Few years back we went to Zion national park in Utah. We hiked on a mountain in the scorching 80 degree heat. The destination was the “upper pool” a small body of water with a sandy beach. As we reached there, we savored the moment of achievement by cheering and taking pictures. But my 6-year old and her friend didn’t seem to care – they got something more exciting – the wet sand!
To a 6-year old the wet sand and the possibility of sand castles seemed much more fascinating than my measure of achievement. We often forget that – instead of finding our own unique aspirations – we limit ourselves by the “socially established” ones.
Many of my clients say during the early years they were guided by the parents/guardians – what to do next, what major to choose all were decided for them to go after. Now that all those checklists are done, they feel lost. “I don’t know what I enjoy doing, never thought of that” – Ashok, a specialist physician in his early 30s mentioned this during our session few months back. He seemed quite hopeless that it was already too late for him to ponder upon this basic question. “This has been bugging me for the last five years, why didn’t I realize it before”- he uttered in a great despair.
We shared a moment of silence. “How do you want to live your next 30-40 years” – I gently offered him a cue. “Yeah… need to do something about it” –Ashok murmured as if he was talking to himself. It was a huge shift for him. After that day our sessions were mostly about generating ideas on taking small steps to search for his own aspirations for the coming years.