Know What You Don’t Want


If you know exactly what you want to do with your life, that’s great.

But it’s also totally okay if you don’t know what you want.

All you have to do for now is look around you for clues of what you don’t want.

We’ve been asked ever since we were little, what do you want do when you grow up? Very few of us know with absolute certainty what that is. And it’s only around in our twenties when we’re supposedly adults do we begin to really ponder this question in the context of the real world.

When we were little we all had wild fantasies of who we wanted to be. But the problem is, that wildest dream is usually bigger than what’s offered to us at this particular point in time.

For now, we may vaguely know that we want to do something awesome or make something that’s cool. But the trick is how do we pursue that while making enough money to survive in the meantime?

It’s okay if you didn’t have any role models growing up.

Anti-models are just as helpful.


I actually want to take this time to thank all the anti-models in my life.

For showing me what I don’t want..

Thank you, Mom. For showing me that I don’t want to be a (financially dependent) housewife. I saw how you had to stick with him, and his not-so-attractive addictions: the gambling, and cheating, and the booze. I heard and still here you gripe about him. I know how you really didn’t want to be with him, but yet here you are, still with him. Stuck with him.

And remember when he threw that fax machine across the room and I asked you, why?

Why won’t you leave him?

And you asked me back, Then how am I supposed to take care of us?

Thanks, Sis. From watching you, I know that I never want to borrow money. Or receive anything from mom, like a car or a house. I saw how you paid for it. Thanks for helping me dodge that bullet.

Thank you, M. For complaining about how hard it is to be a poor grad student when I was dating you (as an undergrad at UCLA). I saw how one parking ticket can set you back and ruin your whole week. I knew that if I were to go to grad school, I can’t just live off of scholarships, I would need a side gig.

If you look closely, basically everyone you know can actually play a part in helping you make important life decisions.

If you have a role model, look at their actions, examine their choices and follow what makes sense to you.

If you have an anti-model, look even more closely at the choices they made and the path they took..

For a while, all I had, as my guide, was a list of what I didn’t want:

I knew that I didn’t want to be woken up by an alarm clock

I knew that I didn’t want to work for the man (or for someone/something I didn’t believe in)

I knew that I didn’t want a regular 9 to 5

I knew that I didn’t want to borrow money

I knew that I didn’t want to be a dependent

What does your list look like?

Write it down.

And be sure to make the choices and take the steps

Not to follow it..



(To be continued)


Forward to the Next Step

Back to Table of Contents