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by Abigail Van Buren

Young Teen Fearful of Future Has Lots of Time on Her Side

DEAR ABBY: I'm 14 and I'm terrified that I won't know what to do once I'm in college and have to decide on a long-term job. I have a lot of interests, but none that would lead me toward a career. My teachers and the books I read say I should find my passion and follow it for the rest of my life. My problem is, I don't have a stand-out passion I love intensely.

I have an amazing family who would support me in any direction I choose, but I don't know what that would be. I get good grades and work hard, and I believe I could achieve anything I choose. The problem is, I don't know what I want to do.

I know I'm young, but I worry all the time about my future and being stuck in a job I hate. I'm involved in lots of activities -- student government, piano lessons, sports, service clubs and more -- and I enjoy all of them. But none of them inspire a burning passion. Do you have any suggestions on how to find my passion? -- NEEDS A DIRECTION, ATLANTA

DEAR NEEDS A DIRECTION: Yes. And the first one is to relax and quit worrying about not having found your "passion" at 14. This isn't the Middle Ages, when young people would apprentice themselves to a guild in which they would spend the rest of their lives. You are intelligent and only beginning to explore your various talents.

You may excel in several different areas, which is good, because workers no longer necessarily stay in one kind of job for a lifetime. People are usually good at the things they enjoy, so slow down. Give yourself time to see where you excel. I am positive that if you do, you'll find your passion(s) in a field you enjoy.