge us in ways we can’t even imagine or prepare for, whether we appear to have it all figured out or not. Life is a constant state of motion.
I recently came across this great article on Forbes, “20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get” – I highly suggest you read it if you haven’t already; and if you have, read it again. For me, this article really cut to the nerve of everything I know I should be doing, but probably am not. It’s so easy to get stuck in the feeling of complacent restlessness and fall into some of these bad habits Nazar points out, no matter where you’re at in your career. There is a saying that if you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. But what if you’ haven’t found what you love to do yet? I have a better saying, keep moving forward and even if you’re going in the wrong direction, you can always pivot.
If you’re feeling restless, it’s more likely that you’ve been distracted. Perhaps distracted by the pressure to go to school, get and keep a job, and build a purpose-filled life without the training wheels of your parents or professors to direct you on that course. You’ve had interests and passions that maybe you thought could have led you somewhere, but the fear of failure, judgment and intimidation of having to work harder and go outside your comfort zone put those interests on the back burner. You’ve been hitting all of those metrics to be a successful adult, but to feel any kind of long-term fulfillment, you need to pivot.
This website is my pivot project. Through building my blog and digital presence, I hope to refocus my skills on the digital space and dive into issues surrounding marketing, culture and consumer behavior. I’ll likely throw in some career input as well. I can’t promise there won’t be an occasional rant or tangent blog post (there may be a lot of pivoting going on), but I will definitely try to stick to my purpose. As Nazar points out, time is the only treasure we start off with in abundance that we can never get back. I spent the first half of my twenties proving I could take care of myself, now I’m going to refocus and let my passion for the digital world lead me to the next chapter.