Do you know what you want to do with your life? – 72

PhD Life

Well, for those of you that have been following my recent posts, I have relatively exciting news for you: I remembered to order coffee this week.

I certainly needed the exogenous boost this week as it has been physically exhausting. It was a combination of long days working in the lab and extra training runs. I have added in an additional 5 km a week in my training as I have a half marathon next Sunday.

I have been accustomed to not having any breaks when I am working in the lab. Most of the time I don’t need them as I am only working for a few hours at a time, and then I go home and do some office work. This week, however, I have been running a few experiments at the same time which means I am working all day, and as I do not normally work all day in the lab, I am relatively unfit. This is my guess as to my tiredness; it could be something completely different of course.

I was so tired that last night I did not go out for drinks with my colleagues, I binge watched Ricky Gervais’ new Netflix series ‘Afterlife’. It was definitely worth a watch, and I felt as if there were lots of subplots I was missing – something that might be picked up with a second viewing.

Periodically, whenever I have a study going on – which is six months of the year – I have to go into the lab on a Sunday. I have to do this because the timings on one of my experiments mean I have to evaluate the results 48 hours after I set it up. As one of the days where I take samples is a Friday, I have to go in on a Sunday.

All I have to do is record the results, and it only takes a couple of hours, but It still means I cannot go away for a weekend during these six months. This is something that probably would not happen If I had a regular job; however, the fact that I occasionally have to come in on the weekend is a price I am willing to pay for a relatively free life. Every time I think being a PhD student is tough I remember the days where I worked in a warehouse, and am instantly reminded that my life is far better than it was, and where I could end up if I stop trying.

The reflection on where I could still be, the warehouse, is something that was brought up in a recent phone conversation with an old friend – yes, remember talking to people by voice? He has a 1st class degree from a good university, but is still struggling with that universal problem ‘ what shall I do with my life?’ I am becoming more and more convinced that for most people there is no answer to this question. Most of us drift through life choosing the best path we have available at the time, or at most trying to stack the odds toward a path we might like.

To those lucky few that genuinely know what they want to with there life from a young age and actively pursue it, I am envious. Although, I imagine there are negatives that I cannot see.

Published by Louis

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

37 thoughts on “Do you know what you want to do with your life? – 72

  1. I always end up coming back to that line in John Lennon’s song, Beautiful boy. ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.’ Somehow it seems to sum up the journey of life so perfectly: that while we’re on the road to ‘somewhere’, it’s easy to forget that we already are ‘somewhere’. I think the point I’m trying to make is that if the work you’re doing fulfils you in your ‘now’, that’s probably a good thing. ☺️ xx

    Liked by 8 people

  2. I don’t know what to do with my life… it would be nice to know what do with it… I’d want it to be of some importance to the human race, but it would probably be just a small ripple in the large lake called the universe… hahahaha…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In some ways, deciding what we want to do when we are young locks us into a path that may or may not make sense in the long run. If time and money are spent, one might feel obligated to continue in an an unsatisfying career. Or a person might just shrug and mark it as a life experience. There will most likely be a real benefit to having made the attempt.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You know that old saying – “Not the destination, the journey is what matters” – holds the gist (which is basically what “brookejcutler” already mentioned). Especially these days everyone is so much in a hurry to get somewhere that “we forget to stop and smell the flowers”. Every month I stumble across an article talking about various research how we need more sleep, how occasional idle mind is essential for our mental health and perhaps even survival…
    Occasionally I ask my father for an advice or opinion and most of the time he admits defeat how life is so much more complicated than it used to be (for our generation). So many choices, daily pressures, financial crisis, political crisis, job market fluctuation… It is increasingly harder to find a person who will be able to retire after more than 10 years at the same company. In IT people change jobs every 3-5 years. I was skeptical of that statistic until I left a company because I moved to another country and when I came back 2 years later for a visit, I recognized less than 10 people out of 30 in my old department. It is true that, that particular department has the highest rate of new-hires in the company, but still it was shocking to see in person.

    One thing I’d like to point out. Do what feels right, which is not the same what feels good. Because good and bad changes, right and wrong doesn’t. When something feels right, it might also feel good, but it will probably also be hard. At least in the beginning. That’s how you know you are on the right track. I believe if you follow that feeling by doing what feels right, at the end of the day the (clear) goal is not all that important. Because at the end of your life you will be able to look back and appreciate all those times when you followed decisions that felt right and have lead you to where you ended up.

    BTW, your Sunday work reminded me of 4 years I used to deliver newspapers at night. Workdays were 12 days in a row from Monday to the next Friday. So I had every other weekend off and no real chance to go out in the evenings (to see a friend or a movie) unless I wanted to further mess up my sleep cycle. On the good side I got 5 weeks of summer and 2 weeks of winter vacation. I learned a lot about myself during that time. What it means to wake up night after night and do the job in summer or winter, rain or snow.

