“Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere you find yourself” – Author Unknown
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” -Socrates
For several blog posts now I have analyzed the unsettled feelings I am having as I transition from teaching into retirement. I have been going in circles, regurgitated the same emotions in different ways-searching for a symbonic grounding in my life that will become my new reality. I have been revelling in this limbo space – making plans of the things I want to accomplish, discussing the importance of belonging to a community but all posts were written looking for the immediate solution of feeling settled and embracing my new life. I expected all of that without doing the homework. How can I embrace my new life when I have been contemplating my future with yesterday’s lenses. It is time to stop lamenting about what is over and begin the hard work to figure out who I really am and what my purpose really is in life! I have been reading several different books and articles and discussing these ideas with anyone who cares to listen. A lot of the “finding your purpose” type of articles have similar themes. They all examine important life questions. These questions make you think about who and what you are. It is not until after you are able to fully delve into these questions do you really learn who you really are and from there – where you are going! I have tried to sum up the articles that I have read into categories and have tried taking a stab at answering these to the best that I can. I am asking my readers (ha ha) to examine the same questions and make comments. I think that one of the best ways we expand our thinking and grow is through active dialogue with others – who might have different perspectives and alternate points of view.
What makes you come alive or what do you absolutely love?
This question repeats itself in different ways in almost every article I read… basically what inspires you, what fuels you and connects you to this universe. That is a huge question but it is also very simple. For me -being with the people in my life that I love – my family and my friends, positive energy, accomplishing a job to the best of my ability, exercising, and nature.
What are your innate strengths and greatest accomplishments?
This is a harder question-what am I good at and what am I proudest about? The “modest me” does not want to answer this question. Sometimes people’s thoughts about what they perceive me to be good at and what I think I am truly good at don’t necessarily align! For me – I am creative, hard-working and never give up. I think I am a good listener and I read other people well. I plan and execute events well. I am fairly competent on a computer – especially creating videos. I love to exercise (compared to sitting at a desk all day) and I love being outside!
What scares you?
Some articles refer to this as “the obstacles that one faces” along the way – although I like asking myself what scares me? This idea comes from reading the book, “Year of Yes” by Shondra Rhimes. The book, while controversial in my book club, was about Rhime’s journey of personal growth. The introverted Grey’s Anatomy creator realized she needed to go outside of her comfort zone and say yes to doing the things that scared her. Her change was transformational. For me: Losing loved ones (especially my children…I can’t breathe when I think about it) beyond that… speaking publicly, failing to do something that I commit to doing the best I can possibly do.
What do you want to contribute to this world?
How will you measure your life? What do you want people to remember you for? I have thought a lot about this particular question. Maybe that is why I struggled (am struggling) with retirement. What do I want to contribute to the world after my teaching career? Personally – I want to have touched lives and made an impact on the people that I meet (maybe this is what drew me to teaching in the first place?) First and foremost I want to have deeply and profoundly made an impact on my children! I want them to be healthy and happy adults who don’t need me – but want me in their lives. I want them to contribute to life in a positive way, making this world a better place for themselves and the people around them. But beyond my children, I want to continue to grow both mentally and spiritually. I want to grow alongside others, be enriched, and feel the positive energy of others – but I want to exude it myself. I want people to feel good being around me. Such soul searching! I feel like I am getting somewhere! However, how do I weave these four questions and transform into the next me? Stay tuned!