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I feel like life is too short and too precious to just "put up with." I want fulfillment!

Tagged as: Big Questions, Family<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (30 November 2008) 5 Answers - (Newest, 1 December 2008)
A female United States age 41-50, anonymous writes:

I just have to get this off my chest, and if you can help me, I will be so grateful. I can take an honest answer, whether or not it is the one I want to hear, as long as you genuinely want to help.

When I was in college, I struggled to figure out what I wanted to do, and I felt so lost and confused, but I realized that the longer I kept changing my major, the faster time was running out. I became a highschool teacher, and now I regret it so much. My parents say that it's a good job, with good benefits, and this is true. I'm grateful that I'm not one of those people working at McDonalds, for example, but I still long for more and I feel like there is some other occupation out there that is just perfect, made in heaven just for me. There's something I was meant to do, but I'm scared that it's too late to do it now.

I feel like life is too short and too precious to just "put up with." I want fulfillment. I'm so scared because I don't know exactly what occupation would have been perfect for me, and I'm so scared that it's too late for me to do whatever I was meant to do.

I'm not complaining, just need to get this off my chest. I am starting to hate my job. I wake up in the morning with knots in my stomach because I dread my job so much, and I don't know what I'm going to find when I get there.

My parents say that it's meaningful because I'm making a difference in a kid's life, and they are right... but my heart is elsewhere. Sometimes I'm not even sure if I AM making a difference... I teach a class that a lot of kids are being made to take, they don't want to learn, and five years from now they won't remember a thing I taught them.

What occupation is it "too late" to do? What is closed to me at this point in life? What do you do when you're in the wrong occupation and you don't want to spend your life doing something your heart's not in, but not sure what the "right" one is?

I'm so scared that my calling has passed me by.

Sometimes I cry myself to sleep because I feel so alone, and I wish and wish I were back in college. I hate myself for the mistakes I made, and it's so frustrating that when you make mistakes in life, by the time you've realized it, there's no going back. I think, what's the point of learning from your mistakes?

If you can't help me, I hope that my lesson will spare just one person all the heartache I've suffered. I wish with all my heart I had taken a gap year instead of going straight to college. Most people in the USA, where I'm from, don't know what that is. I wish I had traveled, or done an internship, etc., rather than gone off and gotten wedded to a profession... I keep wondering if things would have been different.

If you can help me, thank you :)

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A reader, anonymous, writes (1 December 2008):

That's amazing that you are going to be a firefighter. I admire you guys... I am not brave enough to enter a burning building, firefighers are really heroic.

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A female reader, katatonik United States +, writes (30 November 2008):

katatonik agony auntNever too late, depending on the job. Having spent four years in college getting a bachelor's degree in English literature, only to pursue a career in firefighting (completely unrelated!!) I think I understand a little of how you're feeling. You may feel locked in to your current profession, but don't!

The first thing you need to do is identify another area of study that is of interest to you. Look into what credentials, certifications, licensing, training, etc you might need to acquire before getting hired in that field and then find out where in your area such training is available. Community college is a great resource and often offers night classes. I'm working on my associate's through a CC in my area and have found the experience MUCH more straightforward than four-year university. They understand that many of their students work a job already and are trying to get into a different field, so the class schedules can be quite flexible.

Most importantly, don't let anyone discourage you from what you are doing. You only get one life, so YOUR HAPPINESS is more important than almost anything...and that includes living up to your parents' dreams for you. If your parents think your current job is great, you can probably expect to meet with some opposition from them if you try to pursue a different field. And it might be a while before they see things your way. (It took my dad two years to tolerate my career choice and his acceptance of it is something I'm still working on.) In the meantime, don't let anyone's skepticism get to you. You are young and educated and can succeed at virtually anything to which you apply yourself. Good luck and please feel free to PM me =]

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (30 November 2008):

The first thing you need is to figure out what you do want to do, and then start working towards it.

In order to become qualified, you have a few options.

1) Extension schools: some colleges have night classes you can take (I know for certain that Harvard has one). Take a few years to get a degree that will open some job opportunities.

2) Graduate school: since you have a bachelor's degree, you can take 1 or 2 years off and get a graduate degree, as this would open up more opportunities.

3) Business: you do not need a degree to start one, figure out what you want to do, and start your own. Start it parallel to your present employment, and if you are successful, you could ditch your job. This is easier than you may think, and could even be done via Ebay.

There is actually another alternative, if you have some basic math background - Actuarial Exams. In order to be an actuary, you need to pass a few challenging tests, and you do NOT need a fancy degree. Pass even the first 2, and you can be employed by most companies. Actuaries make quite a bit of money, and is a wonderful career if you have any interest in numbers whatsoever.

Overall, my personal suggestion is to continue your education, as education opens quite a few doors to exiting careers.

Also, could you give more details about what you teach and what you are interested in doing, so you could get more focused advice.

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A female reader, Teacake United States +, writes (30 November 2008):

Teacake agony auntI think a lot of people have the same thoughts. You are by far not too old to peruse any dream you want! What is it that interests you? Traveling to shop and open a store with those things? Pastry chef? Private eye?

Just tossing things in the air.

is there a vocational school in your area? Just start slow with your ideas and do the research. If you make a few mistakes along the path, that is fine because you are still trying to find your calling. Not everyone does but everyone I think must think they have one.

Teaching school is very stressful and I don't know anyone in that profession that enjoys it.

ALSO do not talk to your parents about this anymore! Parents often try to discourage their children's dreams. Its your right to follow your heart! Good luck!

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A female reader, nicole90 United States +, writes (30 November 2008):

nicole90 agony auntI have not been through college and haven't decided a major but I have a job now that is hard to get excited about. Mine is nothing in comparison to yours but I get that same feeling of dread. My answer to you is figure out something that helps people and you love to do. If you find something you love doing and find a job where you can apply it you can change someones life. For instance, photography. It's something I don't know I could live without. Also, animals are a big part of my life too. I am planning on shooting wildlife photography and selling it. There are endless results out there. Something where everything you want comes together and makes your time spent doing it feel worthwhile. Hope this helps!

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