    P.S. Thanks for the “Afterlife” recommendation. It has been on my list since it showed up on Netflix and I’ve heard positive words from few people.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had a paper round when I was twelve. I worked everyday before school for a year. I got paid £9 a week; when I look back on this I think it was one of the worst decisions of my life. Not becuase the pay was so poor, but becuase it meant that I was very tired at school! I would not reccomend that to anyone.

      I think the concept of ‘what to do with your life’ is flawed from the start. It makes one think along the lines of one thing, where, as you say, one thing is very unlikely.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’be read a book about a paperboy learning experience how to run a business. Some of my coworkers did this job an hour before work or school. For me it definitely builds character, persistence and time management. You have to go to sleep a bit early in order to get enough rest. If you prefer to study or have fun at night, it’s not going to work.

        I agree. Follow your passion but don’t be afraid if/when that passion changes or doubles. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great point for bringing that up, Louis! Back when I was a little fellow, I know for sure I will go as far as life, times and family finances would allow me to.

    Make it a point since it was terrible times for my family back than, I will become stronger, tougher, wiser and ever thirsty for knowledge despite of my body condition.

    This days, I would rather take the path of ‘Captain America’ at the end of Avengers..

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Just know you’re on the right path, shows, movies can wait, time don’t wait for us though.

        Listen only to the ones who love and accept you for who you are, the rest are just noises! Live your life to the fullest and reminisce in times of old (:


  6. Very interesting topic! I think we all know what we want. The problem is it is either fears or laziness which prevent us from moving that directions. I see many people around complaining that they do not know what kind of work they want. What really surprises me that they are not even working anywhere, though it would be the first step to figure out. I refer to the second group people – people with fears. I work a lot, but it is within my comfort zone. I need to take steps outside the box and work hard not in general, but work hard for my dreams. I am proud to say that this month I did more than ever. I face my fears though it is not easy and I still need to cope with them.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. If you don’t find what to want to do, you’ll just be surfing from one thing to another. I’ve changed careers 3 times in my life. Each was a new field and I loved each one. But it takes discipline. I’m retired now and have the time to create a blog for my poetry and some of my photography. Raising children and working didn’t afford me time to do that, I did write at the end of the day in my journal. In the end it’s really up to you to make a decision and pursue it. lol glad you got the coffee, good luck on the half marathon, pack those carbs in! 🌎✌🏻❤️🕊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmmm

      Well, I will try and use logic to answer this question. If I had to chose I would chose Logic and Science. But I actually believe in all four of those you have posed. I have been angry and heartbroken at the same time!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Atleast you remembered your coffee ! I am personally going through a coffee abstinence, after 5 days of experiencing severe coffee withdrawal symptoms…I am finally feeling better. Atleast now I don’t need coffee to hype myself up 😛


      1. I’m about a week in now and I feel so much better already ! Maybe you can look into experimenting with it again in future, I find that my energy level is more constant and I no longer feel sluggish in the mornings. I still drink limited amount of tea, thou.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. What should you do with your life? Live it! You don’t have to choose one thing. you don’t even have to choose ANYTHING. Maybe choose one thing at a time, but then choose another thing if you want. And it doesn’t matter what you choose to do. As Susan Jeffers explains in her book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, it’s like looking at a menu – it doesn’t MATTER whether you have the chicken or fish, it’s just a different experience. Don’t be one of those people who spent their lives working out the “right” thing, only to get to the end of their lives having done nothing. Dream! And good luck! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I find that life gives you a story / message that you otherwise not would have writing but worthy of been told and heard

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I just retired from full-time waged work and am headed to South America … I’m not officially “retirement” age yet, so I can’t start pulling on my IRA for quite a while. No matter: I have savings.

    Honestly, I think I’ll largely be content reading books, walking around and looking at things, chatting with people occasionally, and attending recovery meetings. I’m hoping I can find some volunteer work that will actually benefit the local people or other living things, and that won’t take a job away from a local. I’m not sure that “productivity” in any typical sense is my forte, although I’ve pretended so for many, many years.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Like most people I don’t know what to do with my life and there’s a chance I might never figure it out. Now is the time I’m supposed to know what I want. Choose my path. But there’s things I love to do though I’ll never have a career on it. Makes me wonder should I keep walking around in different paths, walk for miles and never get anywhere or should I take one path and walk all the way?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hey, nice post.
    Like many, I am also not sure what I want to do with my life. I am 32 and I never was sure about what I wanted. It used to bother me in my 20s for sure, especially seeing people around making big life decisions successfully. It was like I was unable to commit to an idea. And I felt it too, every day.
    But strangely, now that I am older and wiser (yes, I think I am), not knowing what I want to do with my life feels kind of okay. The same people I used to feel envious for easily making big life decisions now seem dissatisfied. I have seen people questioning their decisions, which they were so sure about that time. So, here am I dissatisfied for not being able to know what I want and there they are dissatisfied about a decision they once thought was right.
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with both. This is exactly how things are supposed to be for each one of us.
    It is a different battle for everyone, but a battle is there for sure.

    Liked by 2 people

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