We all have doubts about ourselves. If we didn't we'd all be dicks like Trump.
Doubt isn't a bad thing in and of itself. But it shouldn't hang around. Don't feed it.
Look it in the eye, evaluate it with a clear head, learn what you can from it, and then discard it. Doubt is a reminder to look inward from time to time, and make sure you are who you think you are.
Doubt is a fortune cookie fortune: Interesting in the moment, but useless in the long run.
(And by the by... the "sad panda" visual that appeared in my head almost made me spit out my coffee, it was so funny! Thank you for that!)
Hey Pubs. Just a water for me, barkeep... I'm still not remembering to drink enough water every day.
I can deny it no longer... I have actually lost more than 20 pounds now. That means that - for the first time in my life - I weigh less than I did before.
From a skinny 175lbs in 1987, to 269lbs at Christmas 2017, I have always gotten heavier. Amortized over time, that's only about 3lbs/year, but of course the weight did not gracefully grow over time. It grew rapidly, then leveled out for a few years at the "new normal" weight, until something happened and it went up again.
For the first time in my life, my weight is going the other direction.
I had to put several pairs of pants into storage. (Note: I wanted to get rid of them. But my wife insisted we keep them until we know whether I am going to keep the weight off or not.)
I am maybe 2 months away from departing the land of XL, and purchasing L shirts... for the first time since the 1990's.
I feel better.
I don't "crash" at 2:PM every day.
I no longer eat two antacid tablets every night.
I don't fart prolifically anymore.
My diet has changed significantly, and I now strongly identify with Michael Pollan's quip, "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much."
I haven't started working out or stretching regularly. Which I planned to do Feb 1. Not sure why I haven't started, but I need to get on that.
The road to "Fit and 50" is looking pretty good right now.
Mushroom hunters talk about "putting on their mushroom eyes" when they go mushroom hunting.
You go out to where the mushrooms should be, and you see nothing. Damn. Wrong place? Was someone already here? Am I at the wrong elevation?
Then they just go calm and stop moving for a few minutes. Scan the landscape. Be still.
POP! Oh! There's one! ... and another!... oh! there's another one!... woah... they are EVERYWHERE! Holy crap I am STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF SO MANY MUSHROOMS!!
With my new diet, which generally avoids most carbs and sugars, I have my "Carb Eyes" on.
Vending machine? Nothing in there edible.
Coffee shop? Nothing in there either, except black drip coffee, espresso shot, or an almond-milk latte.
Restaurant? Side dishes start to look REALLY tasty... and main courses look heavy and unpleasant. "Can I just get these two sides, and a steak?"
And now, I will post this message, and walk out into the lobby where my company is providing everyone with ... Valentine's Cupcakes. And I am going to enjoy the shit out one of those carbo-sugar bombs.
Because carbo-sugar bombs are AMAZING treats.
But that's what they should be: Treats. Not Food.
There's some good solid advice in there. And I think I can add something valuable to what you said: Perspective.
You don't hear people 30-plus years old asking this question. Because they realize it isn't the right question to ask. By the time you are in your 30's, pretty much nobody you know will be working in the field/job that is written on their college degree.
Life is a river. You start off trying to build a dam, and make the river conform to your view of what it should look like. But water is consistent, persistent, strong, and devious. Your every effort to make life conform to your view will fail, and eventually you will get swept downstream.
Some people try to stop. They bash into rocks. They grasp at low-hanging branches and try to stop the water from dragging them further downstream.
Other people go "woohoo! whitewater rafting!!" and look downstream and try to pick a line that looks like the most fun.
These are the people who inspire you. They are the people enjoying life, and who seem to have amazing opportunities drop in their lap.
Schooling, clubs, hobbies, and interests are what you build your boat out of.
Then you get thrown into the water and head downstream.
What skills do you have? Do you communicate well with other people? Do you like to learn? Do you keep your word? Are you an enjoyable person to be around?
