September 28, 2011

Sometimes I feel a lot of pressure to have “it all figured out.”

Photo: Cayusa

My Entire-Life Crisis?

My quarter-life crisis should have ended by now, but since it hasn’t, I have this creeping fear that this state will last forever.

I hear my friends having the same struggles.

What should I do? How should I spend my life?

This is our sound, over and over again, a reverberating noise throughout our bodies.

The problem is, we seem to think that there is one thing we are meant to do and when we find it – poof! We will know it and we will be satisfied.

Photo: key lime pie yumyum

When I was a kid, people would ask: what do you want to be when you grow up?

The answer was usually: dolphin trainer. It was simple.

The point is, I too thought there was one thing I would do with my life.

Today the average American changes careers 11 times throughout their life.

That sounds like a lot of life crises to me.

American anthropologist, Ruth Benedict once said: “The trouble with life isn’t that there is no answer, it’s that there are so many answers.”

Photo: Paul Baron

Do you know how many advertisements the average person is exposed to each day?


Choices are all around us.

For example, there are over 32 brands of toilet paper to choose from.

It was different for my parent’s generation. They went to school, earned a degree and then started a career. They didn’t dabble around in unknown dreams or personal explorations.

They didn’t have as many brands of toilet paper to choose from.

Today there is emphasis on things like, personal fulfillment, individuality and aligning our lives with our true self.

Sometimes I feel envious of those people that seem “so together” and organized about their lives. I often feel crumbly, like a sand castle that has been cooked by the sun causing the brittle layers to flake off piece by piece.

Recently, I went to a career workshop on finding your life’s purpose. They too wanted us to find one thing.

This felt like a lot of pressure.

I realized the word “purpose” suggests of something outside of oneself, kind of like destiny.

Destiny = a path that is predetermined.

But I don’t believe in destiny and I have come to feel cautious of the word “purpose” because I am learning that life can follow many paths. We need not have just one purpose; we are all so much bigger than that.

Anais Nin said:  “Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.”

Photo: dodongjan

Everything is like footprints in the sand; it will all eventually be washed away.

We all need to remember to breathe.

Limbo is a painful place, but it will not be the only place.

The other day, I was walking with my boy around the park. We were talking about moving from our town because there are certain things we feel are “missing.”

Then, I had a sort of epiphany. We can turn what is “missing” into a reason to create.

So many of us seem to want so much and yet, we are afraid to build it ourselves. We put responsibility on the outside. We want the answer to fall into our laps. We want someone else to do it.

We like to think we have some higher purpose and we assign great importance to this. But things are never as important as we think they are. Purpose is what we make it.

If only I would listen more to this ache I have to love more deeply. Then there would be no doubt.

I want to breathe more rounded-ly and be brave more often.

I have made a promise to myself.

It goes something like this:

Stop assigning responsibility to something other than yourself.

Pretend that now is all there is.

Whatever it is you are doing now, do it and do it well.

Imagine it is quicksand and let it suck you up to the point where you become part of it.

And don’t worry so much.

Every path is the right path. Each is born out of your own wisdom.

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