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How do you figure out what you want to do with your life?
At age 36, I recently resigned from a job that had lead me down a very miserable path. I worked for this company for a total of 5 years and the last 2+ years, I knew I could not work for this company. Unfortunately, I had to stay as I was the only provider for my family. My husband, had fallen into a depression after having been fired from his successful job. It took a toll on him and as a result we lost everything. For the first year he did not work and then during the 2nd year he got a part time job where he worked 2 maybe 3 days a week. We lost our beautiful house that we were going to stay in "forever" and raise a family, we filed bankruptcy, and began to self medicate ourselves. During this time, every day on my commute into my office, I wanted and hoped that I would crash my car. My commute home, I would be in tears. Getting home at night, there were times I would put on a happy face because of how down and out my husband was. I had been honest with him in my hatred of my job and company, hoping it would spur him into action, it did not. It wasn't until I resigned from my job this June that actually got him working more days. Why didn't he act sooner, like all those times I would be in tears to him telling him how I can not continue at this job with this company. He always said I could quit, but honestly that wasn't an option....I made a very nice salary and it still wasn't enough to keep us afloat. Finally we lost everything (this had happened before I resigned). Now here it is 4 months after my resignation, I have a job in the same industry as I came from, and I just can not get myself going in this job. I'm going through the motions of it but not putting my heart into it. I just don't want to do this job but what job do I want to do??? That is where I am right now, trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. The humbling experience of losing everything has been a blessing in a sense as it has taught me that I do not have to "keep up with the Jones'" It doesn't matter that I drive a Mazda, not a BMW that I live in an apartment and not a 1/2 million dollar home. This is a good evolution but what has me sitting on the couch and stress eating late at night (and still self-medicating), is that I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I talk about getting a waitressing job so I can pursue writing...I have had the last few months to write and yet my biggest obstacle is myself, as no pages in my so-called book has been written. I am lazy, I lie to myself and others and a procrastinator, but is this a symptom or a character flaw? Ultimately, I want to do something that I love, or at least like enough to tolerate getting up in the morning and going there day in and day out. There are so many things that sound great to do for a job, like a helicopter pilot, yet I have no idea what I love to do. Corporate America seems like a joke, a series of empty promises...and I say this after having completed my new business presentation/pitch for the current job I have yet can't stand already. I want to help others and feel a sense of pride in what I do, but how does this translate into finding the right job/career for me. I feel like I am all over the place, still maybe harboring some anger and resentment towards my husband for letting us get to this point (I know I am to blame as well, but why didn't he work? Why was I forced into working for a company that I despised for so long?).
OK so where in this whole saga I just outlined is my question? My question is simply, how do I find out what I love to do and make that my career??
Thanks for taking the time to answer!! Today is Monday and I had my first therapy session. I realized that I do need help and it's OK to need help. I was lucky to find a doctor so quickly so I didn't have time to change my mind. lol
It"s a beginning...
36 is not old by any streatch of the imagination. my thought is this . since you guys pretty much bottomed out and are really back at square 1 if you can treat it as "a whole new beginning". look at the area work programs or colleges. see if there is something offeredyou thought about attempting long ago and see if it is feasiable since you took another job in same unhappy job field because you had to see if there is something you want to. my twin is 42 and has just gone a huge upheaval with the man she has been with for 12 year. never married both didnt want kids then he changes his mind and does.she has been in her apt now for about a year and is now looking at college again to finish her degree in accounting. she will still have to work to pay bills of course.
I think a hug would do wonders. My friend Sandi showed me this trick for hugging yourself. Cross your arms over your chest and out your right hand where you think your heart is. Get quiet and still and do some deep breathing for a bit. Breathe in slowly--hold for a second-- then breathe out slowly. Continue this for a few minutes until your feel calm and warm and centered.
I see that you've posted in the depression topic and I get the sense from what you've described that you might be experiencing low level depression right now yourself.
I've been in that place of not feeling passionately about anything and not knowing how to motivate myself to start looking. I think in times like these what's needed is a confidence boost.
I'm going to suggest a couple of things, in addition to what as already been sugggested, of course. First, get out a piece of paper and write down everything you like about yourself ... and everything you're good at. Just write it all down without thinking too hard. As simple as "I have a nice smile" to "I'm good with numbers"
Sit back and look over that list and see if it doesn't suggest any thoughts to you like "I'm really good with children" and "I have a ton of patience" that might suggest looking toward education as a new career. Or, "I usually keep my head in an emergency" and "I love animals" might suggest you would be suited to work for a vet. And, interestingly enough vets are on a list I saw recently of jobs that will continue to grow in the future as we're a society that just loves our pets.
The next thing I'm going to suggest is to get a little cheering section started for yourself. Ariane talks about how important having a support team is ... it's also been shown to be one of the keys to living a happy life. Having contact with and being supported by family, friends and co-workers can make a world of difference when you're going through change. You need to know there are people who have your back and that you can always pick up the phone and call someone for a chat or to take a walk when you're feeling stressed.
I'd also like to suggest you sign up for daily inspirational emails, like Tut's Notes from the Universe. I get such a lift from these daily notes that prop me up and cheer me on five days a week. Here is something I just clipped from the Tut site where MIke Dooley explains what he did when he was searching for the next road to take in life:
Mike Dooley, clipped from Tut's Adventurer's Club:
"Talk about scary. As the months rolled by, there were plenty of nights I tossed, literally in a sweat, thinking "what am I doing with my life? How did I get here? What went wrong? What if I don't make any money at this? What if I have to sell my home? What if I can't find a job, and no one will buy my home? What if? What if? What if...?" And day after day, week after week, month after month, my reserves dwindled and nothing came in."
"But I knew a trick. I knew that figuring out "the how's", wasn't really my job, it was the Universe's. I also knew to focus on the end result, the kind of life I wanted, and to get busy turning over every stone, knocking on every door, following every impulse, so that theoretically, at least, the Universe could take care of the details."
To take a suggestion from Mike (and the universe) spend some time visualizing the life you want ... what does it look like, feel like, smell like? Hone in on all the glorious details. Are you back in a house, do you work for a large company, local shop, small business or are you doing something else entirely? The thought here is to visualize what a life looks like that makes you happy, that feeds and nourishes you, that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.
Once you've got the life visualized you can work on how to get from here to there. It won't happen overnight, but it's a place to start and a happy one at that.
We're all cheering for you!
I agree with Kristen. When you set out on a path to truly follow your dreams things will start to fall into place. It always takes hard work and sacrifices, but there will always be people to help you along the way. Do you live near a community college where you could take some classes to get a glimpse into potential new careers? That would be a great place to start.
Nikita, I just want to give you a big hug...you've been through so much and you're still trying. That's pretty incredible when you think about it.
Making a career change is probably one of the most difficult there is. But you've already taken a huge step in leaving what you know you'll never love behind! You're never too old, it's never too late. The way to find what you love is to simply begin trying at the things that motivate you—take a writing workshop so you're accountable to filling the pages of your book. Volunteer one day a week. Go new places and meet new people-you never know where your passion is waiting!
I agree that I sounds like you might still harbor some anger toward your husband (and maybe yourself.) Have you gone to any counseling, whether together or on your own? It might help to get everything out on the table between you so that you can move forward in pursuing what you love.
I can't tell you what it is you'll find out there, but I can say that you won't find it until you start looking, trying, doing. The best decision I ever made was to pursue my own dream of becoming a writer/editor. It meant moving to a new city, taking out money for grad school, and being an intern at the age of 28. It's been hard, and I haven't always had money and I've worked for crazy people. But nearly 5 years later I know I'm right where I should be. You'll find yourself there too.