As things begin to wind down in my working life, I keep getting asked what my plans are for the future. To be honest, I really don’t know what my next steps are. I mean, I do have plans around how my bills will be getting paid for the next few months, and so, this has given me the opportunity to have a short sabbatical from ‘the grind’ and to perhaps find out what I really want to be doing with my life. My problems are that I’m not driven by money or status or power. I only really work to fund my hobbies, and a friend of mine always jokes that I could live on the smell of an oily rag and two minute noodles. True story. The safety and financial security of my job has always been good to be fair, but in the last few years I began to feel trapped in a job that wasn’t fulfilling enough. Don’t get me wrong, I once loved this job and the challenges it presented to me, I like to think I am bloody good at what I do and the support of the people I work with has been amazing — but I wonder a lot about whether I should be dong something with more purpose. I’ve always been to scared to take that step outside of my comfort zone incase I failed.
I’m not even sure I want to work for someone else again. I love learning, but I am too old and cynical about business now to be trapped in another version of the grind. What jobs are even out there for someone like me at this age? As I flick through Indeed and TradeMe nothing really appeals to me, and having to go through a recruitment process just isn’t what I want to be doing right now. I realise that these are almost obnoxious and first world problems to be having given the struggle many people out there are facing at the moment. And so, it was a couple of weeks ago I was speaking with a friend about my very inane problems and she said to me “If money wasn’t an issue, what the hell would you be doing with your time?” Without hesitation, I said “I’d be travelling, writing and taking photos. And trying to bring awareness to mental health and environmental issues.” And she said “Well there you go… that’s your answer.”
I’m going to be honest, the idea of no income is still stressful, even with my small cushion and my nonchalant attitude towards money. The uncertainty of living in a pandemic has shown us all that anything could happen and change in an instant — but that uncertainty now pushes me more towards the idea of living with more passion and purpose. I feel like it’s just wasteful if I’m doing things that don’t make me happy. I’m very much a believer that things happen for a reason, and even if it turns out badly, there is always a lesson to be learnt. I’m now forced to take a step onto a new path, and I have to trust that things will work out. If I want to live my values, I need to be pretty damn clear about what they are. If the opportunities aren’t there, then I need to take action to find it or create it.
So where to from here? I keep going back to that conversation. Writing, travelling, photography. And it doesn’t even bother me if I suck at it. Because at the end of the day I am doing it for me, not for anyone else. I’m still not sure how it will help me pay my bills, but I hang on to the notion that at least if I try it and it doesn’t work out, I’m not left with the lingering thoughts of ‘What if?’ I will have given it a go and maybe if it doesn’t work out, then that’s cool, I can move on and find something else. If the last few years have taught me anything it’s that you learn and grow and change naturally happens. After all it’s how I’ve gotten to this point in the first place. I have to trust now that as I step out of the comfort zone I’ve known for the last 18 years of my life, that the universe will be there to catch me.