As I celebrate my graduation this week, I thought I’d share this amazing Op-Ed Column by David Brooks from the New York Times. The column was published around this time last year, and I’ve sent the link to many relatives and friends since. Much of what Brooks writes resonates with my experience.
So often young people are pressured to figure out a plan for their lives. I wish more people told them that life will often provide them with paths they could not have possibly envisioned on their own — and certainly not at 16 or 20.
My job after college was one I didn’t even know existed until I stumbled upon it. But it was a perfect fit, and I wound up developing my career in that field for the better part of my twenties. I learned so much from that experience, gaining a series of professional skill sets, and growing tremendously as a person.
It seems to me that the life we carve for ourselves is often an amalgamation of the interests we bring to the table and the unexpected openings and callings life provides. That the key is to stay in touch with who we are and also to remain open-minded enough to embrace opportunities that we did not foresee.
As I finish my graduate degree, people ask me all the time what’s going to be next in my life. I know the answer — but only in part. I know I’ll focus on finishing my manuscript. But I’ll also be opening myself up to my next calling — to the path I haven’t yet discovered, but that I know I’ll recognize.