Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Checking in with What You Want

You made it.  Life is great: you have friends and a social life, your self-worth is intact, and maybe you even landed that holy grail of a job that both fullfills and adequately compensates you.  

Now what? 

Life is about more than showing up between the hours of 9 to 5pm, and if you find you have satisfied your minimum requirements of food, shelter, and the basics, you will invariably find yourself asking "What do I really want?"  Even if you have the PERFECT job, you will probably still be asking this question eventually because you are not your job.  See midlife crisis.

This might be a disconcerting feeling: As a graduate student there were times when all you wanted was a way to pay the rent, be happy, and live where you wanted.  Once you checked that off the list the last thing you wanted was more rumination about what came next.  But now that you are out, employed, happy--what do you really want?  Five years from now, where do you see your life? 

I've recently found myself wondering what I actually want in life.  Sure, I love my work, and my family life is pretty good right now.  Six months ago I would have thought myself ungrateful for starting to think about what comes next, but here I am  wondering, "Who I am beyond my job?"  

The reality is that as former graduate students we excel at this type of introspective navel gazing.  The good news is that we are well equipped once we do figure it out what we want to start pursuing it.  Maybe you want to write, or start a graduate student coaching business, or create a comic.  Either way, you know how to get started on side projects and make it happen. Afterall, you were a graduate student.