A few months ago, on the spur of the moment, I bought tickets to a small concert for my husband and I to attend one cold Saturday night. He had no idea who the band was and I had only heard a few songs. But the tickets were cheap and the vibe seemed reminiscent of our early days together when we were young and childless and time seemed unlimited. We went to see bar bands frequently and each trip was better than the last. In a split second, I tried to buy our way into the past, at least for one Saturday night.
It worked. We had an incredible time and the night was exactly how I envisioned it would be. We laughed. We danced. We acted like we were the only two people in the room in on our own joke for four hours. It was such good, relaxing fun, that, even now, when I’m stressed or burnt out, I can still call up the memory for a bit of levity.
Here is the problem: If someone had asked me then what I was looking for to relax or have fun, I couldn’t have said. It seems the older I get and the more my life is filled, the less idea I have for keeping my heart and soul filled.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a lucky woman. I have a wonderful mate. We have beautiful, healthy children who don’t cause us any more trouble than their birthrights allow and on paper my life is grand. I am fully aware of my blessings and grateful every day. If someone asked if I was happy, I would say yes without hesitation.
And yet, there is something very present in my everyday that tells me I am not complete. I have an ache for something and while I can identify the need I have no idea what it is.
“What do you want?” is a common refrain from the lips of my supportive husband (who I recognize is more supportive than he should be anymore). He doesn’t ask it in reference to dinner or drinks. Instead, it comes up when we are talking about the life I should be starting to have outside my children.
You see, they are older now and have begun to forge lives of their own. When school is in session, they are away from my care for more hours than they are under it. It is time for me to figure out what is next. I have taken steps. I’ve even started jobs. But it seems for each step forward I take two back, or at least sideways because I am scared I’m on the wrong trail.
The problem is simple; I have no idea what I want.
I’m clear on what I don’t want – to go back into a classroom, under frustratingly stifled standards, and teach. I am sure of that. But I do miss the act of teaching – introducing knowledge, creating breakthroughs, witnessing growth, nurturing souls. I think I do want that again.
I know I don’t want a corporate existence where I work, work, work at someone else’s whim for someone else’s ultimate success. I have watched people I love do that and it nearly kills them. But I do love business and the mind that I must use to be in business. I love the thrill of victory after a sale even if I still hate the initial sleaze that the beginning of a sale feels like.
Maybe it doesn’t matter what I want. Maybe I should just find a job that pays some bills and leave it at that. Work to live instead of work for life. Perhaps not everyone is meant to be fulfilled professionally. Maybe I don’t even want to be. Although, I’m pretty sure that isn’t true.
I realize these aren’t really problems that I have. No, our current layoff situation and impending financial state are far worse. But when you think you’re on the precipice of something new and different, you begin to question everything in your path and every possible path presented.
That’s where I am. I’m standing at not just a crossroads, but seemingly the on ramp of a multiple lane superhighway, and I’m not sure which direction I want this car to go. The result is I’m stalled and I’m anxious to move. I just wish I could figure out which lane I want. Then maybe it would be a smoother ride.