Before you run the race to success, you must first run through the hurdles. After I finished studying culinary arts I found myself asking, “Now what”? At that time, I already had four years of in-depth corporate working experience with the top hospitals in Saudi Arabia, so as a fresh grad from another course, I suppose I was a little ahead over other new graduates based on my work experience, but I began to feel restless and I gave myself a deadline what I should be doing by the age of 30. I have a passion to pursue. Like in my previous jobs, I hadn’t expected them to come right away, but neither did I think I’d still be doing the same thing years later. For some time I didn’t know what to do next and my goals were pushed back further.
That’s the problem about wanting too many things at the same time. Unlike in the books or movies like Eat, Pray, Love where Elizabeth Gilbert took the time off to travel and seek her purpose in life, others—or most people—tend to stay where they’re at while realizing that their dreams won’t come true in a snap or even after two or three years. Yet, I wasn’t ungrateful for what I had. My previous mentors (a.k.a. tough bosses and co-workers) are the best in their field and I was thankful that I received professional training under them, but I have big dreams for myself and my family. I wanted to take charge of my own path.
I’m pretty sure a lot of people have their own moments of anxiety or quarter-life crisis, whether it comes before you’re about to work on your dream or while you’re already at it. It’s that feeling that we’re somehow stuck in a rut and not fulfilling the goals we have set to achieve. Once in a while I still find myself feeling this way, afraid that I might stagnate and run out of time to finish what I’ve started, but I have come to accept that there’s no perfect life and there’s no deadline to success.
Here are a few things that I’ve found helpful:
1. Dream it, want it, chase it, and it will be yours:
Back in the day, I thought I will have a career on stage. I was very active in our school programs, always present during singing or dance gigs. Although academics were my top priority, a part of me thought I belong under the spotlight. Then I came to a conclusion that the route to being a performer was not for me when I couldn’t find time to hone my talents, and my parents strongly declined against it. I did not dwell on self-pity though nor did I see it as a lost cause. I just acknowledged my limitations and drew my efforts to something I knew I would do well too, instead of insisting that I do something I may not be able to give a hundred percent at. I realized that not everything we want is meant for us, and we can’t be good at everything we want to do.