Monday, August 9, 2010

Oh the Pressure!

By a show of hands, how many of you knew what you wanted to do with your life right out of high school? How many of you stayed on that very path? Not me. I'm 38 and just within the last few years have found my true North.

How many of you found your way at 30? 40? 50 even? So many of us, I assume.

But why the pressure on our 18 year olds to have it all figured out? Why do we tell them they need to get their diploma and immediately head in the direction that will determine the rest of their life?

I'm dealing with this right now. My 18 year old son graduated. He's brilliant. He is one of the smartest and most seeking people I know. But he has no direction. I have some ideas for him, to dip his toes in the water, and he is willing. However, his father wants what he wants for him. And that's the only path he is willing to consider. Forget the fact that this child is being told that at 18 you are an adult and you have to make your own choices. Forget the fact that his father still at 40 has not found his path.

I can help. I can guide. I can hope to teach him through life experience what he wants and doesn't want. And to do that I may have to beat my head against a brick wall or two.

This 'finding yourself' at 18 is resting heavy on my heart. Apparently, finding yourself means joining the military. Or immediately jumping into a career. To me, however, finding yourself could equally be to travel, to work dead end jobs for a year and raise the money to backpack through Europe. Or sign up for a temp agency to gain a little job experience and "try on" different vocations. Or seek out your OWN true North, with the understanding that it could take awhile.

Time spent finding this path is never wasted, in my mind.


TheHappySoul said...

(((((SIS))))) Totally agree! I still haven't found my "true" path, but just recently got a little closer. I'm 34!

I certainly hope that his dad will back off and let the boy try new things and test his own waters. I'll be sending peaceful vibes to Nicolas through this time of uncertainty!


ardee said...

I wish I had had someone at 18 who told me to choose my path, or at least think about it!! I ended up in the hospitality industry for 35 years...a very thankless profession with no retirement and nothing to really show for it except a fairly decent reputation as a manager and hard worker! I use to work 90 hours a week and barely got paid for forty. My only advice to my sons is to at least think about your options and to not wait TOO long to persue them! I just do not want them to end up like me with no retirement or nestegg. LOL, I'm going to be working until I'm 90 and then I'll be too tired to travel and enjoy the fruits of my labors!

I guess though, all we can really do with our children is show by example and back them in any decision they do make about their futures.

KanYoFuse said...

Great post Robyn. So true. I vote for back packing thru Europe. I really wish that I would have done that when I was younger and could tolerate a bad mattress.

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