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Thread: "You missed your calling!"

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    "You missed your calling!"

    The title of this thread is sometimes what we tell people jokingly if they present you some ability that they haven't shown before. Usually it's said tongue-in-cheek.

    Sometimes missing your calling be a cause for grief. My MIL, who became a retail worker's union leader in. her mid-sixties loved it with a passion, and after she retired 7 years later, she told me, "I had a wasted life" meaning, she could have pursued her passion earlier, but she repressed her ambitions because she thought it would have hurt her family life.

    I remember an incident that must have been many years ago, when my one of my favorite aunts was taking me to lunch and we were chatting about life, and she said, "I want to figure out what I want to do with my life." She was 70 at the time, and I was maybe 50 or so and I remember thinking to myself "You better hurry up!" She had given up a nursing career to raise her family.

    Yesterday, I watched for the second time the movie Finding Joe--a documentary about Joseph Campbell (full movie on YouTube here), who I LOVE. The documentary goes through his description and examples of the Hero's Journey and the whole idea of his famous quote: "Follow Your Bliss"

    So, my question is:
    Where are you with your calling?
    Have you followed your bliss?
    How has living a simple life helped/hindered that?
    Do feel you are still listening for your calling?

    If you truly followed your bliss, where would that take you? What unfinished business do you feel you have in terms of living your own unique life?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Very interesting questions and definitely food for thought. For me, these questions would be so much easier to answer if I lived alone - with no immediate family or responsibilities to others. I wanted children and more often than not, the decisions I made in life - and with regard to my own life - have been made with children and family in mind. Would they have been the same decisions had I been alone? In some instances, definitely not. Do I regret the decisions I have made? No. While I may not be living the life the teenage/young adult "me" had thought about living, I can honestly say that I have experienced things above and beyond what that young woman ever conceived!

    Edited to add: I don't think I have missed my calling, but rather I think my calling has changed - and continues to change - as I, myself, continue to change.
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi
    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. HH Dalai Lama
    In a world where you can be anything - be kind. Unknown

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    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    I'm still looking for my calling.

    The first part of my life was preparing to be financially independent so I could do something else. Now that I'm there, I'm still figuring out what exactly that should be.

    I liked science and math, so engineering was a way to make a decent amount of money in an interesting way. I was slightly above average in engineering, and I think better than average at the people and project management, but it wasn't a calling in the sense that I would have continued to do that even if I wasn't being paid, though I have done some volunteer project management projects (organizing conferences and the like)

    I need to figure out how to use all these dilettante skills I have in a way that feels satisfying to me. How do I combine interests in data analysis, herb gardening, hiking, visiting new places, trying new foods, knitting, learning, analyzing patterns, organizing, creating work breakdown structures, mentoring younger people, with my general laziness and tendency to want to move on to other things just as I start to get accomplished at something?

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herbgeek View Post
    I'm still looking for my calling.


    I need to figure out how to use all these dilettante skills I have in a way that feels satisfying to me. How do I combine interests in data analysis, herb gardening, hiking, visiting new places, trying new foods, knitting, learning, analyzing patterns, organizing, creating work breakdown structures, mentoring younger people, with my general laziness and tendency to want to move on to other things just as I start to get accomplished at something?
    Wow! Did I relate to that! You put my current dilemma in a nutshell (especially the general laziness and tendency to want to move on to other things!). In fact, after DD's wedding, I decided to put my life in "life, edited" mode to see if I could create a void whereby SOMETHING would float to the top in terms of what I really yearn for. I'm cutting out all urges to go off in a random direction and just be still more often.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herbgeek View Post
    I'm still looking for my calling.

    The first part of my life was preparing to be financially independent so I could do something else. Now that I'm there, I'm still figuring out what exactly that should be.

