That moment when you realize that every plan you’ve ever had for your life has failed–and wonderful things have still happened to you. That moment when circumstances are forcing you to make choices you never anticipated facing, again. That moment that feels like a choice between the life everyone else thinks you should have and the life you’ve always dreamed of having.
This is that moment, for me.
I’ve tried and failed at a lot of things, and I’m just realizing this now–I’ve never looked at my life from this perspective before. I’ve never paused here long enough; I’ve always been rushing towards the next plan, the next goal, the next achievement. I tried being an academic, and the economy crashed halfway through my four years of college, taking my ivory tower dreams down with it. I tried to serve as a soldier, and broke my pelvis. I tried to turn my EMT certification into a career in EMS, and my partner came up on orders and we left all of my work behind. This time I tried to go to grad school and earn my MLIS–but my school has decided to dismantle their online/distance program, and I’m being left high and dry, less than halfway through my required credits.
You’d think I’d have realized there was a pattern here before tonight.
Now I’m in that moment of self-doubt, of guilt, of fear. I’m in that moment where I’m realizing how fortunate I’ve been, to have so many amazing people around me and supporting me. And I’m in that moment without direction, when the bottom falls out and you are hanging in empty space waiting to fall. I’ve been in and out of this moment all day, and while its been an interesting exercise in introspection, I haven’t come any closer to answering the relevant question: what the fuck am I supposed to do now?
I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now, but I do know that I’m searching for something, for meaning, for vocation. I’m searching for my calling, the work that feels right down in my gut, the work that washes away doubt and guilt and makes my soul sing. None of these past goals came to fruition for me, I think, because none of these goals represents my Work, my calling. And I know that I’m going to keep failing until I find it.
I’m not afraid of failing, though it does make me feel guilty (mostly for disappointing my family), and it makes me worry about practical things (like student loan debt or bills). I’m willing to try and fail as many times as it takes–I just don’t know where to start. When you’re looking for your calling, where do you begin?