Do What You Want to Do

A charge to my fellow twenty-somethings: Do what you want to do.

Like many of us millennials who live in the fishbowl lens that is social media, I find myself comparing my success and my path to that of my peers. I’m sure this isn’t a new problem, however we now have more immediate access to whatever our coworkers, friends, family, and peers are doing and the lives they are living, and this content they are sharing is highly curated.

People don’t often put things on Facebook that are boring or mundane, or at least not as much as before. Now, Instagram photos show European travels and tropical vacations, sunset pictures with significant others, and beautifully decorated apartments that seem way out of our price range.

Tweets are clever, and shared by other unknown members of Twitter, with each “retweet” seeming like a stamp of approval. We spent our high school and college years on Facebook, broadcasting our daily lives for better or for worse, and anyone of our peers could have access and like or comment on our experiences, just as we could with their experiences.

It can be disheartening. For me, it’s almost crippling.

My self-doubt has been fed by these intangible images and I’ve felt frozen in place. I continuously  felt that I would never get where I wanted to be. One thing I didn’t stop to see was that aside from the fact that I was comparing myself to certain fantasy images, I was also not taking any action to move myself otherwise. I decided it was time to do exactly what I wanted to do.

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This happens to be something you can achieve in a short-term and long-term period of time. For example, after a long workweek where I speak on the phone most of the day, I’m often too tired on Friday nights to go out and be social. My ideal Friday night would be one where I come home, take a walk or maybe even run (if I am feeling crazy!) and then cook myself a nice dinner and spend the rest of the evening reading.

I’d be in bed by midnight and have a full eight hours ahead of me with no need to set an alarm. Doesn’t that sound nice? For me, it was a dream. Then I realized, I could just do that. So, I did. The result? I started waking up on Saturdays feeling more optimistic, hopeful and well-rested. I felt ready to take on the weekend in full force.

Long term, this can be a bit harder. Currently, I face the “I don’t know what I want to do” dilemma.

The good news, I’m discovering, is that I don’t have it 100 percent figured out to do something about it. I’ve tried breaking down what I’m interested in and what I can do to move towards those interests in my current place, which will ultimately lead me to where I want to go.

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So, if you want to write a novel, start jotting down ideas. Write down paragraphs and chapters. Make yourself a writing schedule and stick to it. Find what really empowers you and fuels your passion. If you want to move to a new city, begin by doing research about the area, the expenses needed to cover the move, and how you’ll support yourself once you get there. If you feel like you want to take a solo backpacking trip, start by reading travel blogs (this is a scenario where our peer’s first-hand experience can help us!), map out a budget, then take out a map, then put yourself on it.

My quest, as well as what I urge yours to be, is to find what I like to do, what I want to do, and then do it.

It seems so simple, yet I know and have experienced how hard it can be to put words on paper or ideas into actions. Here we are, in our twenties, where we are newly facing the world and ourselves. We can make the decisions to do what we want, all we have to do is decide. Don’t apologize, don’t explain, just do.