    I liked science and math, so engineering was a way to make a decent amount of money in an interesting way. I was slightly above average in engineering, and I think better than average at the people and project management, but it wasn't a calling in the sense that I would have continued to do that even if I wasn't being paid, though I have done some volunteer project management projects (organizing conferences and the like)

    I need to figure out how to use all these dilettante skills I have in a way that feels satisfying to me. How do I combine interests in data analysis, herb gardening, hiking, visiting new places, trying new foods, knitting, learning, analyzing patterns, organizing, creating work breakdown structures, mentoring younger people, with my general laziness and tendency to want to move on to other things just as I start to get accomplished at something?
    At the point where I survey all the possibilities available to me, I usually give up and take a nap. I could have been a lot of things, but my general lack of drive and focus put paid to them all. "...tendency to want to move on to other things just as I start to get accomplished at something"--is exactly how my dear departed SO described me more than once. Maybe next time around, I'll get it right.

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I didnít have children purposely because they were not attractive to me. What was attractive to me was living a self actualized life. I completely understand that self actualization may or may not include children, it depends on the person.


    But I will offer this as something to consider: people, usually women, substitute having children for doing the hard work of determining their bliss and following it.It is more of a well worn path to take the path of children, and then look back at what could have been.

    I often make analogy to children and pets because that is my reality. And yes, there have been times when pets stop me from doing a Big Life thing. One time was many decades ago when we first got married and we were without pets at that moment. I always been interested in the Peace Corps and DH wouldíve been able to get in like Flynn because they always want Aggie guys. So we went to an introductory presentation on joining the Peace Corps on the University Aggie campus. We didnít pursue it but it was interesting, And later opportunities didnít come up because we ended up with pets. Another time more recently was when my dog Teddy Bear died and we were without dogs and had only one remaining ancient cat who wasnít going to last much longer. Thatís when we couldíveMade a series of overseas trips but then Covid hit and we added in a bunch of dogs and here we are. Now I wonít leave more than a couple weeks at a time.

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    Yea if you have an obvious calling follow it. But mostly I would advise a younger me/maybe a younger nearly anyone to not invest so much importance and calling in work, not expect to find *purpose* that way. It will very rarely fulfill it, it's a misdirection, a waste of resources and energy, very few people will find a calling in it, most work is fairly mundane, you might have some aptitude for it though. I mean I can understand how it is kind of what I was raised to believe, but by unfulfilled people anyway (mom was unfulfilled as a mother and uh I don't know what you do then, it affects the child for life, I mean there was palpable resentment).

    I think a big problem with me is I have always been a fairly conservative person. Don't laugh. I mean politically I may be anything but and even utopian occasionally, but I mean at a much deeper level than that. I think life should somehow be lived "just so" (or else?). Whether or not my "just so" is someone's else "just so" is neither here nor there, but it's conventional in it's way. And if I thought more outside the box in terms of lifestyle options, I might have found more bliss and happiness really, but life has to be lived "just so" see.

    And the thing about bliss is I was raised to see life as anything but following one's bliss, eh I'm not sure that being raised to see life as just about bliss is realistic of course, but kind of all that mattered was doing the right thing.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    But I will offer this as something to consider: people, usually women, substitute having children for doing the hard work of determining their bliss and following it.It is more of a well worn path to take the path of children, and then look back at what could have been.
    I agree that this may be true for some. Not me, but for some.

    The only thing "looking back" has every really done for me has been to show me how/where I am now. "Woulda, shoulda, coulda" may be a fun game to play, but the reality is that my life, the way it is now, is because of the decisions I have made - and I am confident that those decisions have been the BEST decisions for me at the time I needed to make them.
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi
    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. HH Dalai Lama
    In a world where you can be anything - be kind. Unknown

  9. #9
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    I feel lucky in that I was able to have kids, go to college for 4 degrees and have 3 careers I loved. The first was social work, the second was as a vocational evaluator and my retirement job teaching. No regrets at all. Living below my means made all that possible.

  10. #10
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Yes, Living simply and saving a lot of money always made me feel like I had many choices in life and even though I didn’t do anything very exotic, I always knew that I COULD if I wanted to being mostly unencumbered with family obligation. But of course there were always those pets!

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