The other day I received an envelope from an organization that my mother visits from time to time. It contained beautifully painted greeting cards and bookmarks and gift envelopes, but not just any ordinarily painted cards, they were done by mouth and foot painting artists. Kids, younger than me, who had no hands, unlike me, but who could create such masterpieces with just their feet and mouth! I can barely walk straight and I have food constantly spilling off my mouth every time I gorge into a burger, let alone be able to hold a paintbrush. Even though I knew that they were in quite an unfortunate place in their lives, it didn’t stop me from feeling less of a person, even if only for a split second.
We, as a very impressionable species, are constantly subjected to overachievers, whizz kids, multi-talented artists and basically anyone who has reached someplace in life. And we can’t stop gaping in awe at how these people are able to do the things they do. More often than not, it leaves us feeling a little mellow. To watch everyone around just know what they want to do. Or where they want to be in the next 5 years. They have it all chalked out for themselves, have started applying to colleges abroad, or made a profitable job transition in just 2 years of starting out. We’re left wondering why! Why can’t I just know what I want to do? How is it so easy for everyone else but me? How does it just work out when someone else tries but I fail at anything I put myself to? How will I know?
Let me tell you, its fine to not know.
You may feel like you’re the only one who hasn’t figured it out yet. Like everyone around you is moving forward but you’re stuck in a rut. Like everyone other than you was provided with a blueprint of their life plan and that’s how they know what their next step should be, but you lost yours somewhere on the way. It’s easy to feel this way, thoughts like these take a millisecond to crop up. Our minds are over-analyzing, comparative machines. We have a constant need to feel better than someone else. And when that doesn’t happen, we feel worthless in an instant.
Sometimes, it’s fine to be stuck in a rut. It’s fine to not have a concrete plan in place. It’s fine to just go with what life throws at you, taking up every challenge as it comes. It’s fine to not know. A little uncertainty won’t kill you. It’ll only reinforce the belief that life is full of uncertainty and all we are capable of doing is having a good attitude through it all. It’s alright to admit that you’re still looking for that one thing that would keep you grounded. It’s alright to not be able to talk highly of your work, just because all your friends do.
Just remember to not remain dormant for too long. While it’s fine to not know, it’s not fine to not do something about it. You can’t afford to be lazy with this one short life that you’re given. It’s up to you to make the most of it, either doing what you always knew you’d do or by doing something completely irrelevant to it.
The concept of being stuck is in our head. It is we who think we should have a better job or should be sitting in a different class right now. We may be doing the best work that we can and still feel like it’s not enough. Or we can be doing something just to while away the time and it would still satisfy us at the end of that day. It all begins with us.
So, it really doesn’t matter if you don’t know where you’re headed, as long as you’re fine with where you are. Plans don’t always materialize the way we wish them to. So who’s to say you won’t end up being a brilliant painter just coz you didn’t join art school after 12th grade.