Dear Clementine

Our resident expert offers her sage wisdom on the topic of wanderlust, adventure and contentment.
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Image Credit: Cassie / Veda House

Dear Clementine,

I am 26 years old and I still don't know "what to do with my life." I live in Boise, Idaho and I love it here but I don't feel like there are any job opportunities that really fit what I'm good at, or even better, passionate about. I love all things fashion and came within an inch of moving to LA to go to a fashion merchandising school about five years ago but changed my mind at the last minute, daunted by the enormous tuition price tag and the idea of moving to a big, scary city.

The job I currently have pays well (especially considering I didn't graduate college) and it comes with all the glittery benefits. But I'm bored, and get sad when I think about being here for years and years, or worse, never having a job that I truly enjoy.

I'm also in a committed relationship; my boyfriend is a Barber and is just getting into the groove and building a good client list. If I did decide I needed to move to find a better career I would feel awful asking him to uproot and start all over again (and move away from his family).

I moved to Seattle by myself when I was 19 expecting it to fill all the holes in my life and "fix" me, but surprise, it didn't. I think that's always in the back of my head when I think about moving again. Am I just afflicted by The Grass Is Always Greener disease? Do I just need to focus more on having a good outlook and count the many blessings that I do have? Or is life too short, and I should go for "it" because I'll regret it later if I don't?



Dear Lost,

I involuntarily make a scrunchy face every time I hear the words "I don't know what to do with my life." Do any of us? I mean, besides that girl from high school who kept her head in her books all through AP classes, never dated or danced or went to the mall with friends, got into her dream Ivy League and kept her head in more books for many, many more years, and is now killing it 65-plus hours a week as a surgeon. (Wait. You know what I mean.) Does that sound like a life you would like to do?

Some of us follow a path and never wander off course no matter what beautiful adventures wait just beyond our route. I've come to terms with these sorts of people, but I am not one of them. I happen to love when a carnival pops up unexpectedly, and I'll stop for birthday cake any day of the week. The same goes for tea rooms, food trucks, curiosity shops, movie theaters with subtitles and caramel corn, local makers who sell colorful pillows and candles, pet shops until I get too teary and have to be escorted out, and dollar stores – but only because I love finding plastic gizmos I never knew I needed and exclaiming "A DOLLAR?! SERIOUSLY?!" Also, I tend to pick up the loveliest hitchhikers along the way.

I've learned that I am not a fan of trudging uphill in one direction all the time; a few steps backwards or sideways never hurt anyone, for the most part. More importantly, I've discovered that the best moments in life happen just after the path narrows and that cute construction guy is standing there with a bright yellow sign alerting us of hazards and detours ahead, and warning us to proceed with caution. "Now what?" you ask yourself. And that's exactly where the fun begins.

You're telling me that you've got a job that pays well, plus offers glitter. You're telling me that you've got a boy who can cut fringe for you at midnight and for whom you care so, so deeply. I know the latter to be true because you're worried about what you may ask of him someday. And then you tell me "I don't know what to do with my life." I am so tempted to reply "Stop digging. You've already struck gold." But for some reason completely unbeknownst to me, you're not as in love with your life as I am. Which means there is some work to be done. So let's keep digging. We just may find diamonds.

First, I want to talk about your unfinished degree. To me, college is simply an exercise in starting something and showing your future employers that you finished it. (I only say this because I have never worked a job that utilized my intense knowledge of French literature. Merde.) But to most of the world, education is power. It's a language that everyone understands, whether you're in Boise or Beau-Bassin. It's a currency that never loses its value. It's an investment that appreciates over time. It's your ticket inside. If possible, finish your education, please, but also remember there's really no finishing. You will never know everything you need to know. And isn't that incredibly inspiring?

Are you sure that you and your fashion passion don't really fit where you are? I just can't believe there are zero exciting opportunities in Idaho. But let's pretend you're right for a minute, and make a list of everything Idaho is missing for someone like you. Because if you're dissatisfied, chances are there are others who are craving more, too. Imagine yourself running a styling studio or an accessories boutique or even a fancy dress consignment closet. Tiny to start, with the hope of growing as huge as your dreams.

Lost, I don't believe Seattle or LA or anyplace else are your answers. I think you've got to stay and gut this one out. I think you've got to start skipping down your path instead of dragging your feet. I think it's time you become who you want to be, and have a blast getting to know her. As a general rule, our lives are just as big as we want them to be, whenever and wherever we happen to be. Idaho, I'm sure, is more than enough to hold your dreams for now.

So that's my advice: Stay where you are. Make what you're missing. Fall in mad love with your life and with yourself. But wait until morning for the fringe.

That's the only way I live my days.

(P.S. I also make a scrunchy face when I hear the phrase "The grass is always greener…" Promise me you'll never covet another person's yard, okay? That is such a dangerous neighborhood.)


p.s. Need some advice from Clementine? Email us here.