Ever since childhood, I had a vague notion that I wanted to be a writer.
I carried the idea with me through college. And although I was always writing short stories and even novels, I never gave much thought to how to develop my dream.
I think I just assumed that I’d become a novelist, or a newspaper columnist, or maybe an advertising copywriter. Some opportunity would magically manifest right when I needed it, and I’d end up with a high-paying and personally rewarding career.
Not surprisingly, that didn’t happen.
My lack of focus was frustrating in college. It seemed like everyone else was preparing for a dream career, while I was just writing funny stories and hoping for the best.
I always worked hard and performed well academically, but I never had a clear vision of the future – of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be.
I think I hoped that when I got older, all the cards would simply fall into place. One day, I’d wake up with a clear idea of what to do with my life.
Not surprisingly, that hasn’t happened, either.
I’m in my thirties, and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. My vision of the future is as fuzzy now as it was when I was a kid.
My goals are unfocused. My ambitions are murky. Looking toward the future is like peering through the bottom of a Coke bottle.
I know a couple of things, though. I know that I like to write, and I know that I like to make people laugh.
And … well, that’s sort of it.
That’s not a clearly defined objective; that’s a muddy quagmire.
What do I do with that?
Going through life, we all watch people succeed. Some get promotions. Others get book deals. Some figure out exactly what they want to do, and then they go out and do it.
I’ve always admired those people. They have determination, drive – focus. They got it together. They know exactly what they want.
And I’ve always lamented that I’m not like them. I don’t have that pristine vision – that clarity of thought.
I have no idea what I want or how to achieve it.
At least that’s what I’ve always thought. But now I’m not so sure.
Maybe you don’t need a clearly defined goal to be happy, or to succeed. Maybe the desire to succeed is enough.
That and the determination to actually try.
If you want something in life, you have to start somewhere. You have to choose a road, even if you don’t know where it leads.
That’s the beauty of life. There are so many options. It’s not just a linear path. It’s a labyrinth of corridors that branch off in all sorts of directions.
And oftentimes, where you end up is better than what you ever could have imagined.
So yes, my objectives are still vague. I like to write, and I like to make people laugh.
And for now, maybe that’s enough. You have to start somewhere. You have to take the first step.
If I pursue that goal – as obscure and vague as it is — I don’t have to have a clearly formed vision of the outcome. I just have to have a desire to succeed.
So I’m going to keep writing. It’s a step. It’s a start.
And brick by brick, it’s going to help pave my path to a successful future.
That much, at least, is clear.