the whole what should i do with my life thing

I’ve struggled with my purpose for a long time.  For most people–this whole thing is expressed as life’s work or a JOB–hopefully, that pays the bills.  But, for me, it’s not so much about a job.  It’s about why I’m even here.  I’ve always been good at most things, but I have rarely felt like what I did every day aligned much with my true talents and passions.

I’ve had many ideas about this part of my life.  Some silly (ballerina) to completely cool (National Geographic journalist).  I’ve tried a whole lot of everything only to find out that my heart isn’t in a lot of things–though I can do most anything at least competently.  And the career (yes, I’ll use that word) I’m in now was never one I planned to be anything more than a temporary detour while I figured it all out.

I guess the one thing that has kind of stuck has been the whole teaching thing.  And I really tried to make that work.  It was the last thing my mother knew I’d be.  The one thing everyone (including me) seemed sure I’d be.  And it didn’t work.  It almost killed me, honestly.  Giving it up felt awful, but also insanely good.  Like I was finally free.  But it still tugs on me.  And it has for a while.

Since I parted with the organization I worked with, I’ve been pursuing other things–sort of aimlessly, in a sort of focused way.  Ha.  I wish I was someone who was just 100% sure about everything, but I’m just not.  Truth is–I love a whole lot of stuff and hate a whole bunch of things too.  And I’m a bit like Goldilocks.  It has to be right.

But, I guess, now I’m wondering if I had the right thing back then–but just the wrong form of it.  Maybe I threw the baby out with the bath water.  All I know is that I keep bumping into things, and I keep being reminded of the passion I had for it.  And I still believe I was good at it–like almost too good at it.

I made the decision this week to go back to school again.  Because it’s not in my DNA to just give up.  And maybe this curiosity about teaching comes from that feeling.  I know I don’t–maybe can’t–do the teaching thing long-term.  I have bigger goals I still want to chase.  But what about for a little while?  I feel like I need to get it out of my system.

I was randomly thinking about it this morning.  I know I’m going to eventually transition out of my current career–hopefully in a year or two–to something more amenable to pursuing my MSW.  I’m planning on becoming a UX/UI designer for a while–something I know I’ll enjoy for the creative aspects…something that will be fairly easy to do in the Bay Area.  And something I can turn into freelance when I have to do my internships.  I was (and am) planning on doing that until I have that MSW and am licensed.  From there, my plan was to work and get counseling experience.  But what if I became a school counselor?  Or what if I taught and did private practice during nights/weekends/summers?  It would give me that experience with kids and would help me build my skills.  And I could decide exactly where/how I did that.  The problem with what I did before was more about the org I worked with.  It was more about the bureaucracy and dysfunction I found.  But what if I found a great school that aligned with my beliefs?  It seems completely doable–especially in the Bay Area.

I’d probably only do it until I started my PhD.  After that, I’d focus more on counseling, advocacy, and teaching adults.  I’d probably continue doing UX/UI to ensure I’m not a broke lady.  🙂

I just keep feeling like this thing is tugging on me for a real reason.  And I don’t know if I can keep ignoring it.  I know I’ll make a difference in the world–no matter where I end up–but I don’t think this whole experience was just a waste of time.



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