Senior year is lingering. The days are dwindling until I have my last move-in, my last first run test of the year, my last August in the Florida sun. So many things I will not have the privilege to do at this time next year. My final year as a college undergrad has snuck up on me so quickly I’ve been unable to process it. I can’t help but think about the fact that this time next year, I will have my life a little more figured out. Right now, that seems impossible.

“What am I doing with my life? How did I even make it to senior year? Do I like doing this? Is this me?” I think it’s safe to say each and every one of us reach stopping points in our lives where we second-guess our decisions. I’ve been there numerous times throughout the course of my life. I vividly remember the first time this happened to me in high school where I was questioning whether or not I’ll accept a division one lacrosse scholarship. Which college should I go to? Is it too far from home? Wait, do I even want to play lacrosse in college?

Though I’ve had many moments of clarity, happiness, and satisfaction, the recurring self-questioning has been a continued thread throughout my life. I want to live a full life, experience as much as I can, and have helluva lot of fun doing it. So when I wake up some days and question myself, “What else is there? Am I doing what I love? Is this what I’m supposed to be doing?” I am not surprised. Recently, someone asked what makes me happy. “What are you passionate about?” she questioned. I sat in silence as my mind filtered through my past – likes and dislikes – searching for an answer. It was easy to think of things I dislike: lines, Times Square, country music, going to bed without ice cream…just to name a few. On the other hand, there are many things that excite me and make me happy: the ocean, sports, my friends, travel, being home. But, things that I’m, “passionate,” about? That was more difficult than I expected. Ten years ago I would easily rattle off a long list of things that I was passionate about – my family, friends, art, love, Free People, nature, travel, music, & sports. But as I’ve lived and worked through different experiences first hand, my passion for certain things changes. It’s not that I am less passionate, per se, rather I am more focused.

I’ve become more experienced in each of those subjects than I was ten years ago. So with experience, comes knowledge, and self-awareness. For example, if you would’ve asked me ten years ago what my career would be, I would say something to do with celebrities… no-brainer. But as I’ve grown up, the added knowledge leads to a sense of self and honing in on my passions. I love celebrities, but now I’ve realized I’m far too introverted to interact with large crowds and strangers on a regular basis. I’m not any less passionate about the entertainment industry. I just have a more defined passion because of this acquired knowledge.

Some of my friends have it figured out. They are set to be doctors, lawyers, artists, photographers, and business owners – with distinct paths, clear vision, and a focused passion. I tell myself that I too, have it figured out. I want to be a creative director. I will work in an advertising agency. But so much of it is still ambiguous. Will I go to graduate school? Will I become an account executive or will I work on the creative team? What if I decide I don’t like the agency life? Will I live in New York City the rest of my life? Sometimes I am rather hard on myself for not knowing my “passion path” and meandering on off-road detours. But when I find myself starting to second-guess past decisions, I remind myself it all takes time. Life is a process of learning, experiencing, living through mistakes, making hard decisions, and exploring our passions. It’s one exhausting, fun, painful, and joyful ride, but it’s our ride and we will get there, in our own time. 

@joannarentz @freepeople
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