Then your boat will float, and you will find the journey enjoyable. The more flexible and amenable you are to life and it's ever-changing dynamics, the more opportunities that will be presented to you, and the more chances you will have to find something that you truly enjoy.
The less flexible, personable, pleasant you are, the less opportunities will come up. Because you are narrowly skilled, and unpleasant to be around, and therefore fit into only a small portion of the available roles out there in the world.
From where I'm sitting, just short of 50 years old, I can tell you that the river widens, slows, and empties into a big placid lake, where you can kinda paddle wherever you want. If you built a good boat.
I don't even recall all the jobs I have had, the places I have worked, the people I have fallen in and out of love with... all that is back there, up the hill, in the rapids on that river somewhere.
Looking back up that river, I can see the path I took now, but it was not apparent to me at the time. I was simply presented with interesting opportunities because I had a wide range of skills, I was funny, and people liked talking to me. They liked having me around, so they would overlook any technical/skills limitations, and just said, "Eh. You'll learn it on the job. It isn't hard."
This is, of course, my advice based on my experience.
Like RD95 says, life isn't lived in a house you built in college; it is a long series of building projects that you live within while building. Some rooms you may never visit again. Some you may crack the door open 30 years later and find a new passion for, and others you may visit every single day.
The only constant is change. Either find a way to embrace that, or live frustrated for the rest of your life.
Oh, there's no question it won't get built. For 3 reasons:
1. It's impossible. The reason there is not a contiguous wall now, is because the terrain does not allow a contiguous wall to be built. Something like 900 miles of that border is simply the Rio Grande River. Rivers move. Walls don't. So if you build the wall far inland inside of America (thereby walling off any American access to the Rio Grande itself, bythefuckingway), to try and put the wall far enough away from the river that the river doesn't eventually wash up against the wall and undermine it and make it fall over.
2. It will make the US smaller. You can't build the wall in Mexico, because you don't own Mexico. But there are thousands of American's property who bump up against the border. Now you need to pay every one of those people to take their land (and build a 50-foot wall on the south side, which will block the sun and cause your lawn to die), or even better, seize their land using Eminent Domain! Now, I don't know how well you know Texans, but they ain't gonna take kindly to the U.S. Government coming in a seizing their land and building a big fucking wall (that they don't want) on it. That ain't going to go well for anybody.
3. It's a bogeyman. The "problem" the wall "fixes" is apparently "illegal immigration". Thing is, for the last fifty years, illegal immigration has been going down, and in the last 8 years - due to Obama's truly nasty treatment of immigrants - there is a net outflow of illegal immigrants from America. We LOSE more illegals every year - by their own choice, not through deportations - than we gain.
80% of illegal immigrants arrive in America by fucking airplane, anyway! I don't care how tall or "yuge" your wall is... it ain't stopping airplanes.
A wall can't do anything about the thousands of tunnels that bring people and drugs UNDER the border into America. And this happens in places where we HAVE a well-defended wall, and Border Guards! Build a 50-foot wall in the boonies, and you will find 51-foot ladders. (There's a great Border Guard podcast that talks about when the current wall was raised from 13 to 20 feet. They collected so many 21-foot ladders they ran out of ROOM at the border guard's dispatching offices.)
Not to mention that every single agricultural business from Arizona to Ohio is going to have a fucking conniption when they can't get enough seasonal workers to pick their harvest before shit goes bad. Because I guarantee you that perky little cheerleader Madison and high school track star Curt, aren't going to pick cabbages for $20/day.
No, in short, the wall will never be built. Because at some point, some business has to place a bid for the project (or their part of it). Their engineers will go out there, look at the terrain, design something that will kinda hold up under most conditions (see: New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina to see how well THAT works out) and the numbers don't balance.
Illegal immigration MAKES the US an enormous amount of money. Cutting off that flow of money will affect big business, and those people will go knocking on the Oval Office door, and have some very nasty words to say to Tinyhands McDickpunch.
The economy is the American God. If you fuck with the economy, you go down. Period.