Yesterday I stopped at Starbucks, because I had stars that were expiring at the end of the month and I wanted to use my reward before it no longer existed. As you may have experienced, their app was not working. I stood in the mostly empty Target Starbucks for five minutes, though it felt like twenty, logging into the app over and over again while the baristas waited for me, drink already made. Eventually one of them said, “Are you using the app? It hasn’t been working for a lot of people today.” I voiced my agreement and went to reach for my wallet, frustrated and late for getting back to work, when she continued. “You can just take this. Don’t worry about it.” She handed me my coffee with a smile, and my day went from stressed and frustrated to wonderful, just like that.
I tell you this story not to brag about getting free coffee, but because it was so incredibly juxtaposed with how insignificant I’ve been feeling lately in the scheme of making a difference in the world. Every time my mind has wandered for the last couple weeks, I’ve turned over and over the thought, what should I do next?
I’ve always had something to work toward. High school graduation, college graduation, getting a job. #millennialproblems, am I right? But now that I’ve accomplished all of that, I’ve reached the point where I’m not sure what I should work toward. I want to make a difference, I want to matter. I want to leave the world a better place than I found it. But I don’t know how.
I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a publishing house, of starting a magazine, of teaching classes, volunteering for a nonprofit, writing a book. There are so many options, and I’m paralyzed by choice. The best advice I’ve gotten is to just start trying things, but 1) I don’t want to invest money in something that’s either going to fail or get boring and 2) I don’t want to waste other people’s time. The third and main thing stopping me from trying things, though, is that I feel so unqualified. I know I could do it, but on paper I don’t look fabulous. Definitely not like someone you’d want to take classes from. I’ve got an undergrad degree from a no-name university, I’ve never been published in a major publication, and I write greeting cards for a living. And if people think writing novels doesn’t require any talent, they believe writing greeting cards requires even less. (That’s untrue, but it’s another topic for another day.)
I have to keep reminding myself that little things matter, that I can make a difference one person, one cup of coffee at a time. But I still want to do something with my life. I just don’t know what yet.