Did you ever feel like you were running around in circles? I ask because, well, I'm hoping I'm not the only one.
At a recent dinner party, I was seated next to a late 40-something mother of three-- A newly divorced and happily dating woman overflowing with energy and a sense of wonder, who asked me a simple question-- What's your passion?
My blank stare caused her to continue firing more probing questions faster than I could say "Margarita on the rocks, please!". (And, I don't even drink.) Her high octane wonder was all about "reinventing" herself and she wanted a little "how to" advice from me.
"What excites you-- makes you jump out of bed every morning ready to meet the world? What are you just itching to do? Are you traveling, where's your next adventure, what's new and exciting that's coming up for you???"
Her questions instantly depressed me because I couldn't think of One. Single. Thing. that would even remotely sound "exciting or passionate" to this woman who was only 6 years younger than me.
Had I lost my fire? Was I really as boring and underachieving as I felt at that moment?
It reminded me how little I've managed to accomplished lately despite feeling like I've been in overdrive for months-- chasing important paperwork, coordinating appointments, arranging get togethers, looking for all the stuff I can't seem to locate when I need it... You get the picture.... running in never ending circles with no sense of accomplishment and definitely not an ounce of passion.
A sense of accomplishment is one of the things I miss most since I stopped working nearly four years ago. Even saying it's been FOUR years puts a lump in my throat... What the heck have I been doing all this time and when was the last time I felt that joyous rush my dinner partner was gushing about?
Let me back up by saying I stopped working for what I thought at the time were very good reasons-- not the least of which was that I had accomplished enough to have earned the right to "retire". And, at the time, I thought I had prepared myself for retirement with countless interesting and meaningful things that I looked forward to doing with my new found spare time.
Leisure time worked really well for me-- for about a week and a half. Seriously, how much sleeping in and lunching with friends can a Type A personality girl do?
In short, I have not learned to fully embrace life in the slow lane-- A new life without fast-paced deadlines, business meetings that made my blood boil, globe trotting to film festivals, or creative sessions that made me sit straight up in my chair with joy.
Yes, I now do meaningful work with two important charities-- arts education and lupus-- and yes, I spend far more quality time with family and close friends, but it's that sense of accomplishment-- the excitement of a successful project you can see or touch, that's left me feeling like I'm a bit lost and running in circles.
So after that dinner party I took a long hard look at "retirement" (gawd I hate that word) and grabbed the bull by the horns, so to speak. My first step was to embrace and enjoy running in circles... By way of my sewing machine. I've spent hours going round and round and round and the sense of accomplishment with every turn has been refreshing and even exciting as I watched the project come together.
No, this might not sound glamorous or exciting to some, and definitely not to my dinner companion, but I'm coming to understand that "following your passion" can also be finely disguised as being content with your life.
How's life treating you?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: Joanna Jenkins