Directions aren’t always found online.

After Garrett’s passing, there’s been a lot of personal reflection between folks and old friends. A long-time-ago-high-school contact wrote to me and it struck a chord. He feels directionless. More interestingly, he isn’t alone. I received several other emails from people, all of us expressing a certain amount of confusion over where we are in life, where we should be, and what we’re doing with the time that we have. I’ve responded as saying:

You said, “I feel I am lost in life and I really don’t know what I am doing and I don’t even know what I want to do with my life.“

I think we all feel that way at many, many times in our lives. Even people who “have it all” suffer in other ways. I mean, look at me. Everybody always thinks I’ve really got the perfect life: I’m married 7 years, have been Faculty at Chico State, won an award for best online courses, am popular, professionally successful, even “pretty,” and now I’m on a full-ride Ph.D. at Virginia Tech. I’m an amateur triathlete. I have lots of friends and a supportive family.

If you were to look behind the curtain, the truth is very different. My marriage was a failure (to us both). The divorce process has been ugly. My resulting financial situation is AWFUL (he left me with all of the debt). I don’t have many friends I can really trust and I have even less friends here in Virginia. Because I work two jobs and study all of the time, I’m not in good contact with my old friends, and often I feel isolated and very, very lonely. I often ask myself, “What is the point of it all? What am I doing with my life? What is my purpose?”

And there’s more days than I can count where I cry myself to sleep at night and feel like my life is cruel, hard, meaningless, and has no purpose. I’m not miserable enough to die or end my life, but I often wonder, “Would anyone notice if I just disappeared? Would anyone care?”

I think that at our age, it’s common to feel directionless. This is especially true when someone (young) we know passes away. There a sort of confusion about who we are, what we want to be, and how do we get there? We are coming out of our late-20’s, a second adolescence of our now-ending young adulthood and the opportunities appear somewhat limited. We want to have fun, but have nice cars and houses and jobs that we love. I’m not entirely sure we’ll ever have all of those things. I’m starting to think that we need to pick one, maybe two, of those desires and make them the priority by which to live our life … perhaps in that we will find the happiness (or at least satisfaction) for which we are searching. I have chosen to desire a job that I love, and to have fun. The car and the house and the status and the … whatever … it doesn’t matter as much to me.

So, don’t worry too much about feeling directionless. It’s a waste of energy. Instead, put those concerns towards creating your opportunities. A purpose will find you. The trick is that you have to have your eyes open to it when it comes by. And when it does come by, you have to act upon it, especially if it means leaving your comfort behind. Don’t deliberate for too long! We only change when we put ourselves in situations that allow us to change. The choice to do or not to do is always yours.
But, that’s just my two-cents’ worth.