Have “Life” conversations and nurture the different aspects of your life NOW.
We have a saying in the military that no plan survives first contact with the enemy, who get half the vote on how things go down. In other words, it’s great to have a plan and do your best to execute it, but be ready for change. Of course, this is a lot easier said than done.
We tend to have a linear sense of what we would like our lives to look like. Work really hard for a few years after college, go back to business school and collect that brand, work really hard again for a few years after business school. Make a lot of money, meet that wonderful guy/gal to start a family, and then do that thing you really wanted to do all along (nonprofit, public policy, social impact activity, insert favorite passion here). If that passionate activity is exactly what you ended up doing after business school and pays well too, then great! You’re ahead of the curve. For the majority of the Millennials, we want to have our cake and eat it too. We want a job that pays well and that we feel passionate about, that is meaningful, impactful, allows us to be authentic. Most of us likely ended up in jobs that we don’t feel fully engaged in, or industries that we are not really passionate about, so we tell ourselves that we’d do Job X to pay off the incredible amount of debt we’ve accrued, use it as a springboard, and THEN do that thing we really wanted to do. We put ourselves on a delayed pathway of achieving our ultimate vision. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Debt can be crushing. Personal financial freedom is a good thing. Just be cognizant of where you are and make the time to frequently check in with yourself and think strategically. Don’t find yourself trapped.
There are many different frameworks out there to think about your life as a whole and what components make up overall happiness. One that I like to use breaks down one’s life in terms of professional, personal (think inner spiritual well-being), family, and friends/community spheres. At any given time, these four spheres are competing for our time and energy. According to our linear conception, we devote a lot of attention to the professional sphere out of college and business school, looking to establish ourselves in our careers and achieve financial security. Then at some point we start focusing on family and perhaps develop passions in the community sphere (such as nonprofit cause, social enterprise, etc). However, life doesn’t tend to unfold according to our linear, sequential conception. It often unfolds simultaneously, in an unplanned way. We meet Mr/Mrs Right while toiling away in that 100+ hour job, perhaps forcing an earlier-than-expected conflict between professional and personal lives. Or, if you’re married, an unplanned pregnancy could happen before either of you is ready to devote the time and energy to family.
I don’t have any answer for these life events other than suggest you take the time to think about the different parts of your life (your current and your ideal vision) periodically and be honest with yourself on what makes you happy. Where are you spending your time on? Where would you like to spend more time on? What’s the minimum threshold within each sphere that will still allow you to feel fulfilled overall? Rather than wait according to some self-imposed timeline, what can you do NOW to develop those goals or interests that you have among your different spheres. Have conversations with your family and friends about this, and areas of dissonance you feel in your life. Only when are you honest with yourself and know yourself can you make the changes you need to make yourself feel whole, and be able to adapt to the changes that life unexpectedly springs on you from time to time by adjusting your goals and time/energy/attention among the different spheres.
This now gets our vote for best post on the blahg.
THANK YOU to the former BSer who made this amazing contribution.
We wish you great good fortune in your next adventures!! With this type of head on your shoulders, we can only imagine that things will turn out perfectly fine in your world, whatever arises.
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