It was another Monday morning as I typed ferociously and prepared myself for something I had been rebelling against. Waiting for the website to load, I hoped the faster I typed and copy-pasted my resume, the faster this process would go. For months I didn’t see the point of LinkedIn without a clear direction and polishing of my resume skills. Clicking on my location, I typed in my current Utah residency, but to my surprise LinkedIn wouldn’t accept my updates. Frustrated, I tried over and over again to make my changes only to be rejected. Like most computer and online programs, I was reassured by others that LinkedIn would be simple. “This is so easy to set-up,” people would explain. I was told this about Back-up Buddy, Google Analytics Plug-in for WordPress, and Facebook Publisher, all programs I recently struggled with, uncertain of why they failed to work. It seems I can’t figure anything out, and with people constantly asking what I’m doing next careerwise, I was hitting my head on another road block. When would I have my life figured out? When would I finally have my life together?
Indecisiveness was nothing new to me. Since declaring my major in Technical Theatre, I knew part of me loved working backstage and in the Costume Shop, but part of me always wanted more. At twenty-three I quit theatre after completing an internship in Oregon and my map returned me to Denver, Colorado. Struggling to find work since most employers didn’t understand how to translate my experience into an actual job and why I had only worked temporary jobs, I finally began working retail and sewing jobs until a theatre opportunity arrived. I eventually found my path among cities near Denver, occasionally returning to Southern Utah for seasonal and temporary theatre work. I began playing with the idea of graduate school over and over again, occasionally plotting my map to lead me to Ohio or North Carolina for the best M.F.A. programs in Costume Construction. Something still didn’t fit, so somewhere after working at a theatre in San Diego, I changed routes.
This took me even further to Peru and somewhere after that back to Denver. At this point, I did something I hadn’t really done before, I stopped planning and thinking about a course. Rather than doing what I usually do and consult Google Maps when I’m lost, for the first time I had no clear pathway. Returning to my parents in Utah to temporarily reset and change course, I sometimes feel like I’m that recent college graduate struggling to show everyone what I’m capable of and how activities outside of work have taught me everything from social media to graphic design to communication. Friends and family ask me what’s next, and I have no clear road map to show them.
A discussion with a relative is yet another turning point when she exclaims, “You still don’t know what you want to do with your life?!?” Rather than quietly mumble, I ask her what she decided to do at my age. As she retells her map of Utah, Hawaii, Taiwan, and the Midwestern United States, I begin to see I’m not the only one who changes directions. Looking at others’ roadmaps, no one seems to have stayed on one specific pathway. Some have departed on international journeys, others have taken back roads and scenic routes, and some have gone on roundabouts only to loop back around to where they started. For the first time I don’t feel inadequate, and getting lost is completely normal. It seems that when you stop looking at the map, that’s when you discover where you need to go next.
Returning to my computer, I refresh my webpage hoping a reset is all I will need to get LinkedIn back on track and working properly. Fingers crossed, I begin my work and to my relief, my changes to my profile are accepted and the program is running smoothly like a plane soaring through the air without turbulence. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who is figuring something out. A few days later, I can hear my parents discussing arrangements for us to return home after my mom’s epic road trip for us through National Parks in Wyoming and South Dakota. Some people would think it’s crazy they’re finally planning our last trek through Colorado a few days before the beginning of our trip. With two people who have different ideas about what they want, planning a trip is no easy task. However, they manage to make arrangements and before I know it the day before our take off arrives. We may not always have everything figured out well in advance, but we’ll find a way to get where we need to go.
This post is a part of Weekend Travel Inspiration hosted by Reflections Enroute, The Crowded Planet, Contented Traveller, Albom Adventures, Safari 254, Families Go! and Malaysian Meanders and Little Things Thursday hosted by Little by Little.