The one extraordinary thing I did in 2021 that changed my life

Photo by Theapic

At the beginning of the year 2021, I felt more disoriented than I ever have had in my life. I was enrolling for my last year’s master’s degree class but honestly, I had no clue of the direction I wanted for a professional career or even a hint of where to start.

I spent a lot of my time looking for different possible careers, based on anything I think I’m or could be good at. And as a lonely person without a mentor, where do I go to get the “best advice’’ about that? On social media. But here is the thing, depending on the social media on which I’m surfing I receive different inspiration on what I could do. For instance:

  • When I’m on Twitter, I see a lot of news threads where people seem to express their thoughts on a subject and get very good at it. Then I tell myself that maybe, I should be a blogger.
  • When I am on Instagram (Did I even have to say it?), I mean beautiful people on every post I come across. No one is ugly on Instagram almost everyone seems to be a model, a fashion designer, or a successful artist. Well, then I will tell myself: “you know you’re not so ugly right? Maybe you could do modeling. Look at this guy (looking at someone’s post) you can be him. You go for it, this is could be your things”.
  • And when I am on LinkedIn (the killer)… Okay, pause here. {When you are in a situation where for instance you want to buy let’s say a shoe but you don’t know which one, the last thing you will want to do is go to your favorite shoe store full of different pairs you liked. Because you risk coming out of the store without a shoe for an embarrassing choice}. This is what happened to me with LinkedIn. If you want to see which career path people, have, and what is their work title in any field, don’t worry you will find it all there. Now I will look through people’s profiles on LinkedIn and get inspired by each one of them. In less than an hour, I could have more than 10 suggestions of a potential career path I could take. I spent at least 2 hours a day on the platform. I do this every single day and as days go by and I keep doing that I get more confused.

I was overwhelmed by the inspiration I got from social media and besides, I got other information on those social media platforms that are not related to choosing a career path at the same time that got me distracted. From one minute to another, I could go through different kinds of emotions. I could be laughing out loud for a time and the second after being sad because on the news I saw about people losing their houses then a second after finding myself giving all my attention to watching a Youtube video explaining the reason why the “ancient Egyptians” lived longer than the average person in 2021.

Living like that every day was painful for me. I would go to bed at 10 pm and stay awake till 2 pm as it was difficult for me to close my eyes with my thoughts. I would go to school and act like everything is fine then come back home with tears and that one question that won’t stop bouncing in my head. What am I doing with my life? This was very far from what I imagined my life to be at 26 when I was much younger. I was supposed to be making a lot of money. I don’t remember how much I was thinking of but a lot. I was supposed to have a house of my own like my dad at my age and there I was and I could hardly pay my rent by myself.

It came to the point where those questions followed me in my sleep and then I would have bad dreams in which I see myself in a big hole struggling to make myself out of it and every time I’m about to come out of it I will fall back deep down in the hole again and the situation will repeat itself till I wake up with a beating heart as if I just run 1-hour straight sprint race.
Some of the inspiration I get from social media was good but how could I know which one will be a good fit for me? How could I get started? What makes me believe I could even get there?
On one of those bad days, Sitting there in my bedroom letting all the horrible ideas partying in my mind. It was clear to me that I had had enough. I took one of my pillows, put my mouth into it and scream the hell out me, get myself up from the bed, and took a decision that will tremendously have an impact on me:
I decided to stay away from social media until I choose a career path.

This is not the only thing that makes me find a “purpose” or let’s say shows me a direction for my professional career but it was undoubtedly the one that really changed the game for me.
Reflecting, on that day to see what I’m doing wrong, I hear my phone biped. Then I just stop the reflection and switched and look at my phone to see what was going on. But wait a minute, how is checking on the Instagram notification at that moment helping me? I then realize that I was too distracted by my phone to be focused on what is important to me. I knew this before because I’ve been reading about the subject of distraction caused by social media and how instead of using it in our favor we let our social media use us. But it did not occur to me that I was not taking the right action towards my phone. I get mad at myself and instantly delete all my social apps on my phone.
Now I can talk with myself without the world interrupting me. All of a sudden I feel peaceful and calm. I thought it would be difficult for me to live without checking on my social accounts but not at all. Now that I have nothing else distracting me, I can think peacefully then I dedicated all my time for the weeks following to finding my “IKIGAI”. Suddenly I rediscover how to use my pen and paper making a list of things I like doing, things I could be good at, things I would like to do, and things people around me think I should do. Then analyze them carefully and determine the middle one of them.
It surprised me to see how easy I could find my way and yet I was turning around. I couldn’t get it because I was all over the place. I was so distracted that I could not see early on what could have been good for me as a career path.

The feeling of being lost is common to young people in their 20s and for Africans, the matter is worst. Exposure to the world especially through social media makes us more confused than we think as the sphere of influence is too big. One might know deep down that he is good at one thing while the influence shows him repeatedly other things till he forgets his willingness.
If you are reading this right now and you think you are lost in your life, please do this:
Do the challenge of being offline for one week just so that you think deeply about what is going on. You can divide the week into three:

  • First three days write the questions you want an answer to.
  • For two days following come up with solutions that could help you.
  • Then for the two days that are left choose two solutions between the solutions you've come up with that you would like to try and have one person you trust choose one for you and now go and tried them out.

Where this gets interesting, is that once you come back after that week of calmness, you’re not just following randomly the information you get. No, but instead you come back with a guide and everything that is out of what you want should not get your attention anymore. This is how you get to focus on what is important to you.
Doing this myself I’ve learned three things that I would like to share with you:

  • The first one is that if you don’t know where to go you’re certainly not going anywhere unless you pick a road and then during the walk figure out what would be the best destination for you. I was so worried about making the right choice for my career path that I was unable to start anything at all and once I did choose without even being sure, I started feeling my way through it.
  • Second I’ve also learned that distraction was my worst enemy because it wasn’t allowing me to see early on what could have been good for me as a career path.
  • Third that my life and path are unique, so it doesn’t need to be as glamorous as others to be considered perfect.

I am definitely in a better place today than I was in 2021. I’ve been able to choose a career path, and I’m starting to fill myself in it. Being distracted as a problem is not behind me but now that I know what I want all I need to do is remind myself of that every time and accept the challenges that come with it. This is what I want for you. In the world of "look at everything", choose one thing to look at. Don’t let yourself down.




Hey, I’m a User experience designer with a mission to help young people live their life with less stress.

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Kalama Nadey

Kalama Nadey

Hey, I’m a User experience designer with a mission to help young people live their life with less stress.

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