It doesn’t matter if you’re a high school student staring at a pile of college applications and wondering how you’re supposed to pick a major, or if you’re a middle aged adult who’s suddenly realized you’re not as happy as you could be, knowing what you want to do with your future can be a complicated question.

There aren’t any easy answers. When it comes to deciding what they want to do with their future, I think there are two reasons that we struggle to come up with the answer. The first is that we look so far into the future. It seems like we’re constantly being told to worry about long term goals, and constantly worrying whether or not we’re prepared for retirement. There’s no getting around the fact that looking at the distant future and thinking about potential pitfalls is important, but you can’t make that you’re whole life.  If an opportunity comes along that you think will make you happy, even if just for a few weeks or months, you should grab it with both hands. Short term happiness is better than never feeling satisfied or fulfilled. Besides, you never know when one short term opportunity might lead to a long term solution that solves all of your problems. Obsession with needing to do something big or important can be a huge hindrance when it comes to being happy. Most of us focus on the idea that we need to make a splash, need to be important, that we never take a second to think about whether or not we’re happy in the moment. Isn’t it better to enjoy what we have right now, as opposed to feeling an overwhelming sense of anxiety about whether or not we’re going to make it big someday? Instead of allowing drive and an overwhelming sense of need dictate your life, you should give yourself a chance to explore your passions and allow curiosity to take you down paths you wouldn’t have otherwise explored. Once again, you never know when checking out a job opportunity in another part of the country, or in a different field than you might have otherwise considered will springboard you into a state of professional bliss. You’re going to find that pursuing your interests and possibly turning them into a career will be easier if you take the time to minimize your life. Not only will reducing the surplus from your life lower your living expenses, but you’ll also have an easier time picking everything up and moving on whenever the urge strikes you. Don’t get so wrapped up in the idea of what your life should be like that you lose sight of the things that make you happy.