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Don’t Know What You’re Doing? Neither Do We

Don't Know What You're Doing? Neither Do We - whathannahwrote

This time four years ago, I was receiving my final few offers from universities. I was in a relationship that was well into its third year at that point, and I was convinced I had my life mapped out. Myself and my boyfriend at the time had even discussed how we wanted to get engaged and settle down at a young age. Why am I acknowledging this (and making myself cringe in the process)? Because we’d arranged for that age to be “around” 21, when I graduated in 2018.

As in, now. And where am I now?

Well, I’m very much single, we broke up three years ago, and I had spring rolls for breakfast the other day.

This is a post I’ve deliberated about writing for quite some time, but I never really had a “right” time to do it. As much as I sometimes feel like I’m on a rollercoaster of misfortune and just sheer irony, my life is pretty uneventful. I’m one of those people who seems to just have everything fall into place, which I’m incredibly grateful for. But recent events and experiences have made me realise that actually, no matter how settled you may be, life will always be ready to throw you a curveball. This is getting pretty deep already for an advice post, so imma back things up here.

My little brother is now in the position I was in four years ago, albeit without the plans to elope in a graduation gown. The only difference between us is that while I knew from the start of school that I needed to get all the qualifications I could in an attempt to get away from island life, he’s only just recently started to think about that. He’s now looking into colleges, but he has no idea what he wants to do – other than move to the mainland. It’s frustrating for me because I went through the exact same thought process at his age, but there’s very little you can do when you have no idea what you want.

Except, is that the case? Obviously he shouldn’t waste his money on moving out to the city when he’s not entirely sure on what he’s going to do out there, but you can’t exactly expect a 17 year old to just rhyme off their entire life plan. I know that sounds a little bit dramatic for choosing a college course, but so many young people nowadays are led to believe that this choice will impact them for life and that is a ridiculous amount of pressure to put on anyone. The idea that the profession they choose – at an age where they still have to ask for their teacher’s permission to go to the toilet in school – will be what they are going to do until the day they retire. It still annoys me when I ask him what he’s thinking of studying and he replies with a shrug, but it hit me recently that in doing so, I’m being a total hypocrite.

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I studied business in high school, and then I applied to universities for an International Business programme. I got accepted to them all, I picked one, off I went to the big city and I’m now three weeks away from completing my honours degree. But four years and £20,000 in debt to the government later, what am I doing with my degree?

… I’m using it to apply for a Masters degree in journalism. Sure, I wanted journalism before anything else – but in everyone else’s eyes, I was going to jet off around the world with briefcase in hand. Even I’d given up on the journalism dream by Christmas of my first year, but here we are.

My point is, even if you feel like you’ve got your whole life sorted and planned out, you’ll never know what’s around the corner. There is genuinely zero point in forcing yourself to make long-term expectations for the sake of it. If you don’t know what you want to do, then don’t worry about it – because neither do most of us. There IS a difference between ambition and expectation in this case, of course. Dream away, but don’t push yourself to depend on that exact plan happening in 2036. I should have dreamed of getting engaged at 21 rather than planning it, but hey, at least I don’t have to share my spring rolls.

 

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whathannahwrote

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22 COMMENTS

  • Pushpanjali Roy

    This is such an honest post. We all try to plan our life ahead, only to realize that nothing goes according to the plans. Rather life has its own plans and we have to go with the flow. Thanks for sharing this post.

    Love,
    Anjali
    https://www.laughingmirror.com/

  • Life After Coffee

    This post is so lovely and important (and reassuring!) – thank you so much for sharing! I love your flat lays too!

    Sending you good vibes!

    Nati x | http://www.lifeaftercoffeeblog.com | @NAfterCoffee

  • rebecca

    So many young people don’t have a clue what they’re doing! It’s such a big decision at such a young age, and things can change so quickly!

  • Love this post ! I was exactly the same Boyfriend from school , started living together at 19 , he cheated . World fell apart ….a year later I am so much happier with a guy that’s worth my time 😉

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      Aw gal, that’s so rubbish but I’m glad you’ve ended up in a much better place! Sounds like you’re way better off ☺️

  • honestlyholly23

    Darling I’m 30 and I’ve only just started figuring my life out.. Life is long, don’t worry!

