Decisions of a Lifetime

I spend a lot of time reminiscing, I don’t deny, for it is easier to imagine an age where the biggest decisions I had to make was the brand of chocolate I wanted that week. I wish I was still that little, that carefree and that sure of my choices. As the years passed, the impact of my decisions got larger and larger. Now I’m faced with the worst of them all – what am I going to do with my life?

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I started the last year of my undergrad today and I still feel a little lost. Frequently I ask myself how grown-ups think 21 is the ripe age to thrust such a choice on unsuspecting students still trying to figure out what they like and what they don’t. While I mostly have my likes and dislikes sorted, I’m still thinking and re-thinking my life choices. I often wondered how I ended up where I am today. My carefully laid plans when I was just a teenager probably would have gotten me to space (and maybe back) by now, but they haven’t. How can I trust that these plans made by the same person might help me accomplish my goals?

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The conversation in my mind right now is something like this: “What subjects do you want to study this semester?” “I don’t know.” “What project do you want to take up?” “I’m not sure.” “Are you going to sit for the recruitment test of XYZ company?” “Ask me later.” I never had a magic 8-ball, but I’m pretty sure even that would be more helpful than my brain at the moment.

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I’m sure my subconscious has all the right answers to all my questions somewhere, but it is a shy creature. However, that doesn’t mean I’ve to neglect the opinion of the analytical part of my brain either, for it is well-versed in worldly matters. There’s some more information stored away carefully in my memory too – advice by elders, peers, articles, life experiences and so on. All of them fight to be the loudest and the most influential voice. Amidst the cacophony and chaos, all sight of reason is lost. But there is still hope. There’s a good chance that all those different parts do agree upon something. I only have to find that sweet spot where the discordant sounds merge into an orchestra.

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Therefore, like the countless fictional characters before me, I shall embark on the epic journey of finding that harmony. I will find a way to slay that demon called doubt and learn to trust my instincts. I will stop by the fountain of confidence and take a good, long sip. I will meander through uncharted lands and the darkest corners of mind. I will successfully complete my quest and promise to go back to writing better posts in the future.

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Are you currently in the middle of an important decision-making process? Can you relate to being clueless and confused? What got you through that phase? How do you usually make a choice? Let me know in the comments section below!

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14 thoughts on “Decisions of a Lifetime

  1. I thought I had it all figured out, what to study, where, why etc. But what I studied, is not at all what any of the three jobs I’ve had since have required me to do. And many “adults” I’ve spoken to have the exact same experience. I wish I knew what advice to give, but I don’t. Eventually you’ll find something you love to do and see yourself waking up everyday to do, and then you redirect your efforts towards that. Until then… you build a fall back plan, which is what school/studies/degrees/diplomas turn out to be. The just-in-case of life. By the way… being an adult is all about just-in-case. Medical aid. Insurance. Retirement. – wow this answer turned out longer than I thought it would haha. *Adult me away!*

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    • Thanks for sharing! 🙂 It helped that it was so long; it gave me a better picture of what you’re trying to say. I always thought that I’ll figure it out when I get older and time just ran away while that happened. I see what you mean by those being fall back options. I’ll try to plan at least the next two or three years if not my entire life ahead. 😛 I’m glad you took the time to give your honest opinion here. 🙂

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  2. Practically no one I know got a job right out of college. Some people tried, but we basically all went back to graduate school because the economy’s still not great and it’s really difficult to be hired. Going to graduate school delays some of the decisions, while also theoretically making you more “qualified” for all those entry level jobs that think you should have 5 years of previous experience. (What?) I think none of us ended up where we thought we were going to end up, and even though it’s a couple years later, many of us still don’t have any idea of what we’re doing. (I know I don’t.) So definitely make some kind of plan so you know what goals you want to accomplish, but I think it’s fine to also be flexible and realize that if things don’t go as planned, you’re definitely not alone.

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    • Thanks, Brianna! 🙂 I did a lot of thinking after I wrote this post and the comments I received. I’m leaning towards a postgraduation as well, although in my college there’s in-campus placements if I want a job. I’m starting to put together a plan to continue studying and get a masters degree, which in itself is a tedious process of choosing colleges, GRE, applying and building a good profile. Perhaps making the decision is the easy part, after all. 😛

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  3. Listen to your head and follow your heart. If head and heart are in sync, then nothing better that that. If not, listen to your head till you are able to provide for yourself to follow your heart. Keep an open mind, keep moving and the path will find you.

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  4. I’m turning 25 and I’ll finish the first year of my undergrad this year 🙂 It’s so easy to get yourself caught up and bent out of shape about ‘getting ahead’, ‘staying on track’ or ‘figuring it out’. The big secret that no one bothers to tell you is that most people don’t have it all figured out: all you do is you try something for a while and you decide you love it, or you decide to try something new. The key is to keep going until you find something that you love and are passionate about (whether it’s a particular job or an industry in general) and can get into. That’s what I think anyway. You have to remember as well that many, many people have multiple careers in a lifetime now and what you start doing may not be what you end up doing 🙂 But also be kind to yourself: no one is expecting you to have all the answers, to know what you want to do for the rest of your life or to be 100% sorted… Most other people you see are just faking it! Find something you love, find the value in it and pursue it. That’s my plan 🙂

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    • Thank you for all the advice! 🙂 Yes, even I don’t think everyone has everything figured out at such a young age. But deciding out of the multiple options that I have is proving to be difficult as they come with their own pros and cons. I can only look for advice from people wiser than me and do the best I can.
      I hope you’re enjoying your college life. The first year was the least hectic and most fun for me. Perhaps I can reciprocate this gesture by the time you graduate. 🙂

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  5. I remember feeling that way, too, and not just when I was in college. There have been times since getting a full-time job that I’ve wobbled between what I thought I wanted and what I truly wanted, deep in my heart. Eventually I learned that the “what I thought I wanted” was my ego talking: fears and echoes of other people’s expectations for my life or career. And once I made that discovery, my priorities (and what I believe is my true purpose in life) have become a lot clearer, and I’m determined to stay on that path now.

    It takes time and patience to reach that point, though. And practice, too. Like Pranabaxom said (and what great advice that was, too!), you have to make a habit of listening to the voices within you and find a way of identify Ego and Heart, then ignore the former so you can focus on the latter. That discovery happens in different ways to everyone, though… so the best thing you can do is have courage and an open mind. And judging from this post, you have both. You’ll find the harmony you’re looking for, Nandini; and based on your replies to other people’s comments here, and it sounds like the figurative wheels are turning. Best of luck to you. 🙂

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