Things that Japan has taught me about myself: What am I doing with my life?!


I am at that age in my life that I feel like if I'm going to pursue a dream of mine, I'd better start now. The problem is, what is my dream? Do I even have a dream? I'm a girl that has many interests. And because of that, I suppose I have many so-called "dreams," but I don't have that ONE "dream." You know when you're a child and people ask you, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Yeah, that "dream." I don't have one.

If you asked me that question when I was 8 years old, I would have said, "A lawyer." Why? Because of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Hell yeah to breaking the stereotype that "the pretty girl" can't be smart, too.

If you asked me that question when I was 12 years old, I would have said, "I don't know." Why? I was too busy being a punk kid trying to skateboard.

If you asked me that question when I was 16 years old, I would have said, "A civil engineer." Why? Because high school led me to believe that I was good at math and physics. College later let me know otherwise.

And what did I start off college studying? Accounting. Why? Because I thought it was practical and I thought I'd have no problem finding a job after college with an accounting degree. But, I hated it. So, I changed majors to Management Information Systems. Why? Because I didn't want to waste all of the business core classes I took for accounting. I took one information systems class and liked it so I thought, "Why the hell not?"

After graduating with a BBA in MIS, what am I doing now? Teaching English in Japan. Totally putting my degree to great use right now. And if you asked me what I want to do after teaching in Japan, I'd say, "I really can't decide, there are so many things I want to do."

I definitely want to get my Masters in Business Administration. But, a part of me wants to go back to college to become a doctor. And not just any kind of doctor, a surgeon. A part of me wants to go back to school for fashion design and retail management. Because I'm so into fashion that I'd really love working in the business side of a high fashion label. A part of me wants to get a degree in journalism/creative writing and pursue a career in writing for a fashion/lifestyle magazine. Or to even freelance on the side. A part of me wants to study TV and movie production so I can be a writer or producer for a Korean variety show. But that would mean I'd have to become fluent in Korean... so, maybe not. A part of me wants to pursue a career in the golf industry because golf has been such a big part of my life. Even if I will never be good enough to be a touring pro, a teaching pro or golf course management is not out of the question. A part of me wants to just travel around the world before I get too old or too stuck in my career to do so. And a part of me just wants to quit life and sleep forever because I'm tired.

But, being in Japan has made me realize that it's okay that I don't know what I'm doing with my life, yet. I'm only 23 years old. I'm still super young and have the rest of my life ahead of me. And I realized that career really isn't the only thing that I should be pursuing to live a life that'll make me truly happy (I mean, it helps because MONEY). It's really the experiences, and the people one has those experiences with that truly creates happiness.

Japan wouldn't have been nearly as fun if I didn't make friends to drink, eat, and share laughs with. It wouldn't have been nearly as fun without those late nights rushing to make the last train home. It wouldn't have been nearly as fun if my students weren't the cutest kids ever. It wouldn't have been nearly as fun if I wasn't so blessed to have gotten great Japanese co-teachers at my schools. It wouldn't have been nearly as fun if I hadn't bonded with these teachers over what type of guys we like. And it just wouldn't have been nearly as fun without having to try to decipher lighting-fast Japanese on a daily basis, or without all of the funny miscommunications with almost every person I come into contact with. Because that's all part of this experience. And that's what I came to Japan for. To experience Japan.

Being in Japan has been great so far. I had some fun times, met some great people, but I realized that the English teacher life really isn't the life for me (lesson planning in my free time? no, thank you). But, I had to try it out. Even if teaching isn't for me, doing this has made me grow so much, as a person. Nowhere else would have allowed me to gain the experiences that I have here.

At the same time, being in Japan makes me anxious to see what my next adventure will be, because there is so much that the world has to offer. Moving to Japan, straight out of college, all by myself, gave me the confidence to explore any other path I may be curious about. And whatever path that may be, I believe it'll be the journey there that's worth more than the destination, itself.