How do you know if you’re on the right path?

Seems like an odd question to be asking, or does it? I have to admit, I’m in no way, shape or form, equipped to answer it. I should be. Having my fifth decade alive looming in the no so distant future, surely I should know.

What does this say of my ability to help guide and shape our future generations? I consider myself as down to earth, patient, nurturing and fairly knowledgeable. I have been successful in raising three fabulous children with my better half. I keep a lovely home, drive a decent car, enjoy the company of four crazy dogs, have a caring family and some wonderful friends. So why the hell don’t I know what’s right about the path I’m on.

Take a step back. I met my soul mate when I was three weeks shy of 16. He was everything a girl could hope for – funny, thoughtful, kind, handsome, smart and, apparently, head over heels in love with me. That was back in 1983. We were married in 1988. We had three children; one in 1990, one in 1992 and the last one in 1995. We’re still joined in loving matrimony and neither of us would have it any other way. Our children are happy, healthy and successful in their own rights. My husband’s career has taken off and he is well known in his field of work for his passion and professionalism. I, myself, held a career that I served with passion and dedication. We have holidays, nice meals out, weekends away, treat ourselves to new clothes etc when the whim takes us, we drive a 2014 Sportage, have four fabulous dogs. Life should be good. I’m still missing out on something though. To make matters worse, I don’t even have the faintest idea what it is I’m after.

It seems I’ve lost my way. I’ve lost my voice. Almost lost my mind.

I walked out on my career in July 2016. I loved it – it was my passion. I was a natural at it. I motivated people with my enthusiasm and guided others who were struggling with the pressure. All along, I knew what my role was. I was an educator – first, foremost and definitely in for the long haul. Many of my colleagues would mention how well I connected with the children, especially those who “carried too much baggage” for one so small, but I always had my “Jimini Cricket” voice in my head that said, I’m doing nothing special, I just do what it takes to make things better for the children so they can be free enough to enjoy learning. I honestly believed that. Eleven years later, and a deeply flawed education system finally snuffed out my passion. It was no longer for me. I had put up with too much bullshit already and didn’t have the patience for anymore.

I didn’t just walk out on my career, I walked out on financial security. On my dreams and hopes for a better life for the children in my care. On the ability to make a difference to their lives. On the children themselves. On my husband’s peace of mind as we are now down to a single wage. Just get another job. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Well, it should be, I need the money to help my husband support us.

But, it isn’t! There are so many jobs out there but it’s a minefield. I’m too qualified for some. Have the correct skill-set for others but not the experience. Some jobs either don’t interest me so I scan over them or I am so interested in them that I spend to much time procrastinating background information on said “new” path that by the time it comes to fill out the form, I have already talked myself out of applying. I can’t help it. I feel vulnerable and insecure. Why would anyone want to hire someone who walked out on a decent career? Who’s interested that my reasons for leaving have nothing to do with my workplace, but that they are connected to the fact that I could no longer do a job where the children were not seen as a priority. Where I had to put practices into place that went against every fibre of my personal and professional ideals. Where learning has become more about rote to pass a test and reach a benchmark and nowhere near enough about the joys of independent learning for the love of wanting to expand a mind. I had just had enough. I couldn’t carry on in a job where my heart had already left, but that too leaves me feeling guilty. I walked out on the children – walked out or ran away?

I have ideas of what I would like my life to look like, however, they won’t pay the bills – at least not yet. It is my fear that I will embark upon a path out of necessity and have no thoughts or feelings for my job, merely go through the motions. Where does that leave me? With more security than I enjoy at the moment, obviously but at what actual cost?  I would love to become a writer – I have no experience, no training, no contacts but I DO HAVE the desire and the motivation.  I would also like to have my own florist business, but again, no contacts (I do have a small amount of training and some experience) means a long hard slog to get to a point where I could pay the bills.

So, I guess it’s back to the question… how do you know if you’re on the right path?  I suppose the only way to find out is to actually get on one and see.  Time for me to stop wishing for things out of my reach.  Time to stop the fears over not being successful.  Time to get on with life, after all, I have my health, my sanity and my family.  It’s only money after all!

 

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