I know that I’m not the only one. I know others suffer from this too. My problem? I’m in my mid-50’s and I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I’m not going through a major life-changing event or a mid-life crisis, I’m just trying to figure out how I want to spend the next, hopefully, four decades.
Here’s what I mean:
- Since I work virtually from my home office, we could sell our house and move to sunny Florida, out west to say Montana or Utah or even a foreign country. I read all the time about Spain, Portugal, Thailand, France, Germany, Costa Rica being great places to live and retire abroad. I took Spanish in high school, it wouldn’t be hard to learn again, right?
- With our kids grown and mostly out of the house, I could quit my job and try something new. We’ve talked of opening a coffee/pastry/book store/gift shop. I could be my own boss, right? I could try to become the next John Grisham. (Yea, I know it doesn’t quite work that way, but hang with me here.) It would probably be a bit early to retire for good, but why not? You only have one life right, you have to make the best of it. Finally, I used to throw a pretty good curve, I could try out to be a Major League Baseball pitcher. Yes, it would be a long shot, but have you looked at some of the relief pitchers that have jobs in the National League East?
- I could quit my job and spend March to August, walking the Appalachian Trail, the 2,200 mile trail that runs from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Katahdin, Maine or I could go an international route and hike the 500 mile Camino Del Santiago, which travels from Saint Jean Pied de Port, France to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain.
Oh the choices. There are many. No, I won’t be trying out for any baseball teams in the near future, that ship has sailed, and I doubt any long hikes are in my future, my wife looks at me like I’m a crazy fool anytime I suggest it, but I still have a lot of options.
When we were kids, my teachers encouraged us to dream, but still learn a valuable skill. Many of the students would stay close to home, but a few others would leave the area. As high school junior and senior, the question of what to do was a tough one for me. I figured the answer of how I was going to spend the next fifty years would come to me if I just buckled up, studied, and came up with a plan.
Of course, it didn’t happen that way.
It seemed so easy for everyone else. For our high school class valedictorian, it was college, obviously. We all knew that she was a whiz and was going to go far. For Jimmy, it was the military. For Greg, it was going into the family business.
In reality, we have a seeming endless amount of choices.
Oh, I’ve made choices over the years, but I still feel like that kid. Oh sure, I can eliminate a few options. Yes, Engineer, Emergency Room Doctor, Brain Surgeon, Math Teacher, NASA Astronaut are all off the table. They’re just not happening, but look what’s still on: Novel Writer, Adjunct College Professor, Teacher, and even Pet Sitter.
Yes, I’m older, I’m slower, I don’t hear as well as I used too, but I feel like I’m still working on that question. I get frustrated that I don’t have an answer, but I’m thinking that’s what life is all about, working to figure out what we want to do when we grow up, right up until the very end.
What do you think? Did you always know how you wanted to spend your life? Do you still think about the life questions? Did you follow your passion or did you make the sensible choice and follow opportunity?
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