For the past several months I have been on a voyage of self discovery - not my first one. This has been caused by a change in work situation and perhaps a natural consequence of the age and stage of my life. During this time I have been advised by a life coach, decided to write two new books, one fiction and the other not, meditated, explored, studied a lot, applied, researched, travelled a bit, walked miles, thought and of course, the constant in my life, read and read and read. Much of the thought process has been directed toward what I want to do when I grow up because the conclusion from 40 years of work to date has been that I have almost always found myself in the wrong place.
I just utilized the "backspace" key to wipe out a particularly negative, churlish and unflattering description of a few of those people and places that I kept company with during 4 decades of work as I try to rise above the muck and mire of my own creation. There, that feels better.
A few days ago, I had the pleasure of spending two hours with a woman that I had never met before who runs a non-profit organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others. I had some sort of inspiration the night before and decided to bring with me some information about myself to leave with her following our meeting. These days, I have been keeping a resume in my pocket, just in case, and like most of them, it was full of the places and descriptions of what I had done over the past years. On this particular day, I had brought not a "what-I-am" but rather a "who-I-am" and what an enlightening experience it was to write it. I decided to take what I had been learning about myself from a variety of sources and condense the information into a description of my strengths, skills and interests along with a statement of what the next decade or so of my life will be dedicated to. You see, I have reached that crossroads that so many leading edge baby boomers are now experiencing and want to spend my time doing something that will leave the world a better place by utilizing those parts of myself that answer the question of Who rather than what.
Many of us have spent our working life defining "who" we are by "what" we do and are now at the point of wanting to turn that upside down. In some ways for me, it is a return to my youth as I rediscover the ideals that were left unrealized like creating world peace, feeding the hungry, curing disease and all of those goals we set in the sixties. We were told we were crazy idealists and some of us had the misfortune of listening to and believing the grown-ups. Perhaps it was the right thing to do; work for the big corporation, buy a house in the burbs, raise children, pay our bills and leave ourselves buried under the weight of living the life expected of us. There is no point in regretting and every point in reinventing. I am looking forward, with great anticipation and expectancy, to moving on with a life of purpose and meaning, making a difference, fulfilling some long buried dreams and using my strengths, skills and abilities to create the next few decades of life as the best yet.
To those of you who celebrate it, have a very Merry Christmas and I invite each of you to join me in making 2010 a year of promise, excitement, discovery, accomplishment and the first year of a lifetime to come of joy, peace and love.