Today I had a mini melt-down. It was a sneaky one. You know, a melt-down that pounces on you and makes you feel all down and you had no idea it was coming?
Jeff and I were just strolling back to work along the river after our lunch, and some of those big unexpected feelings just blurted out.
I was saying things I didn’t even know I felt or had been thinking about. Things like “I don’t know if I can do this” and “I need to find my thing, my calling.”
I was feeling out of control. Like someone had plucked me out of my bubble and plopped me down into chaos; I was completely disorientated.
No one likes to feel out of control, but especially perfectionists. How on earth can I make sure everything is smooth sailing if I’m not in the driver’s seat (or captain’s seat, I guess?).
Basically I was having the well-known “what the heck am I doing with my life?” blip. It must have been brewing when I was lesson planning.
As we were walking I felt so heavy when I thought about actually teaching. Being in front of a class and facilitating learning filled me with dread, not excitement.
As much as I love and respect my new colleagues and the TEFL profession too, (plus I’m pretty sure I’ll adoreeee my students), the thought of teaching just didn’t make my heart soar.
Right then, the thought of it didn’t make me feel passionate. Even though I’m super passionate about education. #Confused? Me too.
It’s probably just nerves since I haven’t taught in over half a year, and teaching small cuties is wayyyy different to teaching university students; I’m just letting the fear get to me.
But maybe that’s only part of it.
I think my major hang up (STILL … God damn it!) is this notion of having to be on the right track/path to be “fulfilling my soul’s purpose” in my work.
And how if I’m not absolutely red-hot passionate about what I’m doing then it isn’t the “thing” — it’s not what I should be doing.
I mean, I taught last year and it was a hugeeeeeeeeee battle, daily. Why put myself through it again when it didn’t feel like my calling then?
Well, good question.
But who said that your soul’s purpose has to be in the form of your job/career?
I think there is something out in the abstract “there” which you’re meant to find, pursue, create and enjoy in terms of work.
But maybe I’ve been kind of wrong in my thinking. Maybe there isn’t just one soul / sole thing, (see what I did there? 😉 ) Maybe there are multiple ones.
One person’s soul work for their twenties might be their writing after work. And then in their thirties their soul work shifts to their daily 9-5 job. Then maybe in their forties they open a cafe, and that becomes their soul work and daily passion.
Basically, it’s all about perspective (again). And how there isn’t actually only one path you’re meant to find and then stay on for the rest of your life.
I mean, great if you find your soul’s work in say playing the piano, and that stays your passion and your soul’s work throughout your entire life, A-mazing. (I’ve always envied you people!)
But that doesn’t have to be everyone’s story (not even those who easily stumbled upon their “thing”). That isn’t the model you HAVE to seek. You don’t have to find one niche and claim it as yours for the rest of your working life.
I’d even argue if you’re only trying to seek the ONE thing that will contain your passion and soul energy forever and ever and ever, you’ll never find it.
For those of you who aren’t bestowed this “one thing” from the cosmos or whatever, (me neither… ) you can draw on multiple soul purposes. (Obvs those cosmos gifted peeps can too, if they choose to).
You can find soulful work in wherever you’re at. Butttttttt I’m going to put it honestly, sometimes you really do have to look damn hard.
Because sometimes your soul work is in things that can’t be as easily described or seen, unlike being a pianist is.
Things like making people feel welcome and included in a team are soul work too. Maybe you do that so well, that one day someone brings an idea they wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing if YOU weren’t there.
I’m pretty sure none of us want to live each day wishing time away, thinking only 7 more minutes and 23 seconds until lunch or until Fri-yay.
And I’m not saying it’s easy to reframe your mind to find perspective.
But I am saying you should try to push yourself to see the opportunities in areas of your life that feel like a grind “you’ve just got to get through until [blank]”. Because opportunities are already there!
For example, in my current situation my daily grind is being in an office 9-5 in Guiyang. It feels foreign to me (in more ways than one!).
So, I can choose to watch the clock and countdown until I’m alone and safe in my bubble at home. Or I can take the opportunity to learn to communicate more in Chinese and learn about another culture’s way of doing business. (A huge opportunity!)
Another example might be you are putting yourself through the ringer in a computing internship. You hate having to spend so much time photocopying and getting people their intricate coffee orders, so you could choose to resent having to do this.
Or maybe on the walk to the photocopier (for the 18th time that morning) instead of being grouchy or absentminded, you’re thinking about a solution to your bosses problem you heard them mention earlier. Another hugeeeee opportunity! (Plus actually knowing how to use a photocopier is a pretty good skill I’d say, I’m still baffled … )
Even if your primary job isn’t your “soul work” right now. It doesn’t mean it won’t ever be and it doesn’t mean you don’t have soul work right now in some other form, or in another part of your life.
At the end of the day you can choose to spend your day-to-day wishing time away and panicking you’re not on the right track. Or you can choose to see opportunities in the not-as-fun-or-easy-stuff.
You can find your power in deciding to make your own soul work, wherever and however you get that “I have a purpose” high.