You’re livid with unsettledness, edgily restless and agitated. Frustrated. Wildly unsure of what to do next, wanting to do all of the things and also, none of them. Mad that you’re here again, at this crossroads again. Pissed that things can’t just follow a goddam vaguely linear trajectory for one freakin’ year. Waiting desperately for the email, the call, the opportunity, actively going out and seeking it – not knowing what it looks like. Tired of the whole thing. Bored and boring and blah. In need of solid, action. Forward motion. Something to happen.
What next what next what next what-the-fuck-happens-next you chant, frantically, anxiously in your head, as you hit repeat on the Tom Petty song for the millionth time that day.
You refresh the job websites, check your email. Do work tasks, invent tasks to do even though you’re on holidays and there isn’t much work to do. Because you need to be busy, need to feel useful. You sit in the sun.
You’re an angry shell of wants and what-ifs and one-days and when I’m older this and I hope I’m like that. The weight of all you’re not yet, digs its heel into your chest. You’re the gap, the yawning, aching emptiness. You don’t know how to converse intelligently about the autumn foliage, you didn’t think ahead to bring ingredients to make a dish for everyone. You don’t know how to be, as well as others seem to know how to be.
You long to sit around with friends in ten or twenty years time telling Patti Smith-esque stories about the time a billionaire came over for burgers or the rockstar you stole the show from; that infamous magazine cover.
These are the years for creating the memories, right? For doing the wild, regrettable things that the best stories are made of. You’re not quite 30, living in Paris, and you’re freeeeeee (sung in Tom Petty’s voice). Why is it you feel so stuck to the floor? So ‘nothing ever happens’ about things? How do you make things happen? How do you become who you want to be, before you arrive?
I want to cook delicious fresh food and invite friends to sit around a communal table, and to have a kickass important career, to contribute and to be passionate about a multitude of things. A full life, a big life, a friends and lovers and passionate people only sort of crowd. No time for less, for people who’d like you smaller.
When does it start / how does it start? How do you get started?
How do you shake off this funk? How do you ensure this year doesn’t go to waste? How do you do this life thing on your own terms? How do you take it next level?
You start a business in 4 days because you’re so bored and overflowing with creative energy and the idea is good you know it is. But it’s also hard and you’re not sure this is THE thing to do. If it was THE thing you could go all in. Get a day job that pays the bills and throw yourself into this day and night and weekends, you could do that.
Should you do that?
But what about the writing? That was the plan, the passion, the master plan. You’ve neglected it, and you’ve felt the impact. You want to write. Pick back up the fallen manuscripts, start afresh, get a book out, publish it yourself, get some momentum, fake it til you make it. Is writing THE thing?
Should you do that?
What about HR? You’re good at it, you know this isn’t arrogance, not really, it’s just a coincidence of knowing what to do and how to do it in a market / context that has a huge room for improvement. And the Paris startup world is perfect for this. Maybe you need to just find the right company, the right founders and pour all your energy into that? Make a name for yourself, make a difference, build a semi-recognisable career path, go places.
Should you do that?
Should you step up the running? Research and plan for a dream race? Make that your thing and the rest, incidental.
Are any of those the right options? Are all of them? Is it a new apartment you need? A new arrondissment? What about a new city, starting over again, again – you love-hate doing that. What about something else entirely? Take 3 months, 6 months off to hike or cross-country motorbike (permit pending) or make wine or literally anything else I can think of.
You know that it is selfish to bemoan a multitude of choices, not everyone is so lucky. But in part, this fuels your need to go big – to contribute significantly, because you can, because you must.
Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
You know the answer to only two of those things.