I met another 50-something woman today who shared her life quest. It's the same story I've heard for the last 10 years from women in a similar life phase.
They describe themselves as feeling somewhat "lost." They want to know how to fill their time. They want to know what comes next. They want to feel a sense of purpose. The once hectic life of being a mom is over. Time is plentiful, but with no structure, it can feel hard to know how to fill.
Life Purpose Coaching
I was trained as a Life Purpose Coach ten years ago. There is a tool Dr. Katie Brazelton created called Conversations On Purpose a woman can go through with a friend or preferably with a life coach. The chapters help a woman discover new things about herself and point her in a direction.
I've gone through this book with many women I've coached.
I will say, though, putting what is learned into action doesn't come easily. There is not usually an employer waiting at the other end saying "Come and work for me, I will pay you a lot of money, and you will be greatly fulfilled."
Putting Findings Into Practice
The path to putting her discoveries into practice often ends up in frustration instead. It's not easy to make the dream happen.
I've discovered even making one's goal "being kind to others" becomes complicated. At the long term care home I visited, I pushed a woman outside because she couldn't get there on her own in her wheel chair. It was then I learned she was not allowed outside without permission. I violated a rule just by trying to be nice.
Another time, the man in the hospital bed beside my mother-in-law wanted a glass of water. I offered to fetch it but was stopped by a nurse who told me he might be on a water restriction diet. There would be no helping this man for me that day.
It's frustrating when we can't even do something simple for another to feel more fulfilled.
One of My Books
This desire to be purposeful and the accompanying roadblocks are a common denominator we all seem to face.
In my book, What's Next in Midlife? I address this issue of seeking fulfillment. I don't promise my book will solve this heart-cry, but it presents a starting point.
A rabbi I listened to on TV encouraged his audience participant with similar advice -- list your gifts and find ways to use them.
My book offers exercises to help you discover your 5 top passions. These are things unique to you.
These will include a skill set, a theme that has been common throughout life, and the obvious things God has called you to. If you're a mom, for instance, caring for your family might be one of your greatest passions at this time in your life.
Your top passions might include health, organic farming, crochet, quilting, and caring for grandchildren. Or, you might be passionate about gardening, cooking, creating decor, travel, and caring for your home.
It's a given that you are passionate about God, Jesus, Bible study and sharing his message. Try to narrow down actions instead.
Develop Your Gifts
Once you know your passions and areas of gifting, work on them. Develop them without an end-sight in mind. That is, just because you like to cook doesn't mean you have to aspire to work in a restaurant. Just because you love to create decor doesn't mean you need to sell it.
Develop your gifts and passions and offer them to God to use as he desires. See what he does with them.
Will life be fulfilling every day once you do this? Not likely. I don't think anyone can promise you that.
We all have great days and boring days. It's part of life. Look to God. Follow his lead and do the best with what you have and with the insight God gives you.