Life. This weird and wonderful life. It’s unpredictable and overwhelming at times, fascinating and fun otherwise. Right now, I feel like I am at a crossroads in life. I’m lost and trying to find my way.
From my primary school days, I knew I was meant to study well, go on to university and get a job. It’s ingrained into Indian children from when they can walk. I did all that was expected of me, not just for others but for myself too. I completed a bachelors, moved to Australia, completed a masters, found a job, bought a unit, moved around a few jobs and then found one I loved and have been in it for the last five years.
Having achieved all that, I’m currently having a sense of ‘now what?’
I have accomplished all this and it wasn’t easy. Hard work got me here along with a bit of luck. But is it really what I want? And is this all there is to life?
I still love my work even though it’s draining. I thought of cutting down to four days next year and even talked to my manager about it. While I haven’t put any paperwork in, I guess I am not completely sure if it’s what I really want. Yet, when I look for other jobs in psychology in Sydney, I hit roadblocks with some, and others aren’t too different from what I’m already doing.
Then I have been contemplating whether I should move out of Sydney. I am in love with the Shoalhaven area — Jervis Bay in particular. The more time we spend there, the more I wonder if I should just rent out my unit here in Sydney and make the sea-change. I know for a fact there are jobs available for me. I yearn to get away from Sydney traffic and the rat race. I feel like if I moved down south, I could be more productive, have more time and not have the financial and time pressures of Sydney. Yet, I’m not sure if it’s what I really want.
I would have to consider Mr Imperfect’s job here in Sydney and I would miss my friends here and have to start over again. But it’s not something I haven’t done before given I left my life in Ibra and Bombay at 5, Salalah when I was 9 and then again, left my life in Bombay at 21. I was always nervous, even afraid. But I coped and started over. But I didn’t have anyone else to think about when I left these places.
Apart from the potential sea-change, I have been looking into volunteering. I’m wondering if this is the ‘now what’ my life is looking for. I feel like I need to do something worthwhile, something with meaning. Coming close to finishing uni for good means I have more time for causes like this. The downside is apart from my local animal shelter, it’s been hard to find anything locally for the homeless, women and children. I’d love to work with all the groups if I could. But again, where do I start, I don’t really know.
Then there’s the whole writing pathway. I won’t kid you — I’m terrified. I’m shitting myself at the thought of pitching articles, submitting creative nonfiction pieces and even attempting to flesh out some of my story ideas. I look for writer jobs but I am too damn scared to even contemplate applying for them. ‘Why would anyone want me?’ or ‘I have no formal qualifications’ commonly run through my head. I read other articles and stories and am awed by the amazing writing. My fears though, quadruple after that. I signed up for NaNoWriMo in an attempt to just write next month but again, I wonder how this path is going to be.
Another path I wonder about is friendships. I’ve noticed a lot of changes in my friendships and while I’m aware I myself have pulled back a bit, I know I do that to protect myself from further pain. It doesn’t solve problems though but I hide behind the cloak of my busyness and avoid it all. Maybe this is what makes the sea-change even more appealing. That chance to start fresh.
Finally, there’s the wedding. Mr Imperfect and I were thinking sometime next year but to be perfectly honest, I don’t do weddings. I don’t have the energy or even the imagination to plan something small. I just want us to continue to be a defacto couple and not worry about any of that. At least for next year.
I’m uncertain if all this is what people refer to as a mid-life crisis. It’s this ‘now what’ sense to life that’s possibly been maintaining my low mood. One thing I did realise this week after reading Jess’ post is that I want to matter. I want to do something that matters. That adds meaning not just to my life but to lives of others.
How? I have yet to figure it out.
Have you ever gotten to a stage in life when you felt ‘now what’?
What did you do?
Until next time,