YOUR GUIDANCE COUNSELOR WAS WRONG: Why you don’t really have to figure it all out now

on August 1, 2011 | in What the F Should You Do With Your Life?, Work | by

You’ve got to figure it out, and you’ve got to figure it out NOW.

What the heck do you want to do for the rest of your life? What do you want to “be when you grow up?” What will define you for the next 40+ years?

The f&^%ing pressure’s on: if you get it wrong, then you’ll get the rest of your life wrong.

It’s the biggest, hardest, most important decision you’ll ever make (besides which outfit to wear and, hey, blonde or brunette?). DON’T screw it up: the rest of your life depends on it.

But wait… hold on a second.

Is this really true?

Do you REALLY have to decide right now, with 100% certainty, what you’re going to do for the rest of your ridiculously long life?

In fact, is this even possible?

And for that matter, is it even reasonable?

And lastly, when did life become this serious?

Look, guys. I’m not a guidance counselor, but I do know one thing:

It’s just a decision.

That’s right— it’s just a decision.

Sure, it may be a very important decision, but it’s far from a permanent one.

After all…

You can always change your mind.

That’s right– you can go ahead and make the best decision that you’re capable of making right now… and if it doesn’t work out as planned, you can always change your mind and try something else. It’s really NBD (that’s ‘no big deal’ for all you who aren’t in the know).


So lighten up a little. Stop thinking of it as THE decision and start thinking it of A decision. That’s right– just one decision of many that will change the trajectory of your life in some way.

All you have to do right now is make the very best decision that you’re capable of making at this time. Yes, your knowledge is limited. Yes, you’re confused as heck. But just go ahead and do the best you can do right now. And whatever you decide— well, go ahead and try it. I mean, what else can you really do, anyways?!

Uh ohhh… here comes the excuse monster.

“NBD? NBD!!!!!!!?”

Your nostrils flare with anger.

“But it IS a big deal, Therese!”

You proceed to spew excuses from your fiery dragon snout about why you can’t, in fact change your mind and why you do, in fact need to get it right, exactly right, the very first time around.

You’ll have to start all over again, you say. You’ll have wasted time and resources and ____ and ____ and ____. You won’t be able to quit. You’ll be stuck. Blah. Blah. Blah. Wahh. Wahh. Wahh.

OK, people… I get it. I really do. But close your eyes and take a deep breath.

If you start over, then you start over. That’s it, really.

Heck yes, it’s scary– but look at it this way: if it happens, then at least you’ll be able to cross one more thing off your list of “stuff you thought you might like but are now certain that you don’t want to spend your life doing.” And you know what? That means you’ll be one step closer to knowing what it is that you DO want to do.

Changing your mind… quitting your job… trying something new… in the grand scheme of things, they’re really NBD. The world won’t end, even if it seems like it will. I promise.

Don’t take life too seriously… you’ll never get out alive.

-Van Wilder (actually, the original quote is from Elbert Hubbard, but who the heck is Elbert Hubbard? Righttt.)

Of course there’s risk involved, but there’s risk involved no matter what. Whether you make the decision to be stressed the f*** out or to lighten up, there’s risk involved. Whether you make the decision to stay put in one place forever or whether you decide to try something new, there’s risk involved. No matter what, there’s risk involved. In fact, decision IS risk (and so is indecision, because think about all those things you could be missing out on).

So go ahead and make the best decision you’re capable of making right now, and then roll with it. Lighten up a little and jump on in– the water’s nice. Maybe you’ll end up staying, and maybe you won’t. But no matter what ends up happening, one thing’s for sure: you’re gonna be just fine.


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[Image credit: stevendepolo]

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