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thinking about the future



What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question that we’ve been asked since we were in kindergarten and usually answer with a dream job. Lately, there are people who think not only about what line of work they want to get into, but also what kind of lifestyle they want to have. I think that’s wonderful.


There are many times in life where you have to make big decisions. I took a long time when I had to decide what university I would go to. Now that I'm in my third year, I am confronted by the reality of job hunting, and I feel like I have yet again reached a period in my life in which I have to think a lot before taking a big decision. It's interesting to listen to people talking about internships and company presentations. I've been immersing myself in the spirit of trying out new things even if I'm not particularly interested in them. I think it’s fun to challenge myself to a lot of different things, and I feel like I might discover something new as well.


I had been aiming to become a public servant because I think that in order to do something for people in a weak position in society and can't get any benefits from it, we must change the structural rules. I wanted to offer support to each and every person in the district so that they could live a satisfying life. Thinking this, I participated in internships and seminars to become a regional and national public servant. However, after they were over, I didn't really feel the desire to work — rather, I was assailed by the anxiety of having to choose how I want to live. Before saying idealistically that I wanted a job that helps others, I should’ve probably had a clearer idea of what I want to do with my life.


I'm sure that every person looking for a job feels the same kind of anxiety. That's probably a gate you have to get through in order to become an adult. However, if I have to be honest with myself, I feel distressed by the fact that I don't have a direction, that I don't know how I want to spend my life.


When I encounter a variety of information everyday through different media, there are moments when I feel positive, and moments when I feel critical about Japanese society. Especially recently, I started to really think about how Japanese society prefers social harmony over new ways of thinking. These thoughts came from having doubts about and hearing criticism of the way the job hunt is in Japan for new college graduates. I am specifically referring to Japan’s job hunt systems, the “recruit suit” (a business suit that students usually wear for job interviews), and the extensive survey-like job applications called entry sheets that have to be filled out for every company that you apply to, which amounts to over 30 companies for many people. Topics like these made me question if it is really OK to decide my future based solely on the fact that everybody else is doing these things too. I feel that the current state of Japanese society is urging me to seriously think about how I want to live my life.


Heroes from animes often say “I don’t want to be unable to answer the question of why I was born and my purpose in life.” What do I want to live for?


I don’t have the confidence to decide what I want to do when there’s still a lot I don’t know. I don’t think I have enough experience to decide and I don’t think I’ve encountered anything that struck me as the thing I want to do with my life. I’m living everyday looking for “the one”, exploring a variety of places and challenging myself.


To be a little extreme, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to just do what you love without having a steady permanent job. I’ve recently been thinking that that kind of life sounds nice. But as I hear people around me talk about the job hunt and realise the increasing responsibilities as an adult, I feel as though it is a must for me to work at a company and have a steady job. You know how Japan doesn’t like to accept anything out of the norm. But after all, I feel like the idea that walking on the beaten path will ultimately lead me to happiness has been instilled in me.


I wonder what we should strive to live for. People say everyone lives their life differently, but I can’t confidently explain what I am living for. It makes me anxious to conceptualise my future as a profession.


People who are given a sense of purpose by their job, and people who work hard to support their families have a strong drive to live and have a purpose in life. I think that’s wonderful and it’s something I admire. But I don’t know how I’ll be living in the future. People have advised me to find a job for now, but I don’t even know what kind of work I want to do because I don’t know what I’m living for. Also, being in Japanese society where it is expected for people to follow the norm without question, I fear losing myself ー my thoughts and feelings ー and ending up where I don’t want to be.


I’m furiously searching for the purpose of my life and things that excites me by visiting different countries, meeting with lots of people, challenging myself to things I’ve never done before, and working harder at things I’ve done before. I don’t know when or where I’ll find it. I don’t know if it will be related to my profession. But I want to encounter something that makes me think, “This is what I’m living for!” I want to keep searching till I find it.


What’s your purpose in life? If you can confidently say what you’re living for, what makes you able to say that?

Images by Manami

English Translated by Eli & Kiara

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