What the What is My What?

I am almost 38 years old and I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I have a pretty clear picture of WHO I want to be, but that person is financially secure and not drowning in debt. That is the part I struggle with. How do I get to that place without succumbing to the everydayness (sure, that’s a word) and apathy of it? How do I find something that lights my soul on fire (because, really, isn’t that what everyone is ultimately looking for) AND pays the bills? When I hear people say things like, “My job doesn’t even feel like work because I love what I do so much,” I want to barf all over their paycheck. I mean, good for you. Really. But I’m bitter and jealous and I’m allowed to be. So here is the part where self-help gurus everywhere tell me anything is possible if you want it badly enough, work hard enough, and believe in yourself. It IS possible to achieve your goals and live your dreams. Well, the truth is, I believe that. The problem, however, is that I have no identifiable goals and dreams other than raising my son well (but I’m putting a check mark next to that one already because it’s a given and, unfortunately, doesn’t pay very well), and being financially secure, preferably while also having more time to spend with my Roo (that’s my son, for those of you just joining the party).

Let’s take a quick detour to the land of goals, shall we? How many times have you been advised to set “SMART” goals? In case you are one of the lucky ones who have never had to do this, SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. I get it. I get why that makes sense. But, man, I don’t know if I’ve ever rolled my eyes harder.  And maybe it’s just me. Maybe most people have goals they can actually define in this way. Maybe I’ve just never cared about anything enough or wanted anything badly enough to even take the time to set the goal. I read personal development books (that term sounds so much more sophisticated than “self-help”) and listen to podcasts and everyone is talking about goals, goals, goals and how to find your path to achieving them. Meanwhile, I’m just over here screaming, “But how the living F do I know what I even want to do???”  Sure, I’ve had fluctuating dreams; for about two weeks, I was really passionate about opening a non-profit under Dave Eggers’ 826 model, and for a while I only wanted to work with dogs (because, ya know…humans). Recently, I’ve been interested in social media marketing. But nothing sticks. Nothing has really had a hold on me.

Having a child has changed how I perceive time and its value and, suddenly, I so strongly want something else. But there’s no point in a why if there’s no what to apply it to. (Huh?… Stay with me here) My point is, I don’t know how much therapy, soul-searching, and reflection it’s supposed to take to figure this out. I am inspired by people like Rachel Hollis (who, incidentally, I have developed an enormous platonic crush on) who do their job well and light a fire under my ass. I’m excited to go to the PA Conference for Women next week because that’s how I felt when I left the conference last year. Sure, the books and the podcasts and the conferences help me find the tools, or the how.  So, I’ve got my why, I’ve got my how, but what the what is my what?!? I feel like this is typically the first piece of the puzzle for people, but, for me, this piece must have slid between the cracks of the couch or jumped into the dark hole where all the missing socks go. Never stop searching, though. Just like those socks, it’s gotta be there somewhere. Holler if ya hear me. 😉

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