“I don’t know what to do with my life”

I am feeling a little lost. I have recently come back from traveling around the world after two and a half years. A large part of me traveling was the fact that I was in a job I didn’t want to do anymore, and my dad having terminal cancer made me realize how short life was. The glimpse of tranquility and calmness I saw on his face really made me want to feel the “sense of freedom” he felt from packing his bags with little money.

I went traveling and loved it. I studied photography — a subject I had huge drive and passion for. During this time, my then-boyfriend moved in with me, and it all went down hill from there. I made my life about making sure he was happy, stopped doing things for myself, and to be honest, just felt as if I was no good at photography. Instead of learning the things that I didn’t understand, I simply saw every failure as me being a failure, and in the end, the guy I thought was going to be with me forever left me. I do not want to blame him or anyone else for my failures, and I know that we just weren’t suited.

After this, I ended up being back with my parents and took a charity fundraising job. Whilst I felt this wasn’t something I wanted to do forever, I ended up staying in the role for four years after getting promoted. I enjoyed managing people, coaching people, and making a difference in regards to medical fundraising. This is  where I realized I like talking to people and helping them.

When I was traveling, I was also foolish in spending way too much on a credit card (now owing 6 thousand pounds).

So now, I am here back with my parents, knowing I want to sort out my life, but not sure where to start. I don’t want to get stuck in a dead end job for the rest of my life. I want to be independent, not lazy anymore, but feel so much pressure from myself and others suggesting I do this and try that job out.

I thought about training in nursing or social work, but don’t have any experience in these fields. I’m also not very strong at math, despite the fact that this could really work with my empathetic nature. Naturally, I do like helping people with their problems or listening to their stories.

I still have this interest in photography, and my dream would be to one day have my own business doing make-up, photography, and hairstyling for photoshoots. But I see others who went to the same courses as me and now do this for magazines, and that makes me feel a little like a failure.

I also like the idea of being a photography lecturer, but with my  bad degree grade and the fact I am weak on the technical side, I don’t think I have many options on this route.

So at the moment, I don’t know what to do, I have applied for sales jobs, travel agent jobs, hospitality jobs, and call center jobs — something I really want to get out of, but at the moment, I owe 6 grand, so I do need a paid job for now.

One minute, I think about pursuing hairdressing, makeup, and photography. The next minute, I want to just travel again once I clear my debt. However, it would mean I would come home to the same issue of not knowing what job to do.

I also want to try standup comedy, but that would be more of a hobby and just to prove to myself that I am not the shy person I once became.

I ultimately would like to be back in Australia, doing my photography and makeup. However, I am not even sure if this is possible. I feel so stressed out that I know I need to break these things into smaller steps, but I just don’t know what to do first. The stress of owing this money, living with parents, scared of going nowhere in life — I feel trapped.

So far I have tried to be proactive and I have done a photo shoot since coming back, they actually look really good. looking through my travel photos made me realize I do love photography I just get scared of failing. I am also trying to assist a local photographer to improve my skills and get some hands on experience.

I am soon to be 29 years old, and I don’t want to go down a dead end path.

I found from my working life, I do not want to work behind a desk. I like to be practical, I like talking to people, I love being creative. I want to move forward in my life and I be my own boss. Any suggestions or advice, I’d really appreciate. Sorry for long post! Helps to get out of my head!

3 thoughts on ““I don’t know what to do with my life”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Don’t be sorry for your long post you’re just expressing yourself! To me It doesn’t matter if you’re 16, 29, 60 years old we all will have moments and question what we are doing with our lives,. We do this because we we human. We are not perfect there will be successful days and we will have moments of failures. I believe you should pursue photography, show your creative side, be your own boss, and be happy. My sister a photographer and she does it because she’s passionate and I see that from you too. Do what you love, love what you do. I believe in you.

  2. yeahbutwhatif says:

    Welcome to humanity. We’re all just trying to figure this all out as we go and it’s scary. Personally, I know I’m not doing what I “should” be doing but the important thing is to take steps to find what it is we want to be doing. If you don’t have dependants then you’re in a great position to try it all. You need to get out of your head and DO! Try as much as you can to see how you really feel about it, thinking about it will only get you so far. There are always ways to make money but it all comes down to the actions you take, no one pays for what ifs. And ultimatly, because you’re not even 30 and only need to worry about yourself, you have flexibility and time to put into things. You might find by following your “passion” that you might fall into something you didn’t expect to be what you really want to do but you need to be open to it and again, you don’t find unless you’re out there looking.

    I am on this journey as I’m sure the majority of others are. You’re not on new ground, you just need to find the one you’re happiest to travel on and there are no DEAD ENDS, everything can lead to something else.

  3. csiegert4 says:

    I don’t know what I want to do with my life either – I’m 30 and feel stuck between two converging realities that are crushing me. I’ve spent much of my life fighting against the structural norms of life and work, and I didn’t even realize why until now. I gave up the fight several years ago, finished my degree, and landed a corporate job in which I quickly succeeded. None of it mattered – the societal validation did not increase my happiness, rather it exacerbated my misery in many ways.

    Yet on the other side I have a family – so I have to balance what I want vs. what they need and often feel pressured to simply call it quits on finding that balance and just doing what I need to do to allow my kids to follow their own path.

    However, I do feel that deep down you really do know what you want, and you know what needs to happen to get there but you’re frightened because it’s such a big change. So many people have no chance at chasing their passion – don’t give yours up out of fear. Go for it, and even if you fail to make your mark on the world you will have at least fulfilled your own needs and desires and that is a life worth living. It’s easier to see this from the other side, so maybe my advice could be applicable to me as well however I’m unaware. But I promise you have the answer within you, and you know you do, you’re just looking for someone to say it’s ok – so take it from me, it’s ok.

    Good luck!

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