What do you want to do with your life?

Alec Chen
2 min readMar 31, 2022

It’s treated as this daunting question, when in reality it’s much more innocent.

It’s daunting because we live in a society where until early adulthood we have been placed on an assembly line path doing what people tell us. With an abundance of information and entertainment nowadays, its easy to fill up our free time without ever having to think much for ourselves.

Then when we’re getting ready to leave our homes, for the first time we have a little more incentive to think about it because we actually kind of have to do something with our time, or our quality of life may suffer — whether it be through mental health or not making enough money.

People take this question as what do you want to do as a job, and that could be good and bad. In one sense it implies that we believe what we truly yearn to do with our time can be what supports our living. In another sense it implies that our means of financing ourselves are the main event in our lives.

It’s daunting because for a while people have had the idea in their minds that “what you do with your life” is “what you do your whole life” because in the past generation or two that’s been a common trend. [0]

But when ask the question, I hear, “how do you want to spend your time?” And you define the timeline. What do you want to do today? What do you want to do with your 20s? What would you like to eat next Wednesday?

In some ways I think the question is beautiful. Nowadays we have more choices. It means we have freedom. [1]


[0] How did the idea of working a 9–5 your entire life even arise? I imagine this was not honestly representative of the majority of society. Maybe it was representative of middle class white dudes? Maybe it was actually representative that people generally had to work jobs they didn’t like because there wasn’t access to as many resources — means to escaping their job — as the internet helps connect us with today.

[1] This has its own complications that merit a separate article, but generally, this is an amazing thing.