Looking ahead…

The first 28 years of my life came with easily definable goals. Most of them were school related.

I started school when I was 3. From there, I was continuously in school until I graduated college. I graduated in December of 2009 so I had a whole 9 months off before I started law school in August of 2010. I graduated law school in May of 2013, but then I transitioned to studying for the bar exam. I took the bar exam in August 2013. From then until March 27, 2015, my main goal was to pay off my student loans. I had 23 years of education and I was looking forward to doing something else. I felt that so long as I had these loans, I was defined by my education.

Today, my life is free from formal schooling. I’m not in school, just out of school or paying for school.

This is a time of transition.

I’ve done a lot of thinking over the last 9 months. I keep reading, absorbing and applying what I can to my life.

The unfortunate truth is that I don’t know what I want right now. 

I’ve found a few things that feel good, but nothing has captured my attention, work ethic or drive like a traditional learning environment. I’m really good at school, and nothing has stepped in to fill that void.

With a void to fill, I’ve been trying several things. I’ve thrown a lot of things at the wall to see what sticks. Nothing has stuck, but a few things have been sticky. Warm gummy bears, so to speak. Here are a few things I’ve been dabbling in.

Assessing stuff with purpose and keeping what’s important.

aka Minimalism, Intentional stuff keeping or using the Kon Mari method

I have an unhealthy relationship with stuff. My grandpa was a real Hoarder. My mom, traumatized by his behavior, would prefer to own nothing. Living with both of them growing up, my relationship with stuff is not a good one. For an extra bonus of fun, I hate throwing stuff away.

Those factors came together to impact my current collection of stuff. I don’t have a lot, but what I do have, I either have a strong emotional attachment to or I can’t get myself to throw it away. I’ve got a lot of work to do in this area. Thankfully, I plan to move this year so it’s a perfect opportunity to evaluate my stuff.

(Every time I write or say the word Stuff, I think of this clip. )

Starting FIREs

Having my financial poop in a group has inspired me to look toward my financial future. If Hubs and I keep up this saving pace, FIRE is on the table. No, the table isn’t on FIRE, but (F)inancial (I)ndependence (R)etire (E)arly.

I’ve been playing  around with my saving and investment strategies. Things look good. Perhaps 10 years good. However, I don’t want to sit around for 10 years to hold my breath. I want to optimize for FIRE and effectively forget about it for the next 9 years.

Crafts of all kinds: Sewing, knitting, coloring! Oh My!

I taught myself to sew using a sewing machine! I made an adorable rice heating pad to keep warm at work. I knit my sister a pair of mittens and I spent some quality time coloring with my Momma. I’ve enjoyed all my crafty time, but it hasn’t sparked me like it normally does.

Coloring accident

Coloring accident

(Yes, I’ve learned that colored pencils are far superior to crayons.)

Perhaps I’m putting too much pressure on myself. There is no reason I can’t simply be me right now. Whatever it is, I hope this ho hum phase passes soon.

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a rut? What got you out of it? Any words of advice?


13 thoughts on “Looking ahead…

  1. I think we as a society do a great disservice by not telling people some of the fundamental truths early on, especially: school is not like life. Like you, I was good at school, and thrived on the accolades, and have struggled to find the same kind of structure or meaning in working life. I’m almost 15 years out of college, and so many of those years blend together in my mind — the only real landmarks I have are when I moved, got married or got promoted, which is much different from all of the grade levels and college levels in school. But, that’s not to say I haven’t been happy in those years, though it did take a few years after school to settle into my career and to explore more interests before I got there. For me, the key was getting out of my comfort zone more and exploring more possible hobbies and interests, as well as making the right kinds of friends — supportive, positive, non-competitive ones. But I dabbled in a LOT of hobbies before figuring out which ones stuck, and read a lot of books on a lot of subjects. So my advice would be to keep exploring, but also take the pressure off yourself to figure this out quickly. It will happen so long as you keep your field of vision wide open!

    • I TOTALLY AGREE! School was a talent and I thrived in a way I haven’t thrived yet with goals, milestones, etc. But again, it’s not that I’ve been in a ten-year rut. I’ve enjoyed myself. But it’s okay to just be you for awhile. Take the time you need. You SHOULD BE PROUD (yes, I’m yelling at you). You have accomplished so much and are capable of doing so much. Give yourself a hiatus to figure out what that is. Give yourself permission to explore, read, and not be “productive” on paper. This time will hone you to figure out what is important and you can start chasing that once it’s defined.

      • I like when people yell at me. That’s how things sink in to my thick skull! haha
        Being unproductive on paper might be what I need. A task like this will take time, an undefined amount of time. Perhaps I should take a class in “Exploring yourself 101”

    • I’m sorry you went through the same transition, but its comforting to know that I’m not alone. I’m also doing what you did… a lot of dabbling and a lot of reading. The biggest negative loop I’m stuck in is reading about money. It comes in handy when I discover little nuggets like the tIRA income limits. But most of the time, I’m spinning my wheels. Bad habits, I guess.
      It’s time to zoom out!!

  2. I hear you — the academic cycle is so structured on frequent input, regular goals, and regular “rewards” in the form of grades. Everything’s so laid-out you start thinking that’s the way life works! It took some MAJOR sea changes (can you say house fire?) for me to be okay with the idea that I wasn’t on a set highway toward The Goal, I’m living a life made up of moments. House fires are also really good cures for the attachment to STUFF!

    You’re in a really great place, though. It might feel like limbo but I like to think of it as germination. You’re learning important things about yourself! Enjoy the exploration and give yourself time to hear the “click.”

    (But not in the way Brick hears the “click” in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, that’s the click that means he’s dead drunk and doesn’t care anymore. Yes, my degrees are in literature & theater. Sorry, tangent!)

    • House fires are my biggest fear. I think about them way too often.

      Thanks for the pep talk. It’s a weird time and part of it is learning to be okay with not moving in any particular direction.

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  4. I was stuck in a rut for a couple of years. Unfortunately, I tried to find my way out by chasing the standard “American Dream” and spending money. You’re so much smarter, saving as much as possible. It will give you the freedom to live as you want, whenever you figure it out.

    Crafting is a great outlet – crochet is my favorite 🙂

    • Spending my way out of a rut sounds like no fun. Maybe temporarily, but certainly not long term. Sorry you coped that way.
      I guess the best thing about saving myself out of the rut is that if/when I find what I want to do, I should have the money to do it!

      My crochet skills are horrible, but Yay Crafting!!

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