It’s Okay.

Sep 08, 2016 | By New Darlings

New Darlings - Couple's Style

It’s okay to not know.

Next month my little sister (who’s not so little anymore) will be graduating from cosmetology school. That in itself blows our minds, because when Rob and I started dating, she was only eight years old and we were celebrating her birthday at Adventureland. Crazzzzy, but anyway… We recently had a conversation that got us thinking about our paths in life…school, work, goals…all the big stuff you think about or are forced to think about when you reach a new chapter or stage in your life. There’s so much stress and worry around living and your lifestyle. Like many middle class suburban families, our parents instilled in us at an early age a certain check list of sorts: go to school, get your degree, get a good paying job, get married, buy a house, have children… You can kind of see where we’re going with this. For some people, that works and for others, it doesn’t. My mother has shared stories with me about how she wanted nothing more than to become a wife and a mother when she was growing up. Having a family was very important to her and something that has been very fulfilling and given her a sense of pride. Some people just know what they want, where they want to live, what career path they want to go down and others, don’t….and that’s okay.

NewDarlings-MenswearJ.Crew shirt (similar) | Levi’s jeans | bag c/o ONA | Chamula shoes
NewDarlings-Overalls and Top KnotWarby Parker glasses | tee, overalls, & boots c/o Madewell | bag c/o Sézane

We are part of that group of people that didn’t know. We graduated from college with our degrees in psychology and quickly got jobs working in education. It was something that was familiar to us with family in the field.  It was convenient, and we really loved working with children, but we both knew we wanted something different. At the time, we just didn’t know how to get there or exactly what it was we were yearning for creatively, but we felt it.


As my sister is approaching her graduation and is feeling pressured with the famous question of “what’s next?”, I became so frustrated with the idea that we should just know and once we know what we want to do, that it’s the only path we should be headed down. I remember hating big extended family dinners around the time of my high school and college graduations, where everyone sat around asking what my big plans were. In our late twenties we’re still learning every single day. Learning how to cook new things, fix something around the apartment (although, having a maintenance team is pretty nice), how to improve our credit score, wash a new fabric, mortgage options, the list goes on…

It sometimes feels like we’re being tricked into thinking everyone else around us has it all figured out.  We assume people just know “these things” and we’re expected to just know about x, y, and z. The older we get, the more we’re realizing it’s not true. I remember reading blogs and looking around at the people close to me thinking, “How are they doing it?” Everyone questions things and everyone has horribly messy days. You may change majors, not understand how to fill out a new tax form, want to change jobs, have forgotten to turn the crock-pot on and had to run out to pick up food, (we can seriously keep the examples coming way too easily 😉 ) and that’s okay. We’re learning that once you have one thing figured out, there will most likely be a new hurdle to jump through waiting for you around the corner.  When that happens just call a friend and know there’s been so many people out there who have been uncertain about some of the very same things before.

We’re all figuring it out together.

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9 comments on “It’s Okay.”

  1. yes!! i have always been in that latter group. i think with the last two generations, that “american dream” is shifting a lot & i think that’s a good thing. i have always struggled with the expectations of school, college, marriage, home buying & babies & really felt like a disappointment to my parents & family when they weren’t met. i got married & that made everyone happy but only temporarily. then everyone needed to know the answer to the “what’s next” question & everyone wanted the answer to be “babies, as soon as possible”. it didn’t seem to matter what we really wanted. what mattered is that we followed along with every generation before us. it took me a long time to break out of that & really be okay with who & where i am right now, with or without those “normal” goals.

  2. I sincerely hope we get to sit down & chat over a few cups of coffee someday. I relate SO MUCH to this. I honestly think most people relate to the feeling of not knowing what’s next but pretend they don’t so they can appear more in control. I think life is constant learning & growing. I got my MFA & that lead into going back to school to get my MAE & also work in education. But none of it felt right. Then I fell ill, & when illness sneaks into your life, you really don’t know what the future holds. I think I’m learning to be grateful & I’m learning to not rush myself. We all have our own paths…

  3. I’m in that high school graduation stage right now and I hate it when everyone keeps asking me what’s next! It’s crazy & comforting to know that there are other people out there in all walks of life that are feeling the same things as me. 🙂

  4. I relate so much to this article. I felt this way just two months ago when I graduated from the high school. Before that, I have a lot of plans but suddenly I was so empty and didn’t know what will I do next. But it needs time and it will figure out. 🙂


  5. I have children, two of them. And still that isn’t a steady fix and an answer to what I want to do with my life. Being a mother (or father) is just a part of yourself, yes, though I am still searching for my own path beside that to take. There is still so much out there I am figuring out, that I want to learn and to experience.

    For myself, I have found a certain trust that things will unfold eventually. I think you are not far from it either. Trust the journey.

  6. This post is the best! I totally get this, I have dreams and plans for the future but nothing set in stone I’m just drifting, learning, experiencing and loving being in my twenties. I feel like there is far too much pressure to figure your life out young when really you should just take it day by day as a learning experience and enjoy the freedom that comes in your twenties. So glad you get it too!

  7. Yes!! Thank you so much for putting into words what I haven’t been able to. This is something I struggled with when I graduated from high school, with not knowing where I wanted to go to school or what for. And now as I’m nearing the end of my college career I’m back in that same place of unsureness. And by that I mean, I have no idea what I want to do with my life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family but like you said, big extended family dinners and holidays when you’re nearing graduation of any kind can be hard. You constantly get asked what your plans are for after graduation and I never know what to say (much like the question of why you’re still single). And although I have friends who have said they understand how I feel, it’s great to hear (or rather, read) that someone who isn’t trying to make me feel better about my lack of future plans also felt this same way when they were in my position.

    I’m part of the group that doesn’t know, and thanks for showing me that that’s okay.

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