Your Place in the World
How does anyone know what to do with their life? Being an adult is mostly just walking around bumping into things looking for food? – Tumblr
Ever since we were small, we have been asked the eternal question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Like most children this changed over the years – you may have gone from a nurse to a cook, a police officer to an opera singer and much more in between. However, unlike boys, most girls seem to pigeonhole themselves into certain boxes before they even realise what they want to be. I was never like this. While all the other girls in my class played “princesses” or “handstands and cartwheels”, I was off with the boys playing tiggy, or pretending to be a spy that would save the world. The same could be said for when we were asked what we wanted to do. The boys would say “astronaut” “spy” or “army man” and the girls would say “teacher”, “nurse” or even “a Mum”. No boy ever said he wanted to be a Dad. By the time we hit our teenage years, we were forced to make choices about what we wanted to do with our lives once we had finished school. At my school, Year 13 Calculus was majority male, while Year 13 Social Studies was majority female. Whether we like it or not, we are gendered to go into certain fields and avoid others. Now I am not a feminist, and I am not about to write a feminist propaganda piece about breaking the moulds or tell you how to live your life – that’s not what I am about – but I am going to tell you the best way to find out what you want to do and how to negotiate your way into the adult world.
- Finish high school – get the best out of the opportunities given to you. Even if you have no intention of doing further study any time soon, it is still worth it. Once you’ve got those qualifications nobody can take them off you. If you decide that all you want to do is be a stay at home Mum or herd goats in Nepal that is totally cool – but make sure you finish high school first. Better to have the world open to you, than have it closed because you didn’t finish school.
- Find a passion – Your passion does not have to be academic. My sister, although good at school, hated it and preferred makeup and hair styling instead. Her passion became her career, as she is now a hairdresser and makeup artist. Do not go into a career because you think it will make you money. Do not think “well lawyers are important and rich so I will do that”. If you have no passion for a job, you will only end up hating it. Do you really want to live the rest of your life hating your career? Find your passion – it doesn’t matter what it is. If your passion is cats, then find something to do with cats – start up a cat day care centre, become a cat specialist vet – anything! So long as you love what you are doing, life will never let you down and everything will fall into place. Passion gives you purpose and purpose makes you happy.
- You do not have to go to University – All schools seem to do these days is push University. “You must go to University, that’s how you become something”. Not only is this not true, but it is also a false way of looking at the world. More people have university degrees now than any other time in history. Yet do half the people who go to University actually use their degrees? Not really. If, like me, University, academia, and study are your passions then, by all means, go to University. If not (and I cannot stress this enough) DON’T!
- Make sure you’re doing what you want, not what your parents want – We’ve all seen Bend It Like Beckham, and sympathised with the plight of Jess, who doesn’t want to become a lawyer – she wants to be a football player! Similarly, if you’re having this problem, think of it this way. Your parents probably have your best interests in mind. I commend them on that – but just because they care doesn’t mean they are right. Things have changed a lot since our parents were young and they may not realise the sheer scope of careers or lifestyles out there. This doesn’t make them bad – it just means they’re incorrect. I knew a girl at University whose father made her study a Bachelor of Science. He said that if she didn’t do this he would kick her out of the home because it was the only thing that was going to get her a job and he couldn’t support anything else. It made her miserable to study something she hated. The only thing that made her happy was playing the violin. After her first year of University was over and she had scraped through her exams, she moved out of the home, dropped out of science and studied a Bachelor of Music with her Violin. She has never been happier. Don’t let your parents bully you into doing something you don’t want to do. I don’t care if they want to be able to boast to their friends that “Anna is studying psychology you know” or “Anna is a career woman; she’s making lots of money” – at the end of the day it isn’t their life. If you want to be a stay at home Mum, or study Art or become a personal trainer – then do it! Your parents love you, and when they see what makes you happy, and what makes you successful, they will be happy too. It might take a bit of getting used to, but you’re an adult too. Don’t ever forget that you have the right to do whatever you want.
- You can always change – I always thought I wanted to work in a Museum. Visiting Museums and learning about the past was my passion for a long time. I even did Museum Studies! However, when I actually got into working in a Museum, I hated it. I found it boring, monotonous and felt like I wasn’t learning a lot or helping people. That’s when I realised, I wasn’t tied to it, and changed careers. I soon found something I loved and wanted to do more than anything I had ever done in my life. You can do this too. If you train to become a geographer and find that geography is NOT what you actually enjoy, but that video game testing is more your thing – then do it! You’re never too young or too old to change.
Being a stay-at-Home-Mum
According to some arbitrary tradition, until the 1970s women were forced to stay at home and be mothers regardless of whether they wanted to or not. Now we are blessed with the beauty of choice. A choice to work and be a Mum, a choice not to have kids at all, and a choice to be a stay-at-Home-Mum. I will never judge any woman for choosing to be with her children instead of working. So long as it is what she wants, and it makes her happy, who am I to make judgments? There are just two rules regarding stay-at-Home-Mums. 1) women who aren’t need not judge those who are; and 2) women who are need not judge those who aren’t. It is that simple really.
Take your place in the world
Once you find your purpose and your place in the world, you move into adulthood and are on the way to being a modern woman. So long as you fulfill your purpose and live your life the way you want, then nothing can stand in your way. Just remember that everything in this life has to be earned, there is no getting things for free or easy. Nothing easy was ever worth having. And yes, there will be times when you wonder what the point of it all is, and you could just throw in the towel and get a sugar daddy or go on benefits. But what sense of achievement will that give you? Work hard ladies. You can do it!!