I felt trapped by being career-driven
For a long time, I saw myself as a career-orientated person. You know the type. I had a clear goal of where I wanted to be, I set 5 and 10 year plans, and I had laser focus.
I achieved my goal of becoming a dentist. I graduated top of my year, I won numerous awards, I made so many contacts and I looked set to carve out a successful career in dentistry.
I should have been happy but when I started working I thought, "wait, is this it?".
I panicked. This was all I had ever done. I didn't know what else I could do, what skills I had and my degree didn't seem transferrable. It felt like a golden handcuff.
Everyone around me told me to work hard, buy some properties and wait until I could retire.
But I had already deferred by happiness by setting a goal and waiting for that day to come. Look how that turned out.
Instead, I desperately searched for a new career path, a new A to B, until I realised that I had to let go of the career mindset and stop planning so far ahead. This time I wanted to explore and and see where I ended up.
It's been almost 2 years. I don't know where I'm heading but I have more skills, more confidence and I'm the happiest I've ever been.
By exploring, I've kept an open mind and followed my instincts. I've opened my eyes to opportunities and whilst I haven't figured everything out, I now have so many options to choose from, a better work-life balance and a stronger sense of self.
A compass helps us with direction, but we decide where we're going.
Our goals can sometimes trap us on a single trajectory but we should always feel free to navigate our own way to happiness.