  • keepingupwithMJ

    Great post. Very helpful and inspiring. I’m learning to take life more seriously in the sense of focusing on where I want to be. Don’t get me wrong not taking it TOO SERIOUSLY but I just mean I have my head on straight. I’m loving my experience and I’m learning things take time. And that’s okay.

  • Emma Rollason

    Such a relatable post, I was the same at 21 I thought I had my life planned out, full time job, long term relationship and looking to move into my own place, it’s been 4 years and all of those things have changed. It’s hard to let go and accept that the path you thought you were on has gone and become something completely different, but I personally am so proud of myself for going through that and coming through the other side.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Emma x
    emmarollason.com

  • Sophie

    I’m in that exact place right now (almost). I graduate from my 4-year law degree next May and still not 100% sure what I want to do. Glad I’m not the only one!!

  • Lupe

    This is spot on! I graduated high school 3 years ago, it’s my third year in college and I just figured out what I wanted to do. I planned everything, but things change. I’m back home living with my parents and working in fast food, which isn’t what I ever though I’d be doing, but I’m happy to know I’m still working towards my future

  • Aleeha

    This is exactly the kind of post I needed to read! I’m 17 and so so stressed about career options and decisions at the moment.
    Aleeha xXx
    http://www.halesaaw.co.uk/

  • Life literally never turns out the way we planned it to! I am kinda in a similar situation that you described a few years ago, expect me boyfriend and I are still together. We too are planning to get married (okay, we even the names of our kids picked out, let’s be honest) but not anytime soon. Like I love him and I’m pretty sure he’s the one but I think as such as young age (21) you need to kinda be willing to roll with the curveballs, as you mentioned!
    And you are right, life always seem to fall into place when you need it.
    Thank you for sharing this, it was lovely reading more about you and your story 🙂

  • Erin MacLean

    I did 13 years of university to become an OB/GYN and ended up hating my career. So after 11 years of practice, I quit to write. And I’m so much happier…certainly not wealthier, but much better off. It’s never to late to change course.

  • perrinevautour

    I totally agree, choosing what you want to do for the rest of your life at 17 is ridiculous.. It’s funny to think back and look at how we thought I life was going to look like haha

    Perrine
    http://www.ola-banana.com

  • Hannah

    I love the spring rolls comment! I’ve had pizza for breakfast twice this week already (left-overs are the best. I was in a similar position where I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew I was good at science so it made sense to apply to study science at University. It never occurred to me that not going to University was an option. I actually ended up changing my application a week before it was due and applying to study Physiotherapy which I now love and know that I made the right choice. My brother doesn’t know what he wants to do either except he is braver than me in that he knows University doesn’t have to be next or even at all. He’s going travelling for a year and then going to decide whether or not he wants to attend University. Something being in University has made me realise is that it’s never too late to go – I have people on my course in their 50s who want a career change. It will still be there whenever you’re ready. xx

  • This post is so refreshing and so feel good! We put so much pressure on ourselves to achieve the moon because others have done it or because we are expected to. But no need. I have no idea where I am going. It took me a while to realize but i am quite happy! xx corinne

  • Cara

    I love this! I’m guilty of planning too far into the future and making life choices to please other people and then I’m disappointed if they don’t work out; I’m learning to take things one day at a time, and this post reassured me that things will be okay xx

  • Katie Henry

    Great post! I know how scary it can be when things don’t go the way you planned but if you keep going for your dreams you’ll get them eventually. Best of luck x

  • Lydia Wilkins

    I think that a lot of people don’t know what they’re doing; there’s an expectation to have some sort of “master game plan”. But that’s okay, as long as you’re safe, etc. (By contrast, I’ve always been a planner-I know where I want to go-but I’m stuck currently, so it was refreshing to read this.)

  • andthenzen

    I started 2018 in a wonderful relationship, with a great job and plans to buy a house in the relatively near future – I’m now single, unemployed and I’m very much going to be living at home for the foreseeable future 😂🤷🏼‍♀️ We don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m a stronger believer in fate and that everything happens for a reason!

  • Laura

    I loved reading this post because I was exactly the same! I had a boyfriend before uni who I was convinced I’d be with forever and a very specific life plan! I’m trying to take life as it comes – I love your comments on having aspirations and not expectations xx

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      That’s the best way to be! I put so much unnecessary pressure on myself when I was younger and now I’m doing completely different things hahaha xx

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