Why is it that we wait until a near death experience to review our lives? Why don’t we do that every month or so to figure out where we are straying from our path, from our true selves? If we did that as a monthly ritual, people wouldn’t experience what others call a “midlife crisis”. Actually, crisis is the wrong word. It isn’t a crisis, its a course correction. People going through a midlife crisis are actually coming into alignment with who they truly are.
If we reviewed what made us happy and focused on that throughout our lives, we wouldn’t need such a dramatic change to line up with who we really are. Instead of waiting until retirement to figure out who we are, we could spend our whole lives being that person. These thoughts have made me review my own life.
I realized as I wrote this that I don’t remember my mother piling a lot of expectations on me. She never indicated that she expected me to do anything other than ride horses well. She was particular about that. For that matter, Dad didn’t seem to have expectations of me either or maybe its just that I didn’t notice their expectations.
As a result of this, I’ve made some interesting choices. I didn’t get married and I’ve never had kids, a path very few women take. I seem to have followed the less beaten path in many of my choices. Often I was the only female or one of only a few women in my jobs and hobbies.
Some of my jobs and hobbies are well out of the norm for women in particular, but even most men wouldn’t have gotten into some of the stuff I have.
At various times in my life, I have been a:
Vehicle repossession agent
Woman’s Professional Football player
Web site designer
Expert level crocheter
Lamp-work bead maker
Emergency management volunteer
Chaos control technician
Admissions clerk in a hospital
Amateur Radio Assistant Emergency Coordinator
Skywarn weather spotter
Net control operator in ham radio
Wedding planner (not my own)
I have been going through that list and focusing on the jobs I liked and which I didn’t. I also looked at what parts of those jobs I liked and which I didn’t to find the real me. There is a theme emerging pretty clearly. I need freedom and variety to be happy. Every time I had a job that constricted me, I disliked it. Sometimes that dislike came quickly. Sometimes the job had other things that made up for the lack of freedom and I didn’t hate it immediately, but I always came to hate it.
I also need autonomy. Having someone tell me what to do and exactly how to do it drives me batty. I am not a robot to be programmed. I am a human being and a creative one at that. I need to be allowed to think for myself. I need to find the way to the desired result in my own way. After all, my way might be better or at least better for me.
Other revelations include the need to be learning new things. Okay maybe that isn’t a revelation. I’ve known I get a charge out of learning new stuff, but other things were a little bit of a surprise. I like being different and, I’m comfortable being different. I like inspiring other women to do things out of the norm. I like inspiring people to see beyond the box they have built around themselves and to push their self imposed limitations. I like pushing people’s perceptions of reality to broader horizons. I also need to feel valued and to feel that I am doing some kind of good in whatever I do.
So what kind of employment can I find with these traits?
I haven’t got a clue. The roles that have called me the most are disaster related and creative. My dream job is to create an Emergency Management team that would stage before a large disaster and step in to help the overwhelmed locals through the first two or three days. Those are the critical times in a disaster when the loss of life is highest and when I feel my chaos control skills would be most useful. When disasters aren’t happening, I could be focusing on the creative stuff like writing.
The thing is, there is no path to that role. I only know of one organization that even comes close to that and they focus on debris removal, not disaster management. Maybe they haven’t thought of that potential yet . . .
Looks like I have some research to do.
When was the last time you sat down to review your life? Have you ever? You should make your course corrections along the whole path so the adjustments are easy. If you wait, you may have to do what I’m doing and blaze your own trail through the bush.