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The Advice Parents Don’t Want You To Hear

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I’ve been incredibly lucky. In fact, some may say I have a horse shoe stuck in my you know what. Let me explain: I started out wanting to be a singing and acting sensation (really, what kid doesn’t?). I took lessons, had some (minor) accolades for my work, and even got to travel to Europe on a tour! Then the time came where I was told I had to decide what I was going to study in school. I’ll admit, the LAST thing I ever wanted to do after highschool was jump into a post secondary education – infact, I was willing to do anything to avoid any more useless dictation and theory. You see, I always did well in school – you could even say above average in some classes. However, I get frustrated easily, and have a hard time forging passion for projects that have no result beyond a grading from one subjective person. The reality is: in the workplace, your work is seen by many – and there’s not always one right answer to achieve the end result. To me, school seemed like there were many ‘wrong ways’ to do something, and only one right way to get the stamp of approval. Reluctantly, I attended post secondary school. It wasn’t until after finishing that I realized the purpose was never furthering my education, but simply another opportunity to start growing up.

This brings me to a recent encounter with an acquaintance of mine. She… well,  let’s call her ‘Margarita’ for writing’s sake. Margarita had reached a point in her early twenties where she had just graduated school and had no idea what to do with herself. Parents experience empty nest syndrome after youth leave the home, and it’s my firm belief that youth have a similar sort of symptom soon after graduation. This was certainly the case for good old Marg. You see, Margarita has worked the odd job, and even has some fantastic opportunities on the horizon. Her problem? She wasn’t sure if the path she’d paved so far was one she wanted to continue on.

I think this happens to many of us early on in discovering what the world has in store for us. I jumped from job to job for many years – in fact, I can probably walk the streets of Toronto and recall a place of employment within each kilometre of travel. The truth is, everyone moves at their own pace when trying to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’. The important thing to remember is: the alphabet has 26 letters, and it’s ok if ‘A to B’ becomes ‘A to Z’.

If there’s any advice I’d be able to give to people in this situation, I think it would be this:

We constantly think that we’re in a race. A race against our peers, our family, and ourselves. We make these master plans that map out exactly how we’re going to accomplish the aspirations we have in life, yet we rarely are actually able to follow these detailed scripts. Take your time, make mistakes, and have some fun – opportunity is always around the corner but don’t just jump into it because you think you HAVE to. It’s ok to take a step back, wait tables, bartend, or work in retail for awhile just until you get things figured out. Sometimes you just have to live life until the right opportunity presents itself.

Please don’t interpret any of this as an encouragement to lose your ambition and drive, because by no means do I think that people should become complacent or simply settle. This is directed at those who know they’re destined for greatness in the world – but have yet to figure out how to unleash their strengths. Have a plan, but don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t materialize in the time period you sought out. Practise and patience mixed with progressive behaviour and positivity will take you to your destination. Many of the most successful people I know have arrived where they are after something that wasn’t in their ‘plan’ somehow bumped them off course. As it turns out, sometimes a detour is the faster way to get to your destination.

As for Margarita? I poured her another cocktail, and told her to follow her gut.

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