What I’ll Be When I Grow Up

Jokes everyone, I’m grown up already and I’d argue that I have been for a while. If 26 isn’t grown-up, I don’t know what is!

But, recently I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to do when I finish uni… and the more I think about it, the more depressed I get. I have a little under twelve months before I finish my BA next October/November, and, not surprisingly, what in the world I’m going to do after that’s all ticked off has been on my mind. I’m not feeling great about it.

When I started studying, I felt pretty strongly that I knew what I wanted to do when I finished; I wanted to work in the publishing industry. Preferably as an editor in a large publishing house (or a small one), or maybe instead as a freelance editor… something along those lines that would enable me to continue working with language and books. Now, however, I’m not so sure. The more I look into the publishing industry, the more it seems that publishing houses don’t actually do that much editing/book development. Having won a 10-minute Skype call with a literary agent, I had the chance to ask a few questions, and learned that, typically, it’s with literary agents that much of a book’s developmental work is undertaken… But I don’t think that I want to be a literary agent.

I’m also pretty sure that I don’t want to be a teacher. I think I’d find it incredibly frustrating and I think it would burn me out… especially since in order to teach, I’d have to spend another year at uni doing a masters in education or something similar, and I’m reaching the point where I just want a break from studying.

I’ve spent some time looking at the ideas of freelance writing in various guises, and keep coming up against the same issue: I have no real area of expertise to write about. I have a lot of thoughts about things, but I’m not a foodie, I’m not a wine drinker. I’m not a photographer, or a tech-y person, I’m not a parent, or very funny, or passionate about beauty and fashion. In short, in all of the differing spaces I’ve looked, I just feel like I have no worthwhile experience or information to contribute to all of these blogs out there. My own blog doesn’t get much traffic, which speaks volumes to my capacity to engage and entertain a readership, and that’s not exactly encouraging when you’re trying to imagine pitching to other blogs. So, right now, I’m not feeling like freelancing is looking like a great option (see what I mean about getting depressed while going through this process? You’re probably depressed after this much too).

I’ve googled education, public relations, journalism, human resources… I’m running out of brainwaves, and I wonder if part of the problem is that I’m not 100% sure what I want (precisely the problem that landed me in the military in the first place, funnily enough). I know—or I think I know—that I want something to do with what I’ve spent the last three years studying: English and Writing. The thing is, the applications for those kinds of skills are incredibly broad, which is both good and bad. Good, because theoretically you could do anything! Bad, because I have no amplifying skills to help me do anything and literally minus 10 of an idea how to get started and get a foot in the door.

I think I feel a bit overwhelmed and ‘underachieved’ (not actually an adjective, I’m aware) right now, and that’s generating this feeling of being lost. I have all of these areas in my life that I’m passionate about and interested in, that I want to (and try to) devote my time and energy to: my grandad’s bio, my own novel, my array of short stories and commensurate competition entering streak, my training, university… and yet I feel like none of them is really going very well. Life seems to operate in cycles, and I feel like I’m in a slump where it’s hard to make myself do things: it’s hard to write blog posts because it seems pointless, it’s hard to work on writing because who will ever read my work or when will it be good enough, it’s hard to put the effort in with uni because uni has just become this endless slog of essays and complicated readings. I guess this is where the strength of habit over ‘motivation’ comes in and shows its value, because all I can do is keep doing and see where it takes me.

And hey, at least I got a blog post out of this one, right?

–Ana.

Comments

6
  1. I can completely relate to this post Ana and still find myself going through it – given that I’m 44 I’m not sure if telling you that will give you comfort or terrify you further! Even after twenty years plus of working I’m still very unsure if I’m doing what I should be doing and at times it can become overwhelming (at which point even the things you love like writing etc. can seem like a chore). It doesn’t stay like this constantly – I think this time of year tends to accentuate it though because you get the sense of a long year (and in your case quite a tough one) weighing on you. And if all else fails finish on a positive blog note like you just did 🙂

    • Haha I hear that a lot from everyone, that you never quite know what you want to be, so that at least is reassuring. I agree with this time of year seeming to make it harder: as always, thanks for coming along and giving me a boost at just the right time! 🙂

      • I saw an old friend over the weekend and we chatted long and hard about being grown ups – we agreed that we’re going to think about it again in our fifties 🙂 Glad my timing was good – hope you’ve had a great weekend!

  2. I’m so sorry you’ve been dealing with this, Ana. The whole “figuring out what to do with your life” thing is never fun, especially when the world is wide open, but you have no idea what to do next. I dunno if you’re interested, but have you ever thought about working as a personal trainer or writing for a fitness blog? Because your advice always kills it and your knowledge is incredible, not to mention your own fitness journey inspiring. Just an idea.

    I know you’ll find something incredible. Don’t give up hope, yet. I believe in you!

    • Thanks Nicole 🙂 I think I’m just down at the moment, not 100% sure why, but just a bit ‘meh’. Haha yeah I have thought about it and I’m qualified as a PT, but I just really don’t want to do that, especially not as a career. Just the thought of it makes me feel ick :p I know it’ll be ok, just some days, it’s like… Argh. Anyway, I hope you’re well: I’ll reply to your email this week!! x

      • Trust me, I get that. And sometimes, you don’t even need a reason why you’re feeling meh. Sometimes, it’s just there and that’s the way the mood falls, you know? I read your reply and I promise I will respond soon. And I know you got this, even when it doesn’t feel like it. <3

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