Too often we ask teens and college-bound kids the wrong question and truthfully adults are often confused when making major decisions. Rather than asking themselves about college-majors and career choices, individuals first need to consider the kinds of lives they want to lead. This may sound obvious, but think about it, when you pick a mate or a career or even a residence, do you know that you’re choosing the life you’ll live?
Just as career choices determine what you’ll do each and everyday, they also involve salary considerations and even areas of the country where you’ll live. City and country living involve many different aspects. You need to think about whether you prefer the sleepy, slower, but fewer shopping/entertainment options of country living or the bustle, traffic, higher prices, more restaurant choices of a city.
While these details might seem insignificant, they effect your eventual happiness with where you are. In these times of economic uncertainty, job choices are paramount, but that’s just one aspect of understanding what you want and need to wake up looking forward to every day. Kids in high school may not want to engage in higher learning. I know I didn’t like school. But college is an important step in creating a more prosperous life with greater choices as to where you live and what you do for work. There are some non-college jobs that’ll earn decent money, too, but this aspect of job-choice needs to be considered. If an individual invests in becoming an air traffic controller–a highly specialized job requiring excellent spatial skills, but no college–they’ll earn a very decent living. But this job entails an intense training and is a career that carries the responsibility for many lives.
You can’t just give half-power to this one. Lives count on you. In some jobs, having an off-day isn’t that big a deal. Here, messing up has major consequences.
Think, too, about your partner choice. Lots of folks are struggling/dealing with the hunt for a mate, whether you seek marriage or not. When you’re looking for a person to share your life with, though, you need to know what you want as far as the life you lead. Do you want kids? Not every one does, despite commonly-held beliefs. But this is a major issue if you and your mate disagree and is almost guaranteed to make for a bumpy relationship.
Lifestyle choices are sometimes judged by others. Even condemned. While this is unfortunate and unhealthy for the condemner’s mental health, it happens all the time.
Whether you’re a teenager approaching high-school graduation or an adult struggling to make some major choices, you need to think about what will make you happy. Not what your parents or friends will think of you, but you. Your own needs, preferences and desires. This isn’t easy. Individuals can live a long time without truly understanding themselves, but seeking self-clarity is a tremendously important thing. We tend to seek our faults, our limitations and our struggles. This may all be hidden under bravado and our sadly external focus–we put more energy into picking houses and cars and clothing than we do in looking at ourselves.
The search for self-understanding needs to avoid self-condemnation. You’re really not the jerk you fear yourself to be (even if you had some less-than-stellar behavior shopping on Black Friday). Look carefully at what makes you happiest at think about what will add most to your enjoyment of your life over the long haul.
You deserve to create the life you want.