I feel lost and stressed. I am 21 and know I should be doing something with my life. I graduated from high school with no plan because I was working at a restaurant and had money to spend. The restaurant was my first job and I worked there four years, it was fun and I learned a lot about the restaurant business. I conveniently live with my parents. I don’t have to pay for anything and I have saved most of my money. Now the restaurant has closed and I am looking for another job. I am depressed and don’t feel motivated. All my friends from high school have joined the military, are married, moved out of town or going to college. I basically have no friends to hang out with. My parents have suggested many things but I just don’t know what to do. When I worked at the restaurant life seemed easy and comfortable. I feel like I don’t know how to do anything else. I don’t think I want to work in a restaurant again. Now I have had a lot of time to really look at my life and it is time for me to grow-up. I want my own place and possibly a relationship, maybe even get married. I want to make my parents proud of me but when I try to think of a plan I also create self-doubt. I am afraid I will fail and I wouldn’t be smart enough anyway. I feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Can you help me? I need some direction.
Lost and stressed,
To start, you have your life ahead of you - a life with many options and choices. It is awesome you are thinking about your future.
Even though you may not realize it, in the four years you worked at the restaurant you acquired many transferable skills. First and foremost, you proved to be a reliable, responsible employee. It also appears you are responsible with your money because you chose to save even though you are living at home. I recommend you review all of your responsibilities at the restaurant. You might find your achievements will challenge your self-doubt and fear. You have an opportunity now to research and apply for different types of jobs.
- What part of the job did you enjoy doing? What didn’t you like about the job?
- Make a two year plan. What would you like to accomplish in the next two years? Freely brainstorm all of your thoughts.
- Look at the list and categorize or prioritize them by your current interests.
- Pick one and list what it would take to achieve that goal. None of this is in stone and can always be changed. It will give you a visual place to see all your goals and interests.
- Take a course. Attend a workshop. Apply for that job. If it seems possible to achieve the goal in a time frame you set, take the first step.
- Join clubs and “meet up” groups who have similar goals and interests.
The point is just to start moving forward. Your journey through life will expose many opportunities. You are currently at a point in your life where you have an abundance of choices. No final decisions are required. So, start knocking on all the doors of opportunity.
Always look forward,