I just finished reading 'Better Than Normal', which I really enjoyed. I'm trying to use it to FINALLY lead the life I was meant to lead but the one I've never found. Yet, like most people I have had a difficult past.
Divorced parents, abusive stepfather and I moved out immediately after high school. I worked two jobs to survive, married a man whom I thought was wonderful, only to find out he had a drug and alcohol problem when I was pregnant for our son. I got divorced and spent the next 13 years as a single mom, working at unrewarding jobs.
I remarried five years ago to a wonderful man. It was bumpy for the first few years due to children and exes, but we're now on the right path. Last year all the children were in college, and knowing how much I'd miss them, I took classes, myself. I'm still trying to figure out what I'd enjoy doing now that I have the chance.
I spent months researching and meeting with a career coach, but still no clear path appeared, so I just took a few classes to get out. I turned 50 this year and feel like so much of my life has passed me by. 'Better Than Normal' was of great interest, because I'm feeling the same old feelings of loneliness and not knowing what to do with my life. I've felt like this for as long as I can remember.
I tried therapy, but never got anywhere with that. I filled out the questionnaires and found I scored highest on Hyper-alert and then Shy. Hyper-alert was not surprising, but Shy? Interesting; if I said that to my family they'd laugh at you. I talk non-stop, but only to my family and a few close friends.
Along with my not being able to figure out what I can do to feel fulfilled in regards to work, I feel lonely. I don't have to go out, but I feel lonely when I'm alone too long. I have tried to force myself to find things outside the house to do but nothing seems interesting -- crazy, right?
A whole world full of things, and I can't seems to find my spark. I'd appreciate any help you can offer.
So many people spend their lives going from this to that, searching for their spark, their calling, their life’s work, and yet they never find it. Yet, not everyone has a calling. To quote John Lennon, "life is what happens while we are making other plans”.
Many children know their calling early on, while many seniors look back and realize they never found it. Some find it quite by accident, while others need insight. But, I will tell you that is not what happiness is about -- some never find it, yet are quite happy. Others do and are miserable. Happiness is a means of travel through life, not a goal to be pursued.
If at this stage of the game you still haven't found what you truly enjoy, I suggest you set aside your perceptions of what is a successful vocation, what is mediocre and what is undesirable. Many times we worry about what others will think, when in fact it takes each and every quirky person to make the world go 'round. How much more fun in life to do something you enjoy, even if others wouldn't think of doing such a thing!
"To thine own self be true," wrote Shakespeare. How true! We also have to be who we are at the right moment in time. You are correct in saying we all have troubled pasts. But you seemed to have weathered those troubles well. You were a wife when you needed to be and you were an involved mother when you needed to be. Now it’s on you to do as you please.
So now that the children are gone, you have yourself to care for. Since you're still not certain of what to do, why not choose some charities and do volunteer work? Love animals? Volunteer at your local animal shelter to give dogs or cats some much needed love? Volunteer at a women's shelter, and give the moms a break while you read to children?
Try the local food bank, where you can help prepare meals or help serve the homeless and the hungry. Enjoy working with your hands? Take a sewing class, cake decorating, pottery, painting or any types of crafts. Who knows? You might find your passion while trying out different things and create your own business.
Don't fall for the notion that shy people don't talk. As I discuss in my book, 'Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional' the shy person is comfortable around family and a few chosen friends. Around these people she feels comfortable, safe and can talk away and enjoy herself thoroughly. Yet, around strangers she prefers to remain quiet and watch.
You're limited only by the limitations of your own mind, Marie. Do what feels fun, without losing what feels comfortable. Read my advice in How Does E Revamp Herself To Find Employment In This Constricted Economy?. Network with family and friends, too, because they can offer you valuable advice. Most of all, enjoy this time in your life. The hard part is behind you -- time to sing in the rain! All the best.