I can remember as a middle schooler, slouched on my red beanbag chair, dreaming of what high school would be like. By the time I was a junior, I studied the college class catalog as if it were a textbook. I didn’t know what color my parachute was but I knew that I wanted to take ALL the classes. Each one sounded so interesting. I passed on choosing a five year degree because, well, no way I needed to be in college longer than absolutely necessary. Then it just became a to-do list.
College degree, check.
Breakthrough job in my competitive field in a big city, check.
Grad school, check.
Working another 12 years in my field, my career seeped under my skin and became my identity.
I always have set my sights on what’s next, worked diligently to get there, and achieved my goal. Rinse and repeat. A pattern that’s always worked well and garnered positive results. A hard habit to break, indeed.
About a year ago, anxiety started to creep in as I realized the vision has run out. Not only which new goals to achieve and which ones matter, but who I envision myself to be. Who am I, if not who I am at my job? And am I who I want to be, while I’m at my job?
For a long time, I pursued my North Star because I knew what I wanted and had a path to get there. Now as that bright light starts to dim like Betelgeuse in Orion’s constellation, I’m exploring not what my next shiny object is, but discovering my guiding light.