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"Jack of all trades, master of none"

Growing up, I always knew what I liked and what I didn’t. Instinctually, I followed my heart to make decisions, from the subjects I was interested in, to the schools I ended up going to. That was me: motivated and driven by the whispers of my heart.


When the crucial time to pick a trade came, I decided to study design: I was always interested in the arts. 


Navigating design school and the rigorous programme was tough. The constant inferiority I felt when comparing myself to my peers, as well as the added stress of trying not to drown among a pool of talented people, made me buckle slowly under pressure. 


It was worse than I had anticipated — I assumed design school would be a place where I could let my creativity flourish, motivated by the talent of those around me to reach greater heights — but I kept feeling a dull, throbbing sense of inadequacy whenever I sat down to create something new. 


It was like a flat, grey circle of uncertainty, and I was in the middle of it, trying to grasp at an edge, trying to secure myself to something I was good at. In that grey circle, I could do most things decently well, but there would always be a few people in my classes who could do those things better than I could. 


I felt like a “Jack of all trades, master of none”.


Right after graduating, I was confronted with that same grey circle of immense uncertainty, not knowing what I should do next. I was lost in the middle of it, and whichever direction I took a step in felt like the wrong one. 


Unconfident in my competency as a designer and disoriented by the possibilities presented to me at this point in my life, that grey circle trapped me, and my thoughts were at its mercy.


My parents told me to go to university or start working. My other relatives thought (unsurprisingly) that getting a degree was the only way to go.


Really, all I wanted was some time to myself to think through what’s best for me, but all I got instead was unsolicited advice about what I should be doing with my life. 


“Don’t waste your youth! Try new things!”


“Really, you should start investing. That way you’ll have a safety net.”


“Have you ever considered taking part-time courses?”


My head started pounding with these external voices, silencing my own thoughts. The days grew long, and I grew more anxious with every waking moment. Have I peaked? Is it all downhill from here? Would I have to be resigned to something I don’t truly want to do?


It was only by making peace with the unknown and embracing the uncertainty, that I slowly learnt how to let go of these insecurities. I realised that there was a beauty in unpredictability.


Maybe there’s nothing wrong with taking the time to figure things out. Maybe that is exactly what we should be doing, all the time. 


How can anyone be so sure of what they’re supposed to do, after all? We’re human, and we don’t have time machines. We can’t predict the optimal path for life. I can’t even predict what I’ll have for lunch next week.


Going through the motions, having new experiences, embracing opportunity when it comes: eventually all of this will lead us to where we want to be. Maybe my younger self was right in following her heart and gut in making decisions. Now, for the first time in my life, I can say that I’m confident about who I am. 


With all of this said, security is not a state that stays constant once you’ve achieved it. 


It goes without saying, but as much as we enjoy good days, bad ones are also aplenty. There’s also, unfortunately, no magic pill that can make all your worries disappear. Feelings of insecurity lurk and manifest themselves in different areas of our lives, but we can learn healthy ways to deal with these passing emotions. 


That’s all insecurities are, really — clouds passing by, obscuring our vision and perception of who we truly are. Why should we let these clouds faze us? The truth is, we shouldn’t allow temporary feelings to overpower our permanent selves. 


It’s okay to feel lost. It’s okay to not have it all figured out. As long as you persevere and strive for better tomorrows, it’ll be okay.


Maybe it’s not about getting to the moon after all – it’s about seeing the beauty in the stars along the way. 


However far along you are on your spaceship’s trajectory, loved one, know this: you are not alone on this journey. ❤


Published on 30/09/2021

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