A New Year is a cliche time for reflection and goal setting. I’ve found myself with an overwhelming amount of things to reflect on and absolutely no concrete plans for the future. It’s basically paralyzing me. And I vacillate between making lots of detailed plans and making none whatsoever. In this instance freedom feels like shackles. Too many options is dizzying. My eyes literally hurt from scanning websites for job opportunities, house sitting gigs, and rental units. We’ve been in a holding pattern for about 6 weeks. My family kicked off the holiday season with a funeral which set a strange tone for me. It’s hard to explain but celebrating my grandfather’s life leaves me wondering what the hell I’m doing with my own. I mean, I wonder that a lot, I always have. I’ve felt an uneasy unsettled unsuccessful blah thing for as long as I can remember. I’ve gone in so many different directions, started down a variety of paths, but I never seem to get very far down them before I take another oddball turn. I get the impression some people think it’s irresponsible, others find it adventuresome, still others probably assume I’m lost, or a lost cause. I read books about women who take chances and chase their dreams and make bold statements and love deeply and find success in often unconventional ways. And I feel kind of desperate to be like them, since I’ve so clearly not followed any traditional or expected path. But the thing that keeps tripping me up is I don’t have this deep seated desire to do or be anything. I don’t have a hidden talent. People don’t reach out and tell me – hey, that thing you do for fun from time to time – you’d be really good at that like as a business. I’m well-educated, I’m intelligent, I like to read, I like to write, I love puzzles, I love nature, I am reasonably athletic, I have an eye for beauty and color and shapes, I am agreeable and relatively comfortable with people. But there are no blatant talents, no outstanding achievements, a lot of anxiety and insecurity, no drive to be successful, no entrepreneurial spirit, no desire for attention. I just want to find a rhythm. Some way to contribute to society. To be productive and useful in a way that is somewhat unique to me. I just feel so plain and boring. That might sound strange coming from a girl who quit her job not once but twice in the last two years to go out into the world and explore and try to find herself and this THING that she’s supposed to do or be. And how phenomenally depressing to even utter the words that after almost two years of adventuring and putting myself out there, that maybe I’m just not that interesting and don’t have some incredible thing to offer. Please dear God don’t let that be the answer. Come ON already! What do I need to do to find some direction? You’d think after all the hours I’ve spent running, hiking, and biking in nature, in addition to the hours and hours of driving back and forth across America, that maybe I’d get some little signs or feelings or nudging. But as I resign myself to work another tax season I feel a piece of me dying. Cubicle life is suffocating for me. It doesn’t lead anywhere. If I was meant to succeed in an office environment surely one of the many many jobs I’ve had would have gone somewhere rather than left me physically ill and emotionally drained. I put on weight just thinking about it. Looking back on the photos in my closet from middle school, high school, college, and my 20s it is obvious that I’ve been coping with these issues for a long long time by sneaking junk food. I can’t even think about how different my life might have been if I’d spent some of my teenage years figuring out who I really was and where I belonged in the world. I weep at the thought of the life I could have been living these past 20 years. But since I can’t do anything to change the past I’m left with the big what now? How do I really start my life NOW?