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How do you find a purpose?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
It just occurred to me today that I think the heart of all the stress and fear I'm dealing with is that I suddenly lack a purpose. For the last decade, my kids have been my life. In addition to normal parenting and doing it alone, I've had to devote so much time to fixing the messes in their lives that xh has created. Medical, abuse programs, what have you.

He's gone now, and I'm still cleaning up his last mess a bit...but without his constant trouble making, its just not that hard. And the kids are older and more independent now. Spending all day at school would be bad for them in so many ways, but they really do spend more and more time out in the world doing their own things.

I don't have my own thing anymore. My chosen profession is one that's become so flooded with applicants you can't make a living in it anymore...and I really don't have a passion or interest in it anyway. I'm surviving, but I don't have a purpose. I can't be terribly involved in my once hobbies yet, and I don't think I'd want to be so eaten up by them that they became my purpose either. I'm just kind of here, and not going anywhere. I was feeling REALLY trapped, but I realized today it's not that I'm trapped...it's that I don't know where to go.

I'm totally free now and can do whatever I want with my life...and the last time I was here I didn't know what to do either. I ended up w xh and just trying to right all his wrongs until he died. How do I figure out what to do with myself?
post #2 of 8
Maybe she if you can pick up some volunteer work? I know that helping others gives me a purpose.

There are so many things you can do - visit elderly people, drive elderly people to appts when they have no one else, work in an op shop, help at the SPCA. I would try and think about an area you enjoy, like children, or animals etc and then see what volunteer work is available around that.
post #3 of 8
I can tell you what I did....I just started moving forward. I picked several things to do that seemed interesting -at least a little and started doing them. And eventually one things came through as the right direction. But I was pretty directionless for a while and looking for the silver bullet.

Even if you choose something and you don't like it (hobby, job, volunteering, whatever) at least you will have eliminated one thing... LOL

But just start moving forward and if it feels wrong you can change direction.

I finally figured out that the answer wouldn't just come to me unless I was out there trying different things....

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
That's all good advice. Thank you. I have a lot to think about...lol
post #5 of 8
Ahh, your hard work has paid off. Now you get to go live your dreams. You know that one thing you always wished you could do but never could? Now you get to go do it Just jump right in sista!

I was living a life without purpose for about 1.5 years -- it's a scary feeling. I was stuck in a field of work that I no longer had the energy or desire for -- it wasn't making me much money anyway. I finally realized that my previous education and experience had served it's purpose and now it was time to move on. I have always wanted to be an artist -- in one form or another. In about 48 hours time, I had contacted the best art school in the area and had my application filled out. My future has been so, so exciting ever since.

I had to hit the lowest of the lows to realize this. After moving so many mountains, I realized that I really was unstoppable -- it was kind of exhilerating. Now I am working towards living the life I've always wanted -- because I deserve it!

I agree with hippymomma in that you always have to move forward. As soon as you notice something's not right, then just change it. Whether it's your job or your laundry routine, just accept that it's not working and move on. Your life will start to flow in no time.
post #6 of 8
That's actually a great place to be. It's like the world is full of potential for you. Find a really awesome place to volunteer. Pick up a new hobby. Read more books. Take a class. Say yes whenever people invite you to go somewhere or do something. Start a new physical activity like marital arts or marathon running. Focus on expanding your social circle. Write. Journal.
I think it is actually kind of a common feeling, when your life has been so wrapped up in fixing someone else's messed up life, or the fall out from it. That's pretty much the main concept of codependency, where their life and its drama take precedence over your life. So even though you may be relieved to not have to deal with the drama/abuse/what have you, you feel the hole that its absence leaves behind. I think anyone who has to deal with a wildly dysfunctional parenting partner is at a huge risk to develop at least a little bit in the way of codependent traits, even if its not a full-blown thing. And it's really emotionally smart of you to be able to recognize that this purposeless feeling may be related to no longer having to put out fires caused by your ex.
post #7 of 8
Just wanted to give you a hug.

I am going through something like this myself and it is a little scary.
post #8 of 8
I'm glad you posted this; I can relate to much of it. I still deal with an ex (though we've been separated/divorced for years now) whose moods are quite erratic, sometimes good, sometimes bad, and his emotional immaturity around our child concerns me sometimes. So I guess I'm still putting out those fires, but it's not as bad as the years leading up to our actual divorce (hammering out the details was especially stressful). That was almost three years ago.

After that, I did experience something like you are describing - though I couldn't be relieved (since ex is still there), but things weren't as acute. I guess I felt a strange space or emptiness (and it wasn't from him moving out or anything, as thankfully he'd moved out long before that). I could start to focus a little on myself again - weird! Interesting that you said, "I was feeling REALLY trapped, but I realized today it's not that I'm trapped...it's that I don't know where to go." I have felt a bit trapped, myself, at times... but maybe you're right. Maybe this is more of the issue.

I just know I can't just race off into the sunset; my child has a school schedule and we must also deal with the ex on a regular basis. I also live in a small yet expensive town. I do know that I'm trying to give myself options and have fired up some freelance writing gigs - and since making some headway in the past year, I'm starting to feel better and more in control. I'm still working on all of this!

I do think another thing that might kick-start you is travel. It lets you step back and get some perspective, and to step out of your own life for a bit.
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