I don’t think it’s a question of liking or disliking it…
It was the one thing he was best at.
Hmmm, I see. She pondered this. But that might very well be the best way to live your life. What’s the one thing you can do best?
I don’t know. He looked straight at her. I honestly have no idea.
1Q84, Haruki Murakami
Do what you like, make sure you have a job that is something you love, you will only be happy if you have lots of money, go to uni and get a real job or your whole life will be ruined, whatever you do don’t waste your time, make sure you can look back on your life fondly, you only live once, live each day like it’s your last, be rich, buy a house, work hard, harder, harder…
But maybe the best advice is just to do what you can do the best.
But maybe that’s only if you know what it is that you can do best.
The other day somebody asked me where I think I will be in ten years. Whenever I have been asked that question before (and I have) my answer has been a jokey fob-off, an ‘I don’t know, hahaha, does anybody?!’ I was, essentially, moving that conversation away from the ‘about me’ without answering any questions ‘about me’. But when a girl at work asked me the other day I was honest. I thought and considered and I told her I had absolutely no idea.
Maybe I’ll have a baby, maybe I’ll be overseas, maybe I’ll be writing more and coffee-making less, maybe I’ll be doing exactly what I am doing now, maybe I’ll be studying, maybe I’ll be living in a yurt on a paddock and growing organic vegetables… all of these are definite possibilities. But is one more likely than the others?
After twenty-five years I still don’t know what it is that I can do the best. And I still don’t know what it is that I ‘want to do with my life’. But I’m pretty happy with what I am doing now, and what I have done so far.
Ten years is a long time. Ten years ago I was giggling about boys and wearing a bikini for the first time, nervously waiting tables and even more nervously dropping boiling pots of tea all over the place. Ten years ago I had been to Bali and all I wanted to do was finish school and explore the world.
Twenty years is a longer time. Twenty years ago I wanted to be a chef an artist and an author. A very ambitious five year old. In various incarnations, I still want to ‘be all of those things’. I still want to explore the world.
And now? I want to save the world, grow my own vegetables, live conscientiously (learn how to spell conscientiously without spell check), keep bees. And do all the things my younger selves were passionate about.
Maybe life is just about collecting things you want to ‘be’ and then adding them, in whatever way you can, to your allocated time on the planet. Maybe we take everything a bit too seriously. Maybe it would help us to remember that we are just clusters of cells, stuck to a rock, spinning eternally through a universe so big we cannot comprehend it.
Whatever we are, whatever advice we choose to listen to or ignore, whatever we find ourselves doing with the time we spend on this spinning rock, I think it’s important to remember that it really is a short time. It’s a short time, you only get one go of it, and it is probably a bit of a waste to spend it stressed about what you should be doing.
But I don’t know. I’m just some girl who doesn’t know where she will be in ten years. And unless I become a soothsayer I’m pretty sure I never will.