“So what are you going to do now?”
“What would you do if you could do anything?”
“What are your goals? Dreams? Purpose?”
“Do you have a plan?”
These are the questions I dread. I’m 45 years old and I can’t answer any of them yet. I think maybe I will be able to someday. I hope. But for now I just make up answers that seem likely to silence the person asking in the shortest amount of time. Because when I answer honestly, and try to explain what’s going on in my head, I rarely get nods of approval. Mild bewilderment is the best result I can hope for.
But this weekend I was not being asked these questions.
I was asking these questions.
Me. Asking these questions of a 25-year-old I know well enough to know he doesn’t have the answers. He’s going through some major life changes right now and even if he wasn’t – he’s a wanderer. Like me.
Here’s what I wish I had said:
“You may feel lost, but you are not lost. You are right where you are meant to be at this moment in your life. You may not have anything figured out, but don’t let the pressure around you to make socially acceptable decisions keep you from doing the important work you are doing. You are an explorer, delving into the greatest mystery you will ever encounter – your own soul. You might figure it all out someday. But not if you force yourself to commit to what is easy to explain to the people around you. You need to get moving. Do things. Stuff your backpack full of your talents and skills and prepare to get callouses on your feet. Visit goals and dreams you’ve always wanted to explore. But don’t pick a destination until you are sure that is where you truly want to live. It takes some of us longer to find that place. And that’s the way it should be.”