It all started when I read a recently published Elephant Journal article about finding your passion or purpose.
The article resonated deeply with me, but I began to question myself again—what am I doing?
I found it impressive that the author of the article, a 20-something woman, was already searching for her passion. In my 20s, I robotically searched for jobs just to pay my bills with the added hope of some kind of career longevity. I paid no attention to what felt good, what would be of benefit, or even what fit my undergraduate major.
After completing a bachelor’s degree in social sciences, I ended up in accounting, primarily because I could make money. Then, I transitioned into information technology because it was more interesting than accounting and it allowed me to be self-employed.
Now, by choice, I am unemployed—so I can figure out what I really want to do.
Maybe it is my age or maybe it is my personality, but one area of the article struck me: “What’s the rush? We don’t have to have it all figured out right away.”
I questioned that because I do feel a rush. I feel rushed because I am living from savings that were supposed to be for retirement. I feel rushed because I am ashamed that at 48 years old, I am trying to figure out what I want to do, and I have grown up. I feel rushed because I do not want to take my days for granted as if they are in endless abundance. I feel rushed because guilt reminds me I am fortunate enough have the means to stop and figure it out in the first place. And most days, I feel rushed from the panic that I am still searching.
With guilt, rush, and panic, my day can go sideways quickly. And, those feelings almost never contribute to me getting any closer to my passion. I realized if I am going to find answers, I need to find ways to stay grounded through this self-discovery process. So, I put together a plan.
Here’s what is helping me minimize the panic and stay mindful during this journey.
Now more than ever, I have time to create good, consistent habits for my physical and mental health. I started a daily yoga and meditation practice, and I practice first thing in the morning. Yoga is calming but it also gets my energy flowing. Meditation reminds me to stay present and to be appreciative of many things, including the gift of having some time to figure things out. I am 99 percent switched to a plant-based eating plan. Cooking nutrient-rich meals not only saves me money but is also enjoyable. Twice monthly, I see a therapist. Therapy is helping me to make a plan, be gentle with myself, and go deeper. Luckily, my therapist is unbiased and holds me accountable.
I took the Strong Interest Inventory test (not an aptitude test), which returned a list of careers to investigate. (Take it here.) The test compared my answers to women who have the same answers and are happy in a particular career. I now have ideas for potential careers: chef, photographer, and translator. All of them surprised and delighted me. Another surprise is that all of my previous careers, according to the test, were the worst ones for me! Maybe none of those new career ideas will fit, or maybe one will, or maybe it will be a variation of several. Who knows? What I do know: there are options that interest me.
I am participating in the Elephant Journal Academy where I am learning how to use my words, broadening my critical thinking skills, and developing relationships with fellow mindful writers. To get myself out of the house and off the devices, I started volunteering weekly at a local park. Not only do I get to spend time in nature, but I also get to meet people, give back to the earth, and be of service to something other than myself. Learning and volunteering both get me out of my head, which helps me appreciate this time: the present moment.
Today, I am grateful to be in a position that is allowing me time to find my passion. I want to use my time well, not to waste it on panic, guilt, or shame.
My favorite quote from my fellow apprentice’s article is: “Everything you do right now is getting you one step closer to becoming an expert in who you want to be.”
I am holding on to that quote. Hell, I’m plastering that quote on every visible surface as a reminder to appreciate the now, especially when I’m in a rush.
Author: Juli Becker
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy & Social Editor: Callie Rushton