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All my life I’ve gotten into random conversations with people where the subject of our life trajectories comes up, and I always end up feeling kind of weird. This past weekend I hung out with a friend who told me he decided on his career path in high school, diligently researched colleges, applied himself strenuously to his field of study, threw himself at the best internships available, and then went on multiple rounds of job interviews with companies he had also heavily researched, and that’s how he ended up in his current job. He made a choice based on the menu of job options available in our society and then did everything he could to fit into that choice.
What about me? he asked.
This is when I felt that all-too-familiar weird feeling I always get during these discussions.
I was one of those kids that just never really fit in. It wasn’t any one thing that separated me from the herd, it was more like a collection of things. I wasn’t competitive and I didn’t like sports. The latest trends tended to escape me and I usually gave weird answers whenever anyone asked me a question. I also asked weird questions when it was the other way around. During elementary school and then junior high and finally high school, it was always the same. I had friends. People did like me. But there was always something off, something about me that just didn’t fit.
I tried a variety of different strategies to deal with this. I tried being a chameleon and copying what the other kids around me were doing. That didn’t work. I tried swinging all the way to the other end of the spectrum and being totally and extremely weird, and that didn’t work either. So, somewhere around late adolescence/early adulthood I resigned myself to the fact that I was an odd-shaped person in a regular kind of world and I would probably always feel out of place.
Okay, this might sound weird, but I’ve never done a subscription box before. I know what they are, because I have friends who get them, and I’ve always thought they were interesting but…meh, not really for me. I’m not into makeup or toys or collectibles or anything that seems to go into these oh-so-popular subscription boxes.
And then I discovered The Wallflower Box.
In all my years of coaching, I’ve run into a definite pattern with INFJ and INFP artists and writers. It seems that most of us don’t decide to pursue our true calling until later in life. Usually, it’s after 40. Now, this doesn’t mean that we don’t feel the stirrings of inspiration or the pull to create long before then, but it’s not usually until we’re entering the latter half of life that we make the conscious decision to take the plunge and just do it, whatever “it” may be.
Why does it take us so long? Is it true that most INFJ and INFP personality types are just late bloomers and need more time than the rest of the population to figure out what they really want to do in life?