While I love the idea of having a life guided by knowing what we want to be when we grow up, I find that, in practice, it keeps us from getting busy living the life that’s right in front of us. A reader wrote in on this theme, and I thought I’d share what I wrote to her about it.
Here’s what she wrote:
I really hope that I can get out of this funk of 10 plus years.
As I said I have everything in life a woman could want. Bright, independent children, a loving and supportive husband, and I live in a country with a reasonable cost of living without snow all year round.
My problem is that I have nothing that makes me jump out of bed with excitement for. To distract myself I watch tv and play Solitaire.
I can sing, write songs, bake upholster, sew, and much more. I can also do administrative duties and management. But I want to do none of it. Right now I am teaching English in Ecuador but after almost four months of a five month contract I want to quit. I feel that I am not putting in enough personal effort. I don’t want to cook or clean. I survive by cooking in bulk on those rare days when I pull myself together and with eating out. I have tried wellbutrin and Zoloft, but they haven’t done much and interfere with numbness and tingling that I feel in my feet and hands. I have also tried CBT.
I think that if I could just figure out what I want to do with my life, then I will have a reason to exist
And a creative giant I am.
Here’s my response:
Thanks so much for sharing this with me!
I’m really hit or miss when it comes to helping people find something that helps them get lit up, as most people come to me with something they want to start finishing. But something that occurs to me is that you’re not really learning anything new, and Creative Giants die (quickly or slowly) when we’re not learning and growing.
Your lead-in also suggests that you’ve reached some upper limit problem and/or probably aren’t giving yourself permission to claim … something … because “life is good.” One of the things mammas don’t teach us is that getting over “Level 8” — rating your life from 0-10, with 10 being mind-blowingly awesome — is really, really hard. A place to scratch around is something you’ve told yourself you can’t do/be AND be an excellent mom or wife.
You might also try Andrea Owen’s 52 Ways to Live a KickAss Life.
| I think that if I could just figure out what I want to do with my life, then I will have a reason to exist
Oh man, can this be a tar pit for Creative Giants! Better to figure out what matters to you for the next 3-5 years. See Worrying About What You Want to Be When You Grow Up Is Pointless, my convo with Jeff Goins, and my convo with Jen Louden.
One last thing: subtract your age from 85, then divide that number by 5. That’s the number of significant, full-power projects you have remaining in your life to do. What goes on that list? (Hat tip to Stewart Brand via Kevin Kelly via Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans.)
Hope this helps!
What can you do today if your calling isn’t calling you?