As a kid I always wanted to be a school teacher. I used to gather my teddies, sitting them in an organised manner like a classroom. I would proceed to read from my own school books and ‘teach’ them.
Later I became obsessed with crime shows, especially CSI. I was so obsessed that my dream job changed and I decided I wanted to be just like the investigators in the show.
I remember one year for my birthday I got my very own CSI kit complete with cotton tips to swipe up blood (which was really just tomato sauce) from the ‘scene’ and baby powder to dust finger prints, along with other crime fighting necessities.
For a solid five or so years this was my destined path, or at least what I thought my destined path was.
My interests changed when I came across the Aussie drama Sea Patrol. And so little 10 year old Cartier no longer wanted to be a CSI but rather a Navy officer – more specifically a helicopter pilot for the Australian Navy.
I bet you’re thinking, ‘really Cartier? You based your future career on a TV show?’
While I know TV isn’t the same as reality, and it’s likely being in the Navy was nothing like how it appeared on Sea Patrol, this dream stuck with me for years to come.
Most people chop and change their dream jobs every couple of years, falling in and out of passions and interest. Not me though.
I had it all figured out from the age of 10; I’d join ADFA (the Australian Defence Force Academy) straight after high school, complete my university degree with them while simultaneously training for my dream job as a Maritime Aviation Warfare Officer.
I held onto this plan for years – throughout my primary and secondary schooling, even up until days after I finished school.
If you read my high school year book in the section that says “where do you see yourself in 10 years time” you’ll see my answer: a helicopter pilot in the Australian Navy.
It’s now been almost four years since I completed high school.
Did I stick by the plan I had originally set out for myself? Did I follow a path I was so convinced I would be on from the age of 10?
Well, I never joined the Defence Force Academy so I guess there’s your answer.
In the briefest of moments I threw all of the planning and preparation I had in my mind for seven years out the window. With a snap of my fingers that plan was gone.
When I pick up my high school year book and read my answer to the 10 year question, it makes me teary eyed to know that I’m no longer on that path – a path I was so eager to pursue.
No one ever tells you that the path you write for yourself initially has the possibility of being washed away in a split second.
Everyone expects you to know what you want to do with your life, what you want to study etc. as soon as high school is over.
How can a 19 year old be expected to make such a big decision when they’ve barely lived, barely experienced what the world has to offer?
If I wasn’t going to fulfil my life time dream of joining the Navy, then what the hell was I going to do?
All I really knew was that I had to go to uni. I didn’t know what I wanted to do anymore. I didn’t even know what I was going to study.
For so long I was set on one path that I never planned or gave a second thought about planning an alternative path for those ‘just in case’ situations.
While my school companions were starting uni back in England I was still trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do.
English and writing had always been a strong point of mine during school and some how, for reasons unknown to me, a split decision was made over lunch one day that journalism would be my chosen field to study at university.
At the mere age of 10 I left Australia to live overseas, with all intentions on returning later in life to fulfil that Navy dream.
Nine years later, I made my way back home on a one way ticket. I may have originally let Australia knowing what I was going to do with my life, but now I was returning with absolutely no clue.
19 and on a path different to the one I had planned out, I was just beginning my journey of finding myself.
It was four months until I would receive my acceptance letter for uni. And in that short four months two things happened: one, I met Jordan; two, I added another career path to my already confused mind.
I become what I guess you would call a gym junkie; I struggled to find work and while waiting to find out if I had been offered a place at uni I found myself going to the gym every day, sometimes even multiple times just to fill in the hours.
After having numerous people ask me for help with their fitness training, it dawned on me that maybe this was something I was good at.
I went from having no paths to now having two: a path of journalism and a path of fitness. I wasn’t willing to give either of them up, so I did what I thought was best and for a good 14 months I struggled down the path of studying two courses simultaneously.
I finished my fitness course and entered the fitness industry working in several gyms while I completed my uni degree (journalism).
Well, three years later and I’m done with my Bachelor of Journalism too.
So now I’m qualified in two fields. But why stop there? A month after completing uni I decided to embark on another career path – opening my own business making candles.
Facebook and LinkedIn continually remind me of my classmates working with big name publications such as ABC and Channel 9, making it big in the world and pursuing only one career (like most normal people do).
I can’t help but compare their situations to mine. More often or not I see my classmates as having succeeded in life; finding a full time job, sticking by it and doing adult things.
Then there’s me, a clueless twenty-something-year-old who doesn’t know what she wants to do so she does three things at once.
I get a lot of puzzled looks when I tell people what I do – that I have no full time job; I work as a personal trainer in a gym on a casual contract; I have a travel blog that I am desperately trying to make something of but make no money from (at this stage); and I’ve recently started my own candle business. Followed quickly by the notion that that’s a lot of avenues to be pursuing, well the simple reason I do what I do is because I don’t know what I want to do in the long run.
When I was a child I thought knowing what you wanted to do or be came easy when you were an adult.
I thought that as soon as you hit that magical age of 18, or entered your twenties at least, something clicked inside of you to tell you what to be and do.
I’m four months away from turning 23. I still have no idea what I want to do.
What I do know though, is that while my ‘occupation’ or situation may not seem ideal or the norm to most of you – hell it might seem bloody crazy to be pursuing so many avenues – my biggest success has been having the strength to break said norms and do as I please, even if that means not having a full time corporate job and dipping my toes in and out of the fitness world, candle making business and trying to make it in the world of travel bloggers.
I may not succeed at them all, but at least I can say I tried.
I mentioned earlier that two things happened in the four months of me returning to Australia and getting my uni offer, I briefly touched on one (the fitness path coming to life) but I haven’t mentioned anything about the other, Jordan.
Before I came back to Australia I never really knew where I would end up after uni, I certainly never thought I’d be living in Geelong, let alone with a guy I met in a small country town randomly.
So even though 2014 saw the path of the Navy and helicopters dissolve into nothing, it was also the year I unknowingly created a new path for myself; one where four years later I’d be moving cities for a guy whom I’d share big plans of packing our bags and travelling the world together at the end of 2018 with.
For a while I used to think that I had failed at life because I couldn’t lock down a single job or passion, then I realised while I may be up at unconventional hours of the morning to make sure other people get their daily exercise done, at the end of the day I’m my own boss and I have the ability to say ‘see you later’ to any of my jobs at any time to follow my one true passion: travelling the world.
And if that makes me happy, then I guess you could say I’m succeeding in life rather than failing.
If like me you’re still feeling a bit clueless as to what path to follow in your life, consider these three things:
- Follow your dreams – even if they change along the way, and even if you have more than one don’t let other people’s ideas of what you should and shouldn’t be doing make your decisions for you.
- Just be happy – be proud of what you’re capable of and your own successes. Life isn’t about making millions of dollars, or slugging away at a 9-5 job that you hate – don’t put up with something just because someone tells you you should, do something because you love it and it makes you happy.
- The secret of getting ahead is getting started – Agatha Christie.
Stay tuned because who knows, in five years I might have changed my career path yet again!