I'm a fan of the Daily Motivator by Ralph Marsden, but a statement in one Marsden's inpirational "movies" got me thinking. It said something along the lines of having had dreams when young, and about reawakening them. I didn't have dreams. I had daydreams, crazy fantasies I knew would never come true, but I had nothing that was so concrete that it could be made manifest, nothing that could be transformed into a goal. And it used to bother me. I used to wonder why I couldn't figure out what to do with my life, why others seemed to find picking a major for college or how they knew what line of work they wanted. I knew what I didn't want, but not what I did want.
I took the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) which colleges require for admission; when you take the test, you can have the results sent for free to three colleges/universities of your choice. I had absolutely no clue where to have my test results sent; I didn't know which college - if any - I wanted to attend. It made me cry. My mother said as long as I got my high school diploma, she didn't care if I went on to college. That helped relieve some of the pressure I was feeling.
I took the High School Proficiency Exam in 11th grade. If you pass it, you can quit high school (I managed to panic both my mother and guidance counselor). I took it because I was tired of school and because I was curious. The exam was very practical, asking questions about comparison shopping and balancing checkbooks and calculating fees - stuff no high school I knew of taught in any class. I passed but didn't quit school. I graduated with honors.
I was 17.5 years old, done with school, and went to work. A year later I was working for a travel agent and the office manager there - a single mother with unfashionable hair and a car that constantly conked out on her - said that if I learned the business I could end up where she was. She didn't know it, but that was the motivation I needed to go to college. I did not want to end up where she was. I went to a junior (two year) college, my major was psychology, and I graduated from those two years with honors. I still didn't know what to do with my life. I went to Norway to visit.
I ended up staying in Norway. I learned on the job and eventually (in 1990) found the work I love to do. It was practically handed to me. Since then I have worked at the same company as a hack typographer/graphic designer, doing - among other creative things - the layout on the company magazine. And never again have I felt bored with my work.
This is one reason why I say in my blog profile "Generally becoming happier and happier with each passing day, which actually makes me very happy because I thought I was destined to be miserable." And my point? I have none. I landed on the crest of a wave of life and was deposited safe and sound somewhere nice, none of it ever planned for. Does that work for everyone? No. But for those of us who are clueless, I guess I'm saying, don't sweat it. You don't have to have your life mapped out in every detail.
We are all ambitious in some area of life. Some of us have ambitions that have nothing to do with career or money or even family. You may find that a hobby or self-development is vocation enough for you. That's another reason not to worry if you hit 30 or 40 or 50 and still haven't figured out what to do with your life. Chances are, you've been doing what you were meant to do all along; it just doesn't have anything to do with a career or college degree.