It’s amazing to think that a lot of people choose what they will do for the rest of their lives at the tender age of 18. This is at least the case for those that opt into university. The most astounding case is for aspiring doctors. Given how long and intense the training program is, if you don’t choose to start on the path early in life, it is very difficult to then pick it up at all. The same could also be said for other professions that have a high-level of training or licensing required e.g. engineering, other medical professionals, and business professionals.
There is no issue per-se with going down one of these paths; the issue is that more often than not, young people choose their path on a whim. Our individual explorations into different ways of living are often shallow. For example, if someone was raised around doctors, then I would be willing to bet my life savings that they pursue a life as a medical professional of some variety. It is like birds staying and living their life around a specific tree, from our outside perspective, it seems nonsensical, the world is their oyster and they can fly anywhere, yet they choose to stay put. The notion to stay within the realms of what familiar is understandable, but to my mind, seems like such a huge missed opportunity.
What then do I think is the solution to this? Exposure to different ways of living. This invariably requires people to engage with people of differing backgrounds. Not just culturally or ethnically, but also people who read different types of books, had differing hobbies, and generally possessed different values. Finding these people is probably as easy as you think, getting over the mental hurdle of putting yourself out there and joining clubs, groups, or other social forums is the difficult part. A proxy for this is to consume content (videos, podcasts, books) that you wouldn’t otherwise. Case-in-point, reading Ernest Hemingway’s memoir of his time in Paris before the release of the Sun Also Rises made me fall in love with the idea of writing for a living.
Growing up, one’s lifestyle is overlooked in favour of status badges like doing well in school and getting good opportunities. At the end of the day, how you live today in the present will always be peak-life, it is tangible and experiential, and probably a lot healthier than pining for a future outcome that is not guaranteed.