I’m in a “When will I figure out what I’m supposed to do with my life?” mood.
Perhaps you’ve been there, too, hopping from one Brain Pickings article to the next, searching for the crystal that will foretell your future. Bill Watterson’s Kenyon commencement speech. Steve Jobs’s commencement speech. Revisiting DFW. Revisiting George Saunders. Each hop takes a little more dirt out of the hole you’ve dug yourself in.
For some, the calling reveals itself early and forcefully. What if the conditions are perfect, the waters are still, I am listening with closed eyes and held breath, but no song comes?
My mom thinks I have too much choice. She grew up in a poor village in the poorest region of a poor country. When she was my age, she was raising two children in a house she had bought while sending money to Thailand to put her four younger siblings through school. She had no choice but to work. She has lived a life overflowing with George Saunders’s kindness. I ask her if she had any dreams. She dismisses the question.
I knew a man who had chosen to follow the muse that called when he was five years old. He pursued his work as an oil drill to an ocean floor. His life has Bill Watterson’s meaning and purpose, and he will leave behind an artistic legacy anyone would be proud of. He loves what he does. But he is not a happy person.
My instinct tells me to sit tight, that the path will reveal itself, and that I can find happiness at any time, even in this moment of frustration.
My fear says that at my age, there is no path and less serendipity; I must forge my own way.
My eyes want someone to turn the headlights on already.