Today, one of my best friends started her self-proclaimed “dream job,” and when she initially sent the good news through our group text, I swelled with pride. This girl is smart, brave and very good at what she does. Not only was I beaming with joy for her, but I was in awe—to be twenty-eight and starting your dream job? Isn’t that the dream?
I, on the other hand, had just spent yet another day cold-emailing resumes to every position I thought I’d be even slightly qualified for, each time hoping the folks on the receiving end could see streaks of my potential through the large gaps in my resume. Yes, we move a lot. Yes, I left a lot of jobs. But can’t you see I’d be perfect for you?
Each click of the send button was an exercise in self-inflicting inner turmoil; please give me a job and do I even want to work there pressed equally in my head and heart. I’d close my eyes and all I could see was: What Are You Going To Do? And then, in the parentheses of my head, in a much smaller font: (what do you want to do?)
I thought of all the people in my life whose answer to both of those questions was the same—they had achieved dream job status. And me? Thirty, and still desperate for both of those answers. Or, even one answer.
I WANT TO FEEL… SUCCESSFUL… SO…?
This past January, I did what I typically do: reflected on the past year, thought of what I needed to improve on, and set some goals. After all, this was a big year—in a few weeks, I’d be turning thirty (something I always vowed never to do). It had to be brilliant.
As I’ve grown older and lived more, I’ve become more introspective. I used to want things. Things made me happy. But, when I make mental lists of goals now, I make them based on feelings, not things. I want to feel stronger, so I’ll try to run and do yoga consistently. I want to feel healthier, so I’ll eat cleaner. I want to feel like a better mother, so I’ll be more present when my kid is around.
I want to feel successful, so I’ll… ?
I am thirty and still hitting this roadblock. In the past, I’ve ignored it, and kept going. I was happy at work, and good at the job I was doing. It was meaningful work that made me feel alive, but I hardly thought I’d do it forever. I thought I’d do it for now.
NOTHING TO DO BUT DREAM
The people I envy lately are not those with the things and the power and the success, but the calm, and the stability and the knowledge that they’re doing what they most want to.
I don’t know what I want to do. The jobs I have are not my dream jobs. But I do them because I can and because my family needs me to.
I don’t know who I want to be. All I know is that I want to be someone.
I hope that in time, I can become one of those people who not only knows what they want to do, but is able to do it.
In the meantime, my dream job is to keep dreaming.