What is your purpose?
So much of our identity as wrapped up in our purpose. Religions have debated this for centuries. For a lot of people, purpose is one of two things: what they do for a living, or the ever generic “get married, have kids, grow old and die” formula. I like to think there is a little more to life than either of those answers.
I’m doing a lot of self-evaluation right now, thanks to the impending bariatric surgery and my therapist. Work had been pretty stressful for me, prompting this little sabbatical I am currently on. I feel a lot more rested and stable, and I’m taking a long, hard look at work and how I will handle it when I return to the ranks of the wage slave. When I talk about work now, I find myself feeling downright angry about it.
And that, for me, is the bottom line. I’ve vehemently said for years that I am not my job. I do not identify myself in any way with what I do to pay the bills. It doesn’t inspire passion in me, it doesn’t fulfill me or make me feel like I’ve made some grand contribution to the advancement of humanity. Its not my purpose. And the fact that I am not doing what I am supposed to do is a big contributor to my depression and anxiety.
What is my purpose? What makes me feel fulfilled and happy? Well, it goes back to my theory about everyone being broken. I think my greatest skill lies in helping other people find the path from broken to whole. I’m not out fixing anyone, I’m helping them fix themselves. The method varies from person to person, but its there and its a journey we all need to take. When I’m involved in that process, it doesn’t feel like work in the traditional sense. It happens with my coven girls, it happens with close friends and sometimes even in casual encounters on G+. Its work that makes me feel like I am doing something meaningful for the world, even if it is just changing one heart at a time.
When I talk about what my purpose is, there is a definite change in how I feel and what I project. I’m happier, I’m confident; I’m everything that a career is supposed to give you.
Can you see why going back to being a phone jockey is so unappealing to me now? And yet, that’s exactly where I need to go back to if I want to be able to have such luxuries as a roof over my head and food in my pantry. Gee, no wonder work depresses me! Its not my purpose, and I resent that its my only option right now. The question then becomes: how do I get to a place where I can do what I know I am supposed to do?
There are a lot of practical, sound reasons to stay with my current employer. The pay is really good and the benefits are outstanding. I am one year away from being fully vested in the company’s pension plan. I’m good at what I do and my superiors clearly like me and are constantly trying to get me to consider moving up the career ladder. Its a stable company with a lot of potential for growth. All of these things in a time when people thank their lucky stars for finding employment make it very attractive to stay where I am. Its comfortable, its safe. But its not what makes me happy.
Doing what would make me happy, at least on a professional scale, is going to require planning. It will for sure require further education and that’s where I’m kinda stuck. I have several options, none of which are jumping out at me as THE option because every option has a major drawback.
1. I get a degree in Pastoral Counseling. That’s the closest degree I can find to what it is I want to do. Drawback: all of the programs in this area are Christian-centric. Kind of pointless getting that kind of degree if I am not Christian. The one Pagan oriented Pastoral Counseling program I know of is through Cherry Hill Seminary, which unfortunately at this time is not accredited. And since the laws in the state I live in require my degree to be through an accredited university, Cherry Hill is out for now.
2. I get a degree in Counseling, minus the Pastoral part. That degree would eliminate the religious aspect and would require a lot more schooling as my Bachelor’s is not in anything related to psychology. That’s a lot more schooling and tuition than I am willing to invest.
3. I go to Cherry Hill Seminary and get the Master of Divinity degree, or M.Div. This is a little more appealing to me since the law is pretty liberal when it comes to being a professional Minister. Cherry Hill’s lack of accreditation is not an issue in this scenario.
Regardless of what path I take, it will require a pretty serious financial investment as well as a lot of my time. I’m happy to put the time in, but the money is definitely a barrier. Financial aid is not an option here due to Cherry Hill’s lack of accreditation.
Depressing, ain’t it?
Whatever I decide, work will cease to be. I can’t see throwing myself into any higher education program while trying to maintain a 40+ hour a week work schedule and my non-work obligations. Since I really want to get that pension plan, I’m giving myself the next year to start working on my exit strategy. I’m in the midst of my own healing process and it would be foolish of me to make any more sweeping changes in my life other than what I’ve already taken on. Defeating the Fat Monster is already a full time job, I can’t add throwing myself into academia and expect that to be successful in the state I’m in.
posted by dydan
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