When I was young and naive—and 50 was ancient—if someone had told me I’d still be figuring out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life at the ripe old age of 54, I would have been shocked and probably devastated.
I mean, for most of us, 50 is well past life’s halfway mark. Aren’t we supposed to be confident and knowledgable, sailing along on the course we set in our earlier, developmental years? Aren’t spring and summer the growing, ripening seasons? Fall is for enjoying the fruits of those labors. And winter…ugh…let’s not even go into the decay of winter.
Anyway, back to my point. Now that I’m in my mid-50s, and still finding my way, I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing. If I had it all figured out and was just coasting day to day on some course I’d already set, where’s the fun in that? After all, we’re not vegetables in a garden. There’s no rule that says we can’t continue to grow and progress—and even reinvent ourselves—throughout our entire lives.
I’ve always been on my own timetable. I was just 19 when I married and had my first child. I was 24 (with two small children) when I decided to go to college. I was 34 when I went back to school for my master’s degree and 35 when I got divorced. I was 37 when I decided to give marriage another try. I was 47 when I became a runner. I was 52 when I wrote my first novel. I was 53 when I became a blogger.
So far, I’ve worked at a shoe store, a music store, a wastewater treatment consulting firm, a bank, a marketing firm, a mining and drilling company, and an insurance company. None of those were jobs I envisioned as a child, but all of them taught me something and introduced me to people that enriched my life.
Who knows what’s in my future? It’s exciting to contemplate.
That’s all well and good and the point where I intended to end this post, but if I’m being perfectly honest (and what’s the point of this blog if I’m not), at times I wish I did have a clearer roadmap. When I hear someone say, “I always knew I’d be a _______________ or I’d do _______________,” I’m a little jealous. I’m obsessed with this idea that I might be missing my purpose in life and losing precious time. Maybe that’s not a terrible thing if it motivates, but without a clear idea of what that purpose is, I just feel overwhelmed, so I do nothing or I fill my head and my time with activity, just so I feel productive. It also means I often forget to enjoy the moment—to quiet my brain and be mindful of my senses.
So for now I am working on setting aside the idea of some grand special purpose and focusing more on the everyday purposes I fulfill—being kinds to others, making someone smile, putting in an honest day’s work, enjoying myself and those around me—and learning to be quiet and listen. Listen to my intuition and the Universe and trust that life will take me where I need to go and lead me to what I should be doing next without my incessant planning and analyzing.
So that went in a deeper direction than I was anticipating when I started writing this post. For those of you that stayed with me, thank you. Now, let’s lighten things up a bit. Please take a minute to answer one or more of these questions.
What has been your favorite job so far?
Your most unusual job?
What is your dream job?
What do you want to do in retirement?