Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Floating Through Life Without a Purpose?

I've been feeling pretty rudderless lately.  Kind of like I'm floating through life without much of a purpose.

I know that sounds depressing and maybe it is.  But I think most of us go through these lulls.  So most of us know how hard it is to get out of them.

The hard thing is that feeling rudderless makes it hard to figure out why you feel this way.  If you're just floating without a destination it's hard to focus on the reason why you're suddenly in this situation.

In my case, I don't think it's depression.  I don't even really think it's the anxiety that's thrown me for a loop lately.  I actually think it's lack of inspiration.

"I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing anymore," I confessed to a business coach over club sandwiches one day.  "I used to be so tunnel-visioned.  I could see everything stretch out before me and I just knew I was going to accomplish those goals.  Now...I have no idea where I'm going."

"Of course you don't," she said as she took a bite.  "You were inspired then and you're not now.  And that makes everything you used to love to do become a chore."

It was true, I realized.  I had gotten to the point where I was just slogging through my days.  I didn't wake up each morning, ready to take on the world.  I woke up each morning feeling like deciding on breakfast was too much of a pain in the ass so I just wouldn't have any.  I didn't check my email, positive that something amazing was about to happen - I opened it up because if my mother didn't hear from me for a few days she'd call my neighbor and make her come over and see if I was still around. 

I had no energy.  No plan.  No inspiration.

I know I'm not the only one because since that discussion, I've had several people tell me the same thing.  In fact, the same day I had the meeting with the business coach, I was getting my eyebrows waxed and my esthetician and I started talking about being in a lull.

"So, how are you?" I asked her.

"Eh," she said.  "I don't know what's wrong with me.  There's nothing bad going on in my life, but I'm just feeling...I don't know...."

"I know," I said and winced as she pulled the hot wax from my brow.  "You're not inspired."

She stopped with her hand above my face and stared at me.  "You know what?  That's it.  Awhile back I took some life classes and I loved them and felt like I could take on the world.  I quit taking them and now I just don't have any idea what I'm doing."

"I know exactly what you mean," I said.

And I do.


But here's the problem with inspiration:  You can't really go looking for it.  Because the more you seek it, the less likely you are to find it.

You just have to be open to it, which is an entirely different thing.  And it usually doesn't come at you directly - it comes to you in a roundabout way.

Take me for example.  One day I just had an idea that I would volunteer for the Donor Alliance.  Now, that is a worthy cause and something I am passionate about, but it wasn't the inspiration I needed - it was just the catalyst to get me there (I just didn't know it).  From that point, I started  doing more public speaking, came up with the idea for the blog, the book and the website...and for about three years I felt like I could accomplish anything.

I wasn't really looking for the inspiration because I didn't know I needed it.  I was at a point in my life, right after my Brad died, where I was so completely rudderless, I didn't even know how rudderless I was.  But the flip side to that was that I was open to anything and when you're that open...chances are something will happen.

And it did.  And it changed my life.

But here I am again.  In a lull.  Rudderless.  Life has changed for me again in ways that I didn't see coming and now I find myself peeking around corners to see if inspiration is there, but trying not to be too obvious about it in case I scare it off.

I've realized that during those years when I was so tunnel-visioned, I had in some ways completely closed myself off to new inspiration because I was constantly on the move, unwilling to stand still.  And so it was somewhat inevitable that I would find myself in this place, at a crossroads, so completely unsure about life that I don't even know where to start making decisions.  I don't even know what the choices are.

Kind of like I was after Brad died.

And now I have no choice but to just be.

And let it come when it will.


  1. My husband died from malpractice. Fighting the court battle to every ounce of my DNA. I felt the same way you do now. I think because writing took so much energy, so much time. You will recharge soon

  2. Going through a major funk lately...and I am not entirely sure why...glad to hear I am not alone :)

  3. It has been a little over 4 months since my husband passed. Packing, moving and dealing with the medical bills kept me busy. Now I am in a limbo, not sure what comes next. I live with my daughter and her family, and I appreciate it. But it doesn't feel like my life. Problem is I don't know what my life should feel like. Does that make sense?

  4. Omg you just described me. I even made a doctor appt to see if I was ill. Seven years out and I am over the major grief but still missing paul obviously. I was so positive for awhile I had a million things to do. Now I'm better slogging thru life with nowhere to go. Thank you for sharing. I know now I'm not crazy. It is so hard to explain this feeling. Don't know if I even did

  5. I find people avoid me even though I don't want to talk about grief

  6. I can so relate. I am active, busy, lead a full life and have never felt so uninspired in my entire life. It is a funk that you cannot quantify or qualify. It is not depression or loneliness but it weighs on you like heavy blanket.