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The Pressure To Find Our 'Thing'

I've been thinking a lot about how much pressure there is to have a 'thing'. I don't know if this is something instilled into us from school as, if we're lucky enough, we try various hobbies throughout our childhood perhaps hoping one thing will stick, whatever it being stuck may mean. There's sometimes an underlying thought that if we had just stuck with one thing and properly committed, then we really could have made something from it. Then as adults I think this becomes so tied up in our ideas about our career, work and things we do for fun that we often find ourselves constantly searching or waiting to find the thing that fits. But what happens when that doesn't happen?

Honestly, I don't believe it never happens. But I do believe that passion and interest ebbs and flows throughout our lives. The perception that you can find one thing when you're 16/17 and pursue that interest through school, university and a lifelong career whilst enjoying it all the way, is rare if not impossible. We were not created to live a single narratives in both work and our personal lives.

There is so much pressure to succeed young and I worry that in that pursuit we bypass the joy of just exploring stuff for fun and being really okay with things not working out, and also letting interests evolve organically rather than trying to contort our own unique joy to align with those we see around us or online. I know I'm definitely guilty of this, trying things that I never would have tried had I not seen someone I admired online also doing it but it could also look like doing something because you know it would make your family proud. Of course it's absolutely fine to be inspired by others, but it's not okay when we compare our experience of something to another person's that results in us feeling worse about ourselves.

For me, a lot of these feelings have been entwined with my want to find a career that I enjoy and I spent so much of my early twenties worrying about when and how I was going to find that 'thing' that I worry I missed a lot of opportunities or just simple enjoyment that may have intuitively evolved. I was trying so hard to find something that felt natural which is completely counterintuitive. Two years ago I never could have imagined that I would be moving to work in the healing and alternative therapies world and that really was something that came about in a place where I wasn't searching for something specific, but actually needing solace for myself. And in that liminal space I found my thing, at least for this chapter in my life, however big or small it might be.

I've come to realise that whatever you do for work will always end up being work. I love and feel incredibly passionate about breathwork but I'm open to other experiences that may weave themselves into my work and I know that I won't always solely be doing this and it's really liberating to relinquish that pressure from myself and ultimately surrender to the unfolding of our lives, being patient and trusting the timing of everything. We can have multiple passions and stories within our lives that come and go with the internal changes that shift as we change and move through the seasons and years. Passions can bloom at any age, and experiencing what we do and don't like will only ultimately lead us closer to a life filled with more purpose, joy and fulfilment. Nothing is ever perfect and we should definitely be championing the messy, far from linear trajectories of our lives, knowing that everything we're doing now will be an integral part of our story, wherever that may take us. Hopefully I'm not the only one who feels this way!

Originally published in my newsletter 2021

Image by @parrottpaints


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