February 28, 2018

So you still haven’t Discovered your Passion & Purpose in Life.


I don’t know what I want to do with my life.

I don’t know who I want to be yet.

I don’t know the answers, and I don’t expect to right now, but I would like to know what step to take next.

I have a couple of odd jobs, and I fill my days with activities I like to do: yoga, eating, sleeping, breathing, binge-watching the latest shows, picking up a book after I finally throw my phone across the room because I’ve been sucked into it for too long, interacting with other people…you know, the usual.

But, there is always something missing.

I know I am meant for more. I know that I have this power within me that, someday, I can channel into something greater, but I just don’t quite know how yet.

I’m 22 years old, and I graduated from college in May of 2017. I had no job lined up for after school except a temporary nanny gig. I spent my summer vacationing and spending time with family and friends before I started dipping my feet into LinkedIn and Indeed.

Sitting in an office, handing someone my resume, and attempting to sell myself as a viable employee has never turned me on. I’ve done internships and had other jobs here and there—enough to know that I am not a nine-to-five person.

So, I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world when I met a woman while on vacation who was the CEO and founder of her own start-up company, and coincidentally lived in the same county as myself. I began working for her as a personal assistant a couple of months later.

How great was this? I thought I had hit the jackpot.

I got to work remotely, I was her right-hand woman, and I really thought I was setting myself up for success. I was learning a lot, and I was using the skills I’d learned while earning my communications degree.

However, I quickly learned that there are many complications within the world of start-ups and investors. And when I never saw a paycheck, I knew that was the end of that chapter.

So here I am again: being a nanny, working at a yoga studio, and picking up other odd jobs here and there. I’m still unsure of my passion and how I want to live my life. Well, that’s not true—I would love to live my life freely and in a way where I feel truly fulfilled by my work. But what is my work? What is my passion? That’s the real question and the real quest, isn’t it?

I was fortunate enough to have access to higher education, and I miss it. I miss going to classes I was actually interested in, I miss meeting my friends after class at the campus pub, and I miss thinking that my life was going to be so amazing after I graduated. Well, folks. Here I am! I’m out here in the real world, and uh, can someone tell me how to do my taxes and pick the best credit card and which career path is the right one for me? Because let me tell you, I am lost. 

Does anyone remember “The Graduate?” It’s a Dustin Hoffman film where he graduates from college, moves home, and spends his days in a daze of not knowing what to do with his life. Most people only relate the movie to the story of Mrs. Robinson—a young man being seduced by an older woman—but my professor had us watch it to analyze the post-graduate depression.

Let me tell you, it’s real.

We have just spent about 16 years in the institution of school, and now it’s up to us to create our own schedule and our own curriculum of our choice, and guess what? We have everything in the world to choose from, and it’s overwhelming. Some people go straight into the corporate working world and that’s great for them—I just hope they’re happy. That’s what I want: to feel happy about what I’m spending the majority of my time doing. I don’t want to spend my time working at a job just so I can live. I don’t want to work to live, I want to live through my work and I want it to be meaningful.

“So do that!” people say.

Yes, but the issue is, I don’t know what my passion is yet. I feel as if I’m supposed to have this “aha” moment where I know, in that instant, what I want to be doing the rest of my life.

I’m in no place to give advice to anyone else, but the advice I give to myself is as follows:

What’s the rush?

We don’t have to have it all figured out right away. That would actually make life pretty boring if you think about it. It’s all about the journey, not the destination. How corny, right? But it’s true!

In the meantime, make your own curriculum. Some of us have all the freedom in the world right now. We have information at our fingertips and we can use it to educate ourselves in our own way. No one is telling us what to study for the midterm or final. No one is telling us what to research for our thesis; it’s up to us.

Feed your mind.

Everything you do right now is getting you one step closer to becoming an expert in who you want to be. That was the best advice my professor ever gave to me. Everything we read, watch, and fill our minds with is getting us one step closer to being who we want to become. Go to conferences, find a mentor, travel, read, and explore! The world is and has always been our classroom. It’s up to us now. We have to hold ourselves accountable in order to succeed.

Enjoy life and have fun.

Make your life enjoyable. You have a choice in the decisions you make. You have the ability to design your life the way you’d like! Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

I don’t know who or what I want to be yet. I don’t know what my thing is or if I even have a thing. I have absolutely no clue what I want to do with my life, but what I do know is that I’m just trying to find my voice in a way that makes me happy—right here and now.


Author: Maria DeSalvo
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy & Social Editor: Callie Rushton

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Louise McClennon Mar 2, 2018 1:16pm

Of all the posts I’ve been seeing along this same thread, this is one I resonate with the most, this is me! Adding in everyone and their dog saying you need to figure this out, you need to earn money, why aren’t you doing any of this? It’s so draining and just amps up the pressure. You have sound advice though and telling myself there’s no rush has been the biggest revelation to me. It doesn’t matter all that much if we still don’t know after a few years, it’s not wasted time, it’s part of our journey.

Nova Healing Mar 2, 2018 2:24am

Aloha Maria, Thank you for sharing your truth. I hear you and know exactly how you feel because I went through the same motions as you and perhaps a few more times considering I graduated college ten years ago lol I will say however that I finally figured out what has been missing all these years, and how my passions and purpose were revealed to me. If you'd like to connect, I'm happy to share more! <3

Maria DeSalvo Mar 2, 2018 1:34am

Understandable, college is not for everyone! I'm sure you found your education in a different format that was more suitable for you.

Megan Corcoran Mar 2, 2018 12:55am

This is so incredibly relateable and inspiring. Great job Maria, can’t wait for more!

Stephanie White Mar 1, 2018 9:11pm

Same story from this 40+ girl, except for the college thing. I never really got into it.

Win Normandi Mar 1, 2018 8:38pm

Wonderful article: perhaps writing is leading you to your path.

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Maria DeSalvo

Maria DeSalvo is a 20-something living in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a recent graduate, she is trying to navigate through this pretty little thing we call life. Now that she doesn’t have any more GEs to fulfill or unit requirements to finish, Maria is spending her time creating her own curriculum—usually filled with yoga classes, time with friends, odd jobs, and adventures, and hopefully leading the way to her unknown passion and sole purpose.