Defining Direction

In 2013, I decided to redefine my life. It started when I looked around one day and realized that the way things were was not the way I wanted things to be. Don’t get me wrong, I had a good life. I had a job that I enjoyed, working with people whom I liked. I had a happy family and a beautiful little house. There was really nothing wrong. And it wasn’t that my life felt empty. It is actually still hard to define what precipitated this change. I just remember one day thinking back on all the wonderful dreams that I had when I was younger, and wondering what had happened to those ideas that I once held so dear.

I felt that I needed depth to my life, greater peace, deeper understanding. I felt that I wanted to get more out of my life. I felt that so many of the things that I had worried about or clung to, no longer really mattered. And they had never really mattered. They had instead merely distracted me away from the things that I had, at one time, cared about, until those things gave up trying to compete for my attention, and just slunk away.

In that moment, when I came to this realization, my first thought was, “When did I stop playing bass?” Because I used to play bass. I was even pretty good at one time. Then, for some reason I stopped. I didn’t make a choice to stop, I just stopped making it a priority. And then it dawned on me that I hadn’t played in 15 years!

So I went into our third bedroom and pulled out my old bass. I dusted off my amp. I chose one of my favorite songs, which I had recently noticed had a cool bass line. I located the tablature for the song online, and I started trying to learn it. It took a while, but I finally got it. Then, I learned another, and another. Months passed. I practiced every night if I could. I researched and bought better strings for my bass to help me dial in the sound that I wanted. My amp started dying, so I upgraded to a super nice one with a fabulous tone. I went on a couple of auditions. I landed a spot in a 90s revival bad. For the first practice, I mastered and memorized 40 songs from the 90s. The practice was awesome, and it was an incredible moment for me, one that I will never, ever forget.

As so often happens, commitments by some of the other band members kept the band from ever getting off the ground. I was disappointed, of course, but not terribly. I had reclaimed one of my passions, and that was the important thing. I still continue to practice. Maybe I will never play in a band, but that’s OK. Even it’s just for me, I will always enjoy my time with my music.

And now, it’s 2015, and I begin to wonder, “What other passions can I reclaim?” So I asked myself THE question: “If you could do anything with your life that you wanted to, what would it be?” And all I heard was the sound of chirping crickets. I can’t think of ONE THING that I “want to do with my life”. Really.

I mean, obviously, there are things that I would like to do – fix up our house, declutter it, have a beautiful garden, pay off all my debts, travel. But those are not really life goals, are they? They are more akin to a glorified to-do list.

So what DO I want to achieve? When I reach the end of my days, will I be happy and fulfilled looking back and thinking, “At least my house was clean and organized!” While I am sure that I would draw a little satisfaction from that, that is not my life’s mission.

So what is my mission? What is my purpose? What will be my contribution to Planet Earth? The truth is – I just don’t know. The only things that I get really excited about are organizing and planning stuff, and playing my bass.

So to this end, I have started trying to find my great purpose, my mission, my one great dream. And I must say, I have not been having a lot of luck.

But then I read a recent post about single-tasking (of which I am already a huge fan!) on Nourishing Minimalism. In this post, Rachel mentions that she recently started using a Passion Planner, and has found it to be extremely useful. Luckily, there was a link in her blog to the Passion Planner site, because my first thought was, “What the heck is a Passion Planner?”

It turns out that the Passion Planner was developed by Angelia Trinidad when she was suffering from a period of “directionless floating”, uncertain what to do with her life. I was immediately intrigued. There is a wonderful video on the site, where Angelia talks about how she developed the Passion Planner, and how it can be used to define your life goals. The planners for this year are temporarily sold out (argh! no instant gratification!). However, Angelia is so certain that her product will be helpful to others, she offers the 2015 planner as a downloadable PDF. All she asks it that you mention her kickstart campaign on your blog or on social media.

I am very excited to try this planner, as it sounds like it might help me organize my thoughts and give me the direction that I need to choose my life’s mission. I have decided to download the PDF, and then order the planner itself when it becomes available again.

I know that no one can tell me which dreams to pursue, and that I am going to have to do some hard thinking about my life during this process. But I am hoping that Angelia’s Passion Planner will help me from becoming overwhelmed by the process itself, so that I can focus on the content. Because within the content is the meaning that I have been seeking.

4 thoughts on “Defining Direction”

  1. Hi, I followed you over from a comment you left on The Non Consumer Advocate. Thanks for the tip on the Passion Planner, I shared the Kickstarter link on Twitter to that qualified me to download the pdf for free as well. It sounds like a great idea… I’m not sure if I’ll actually use it because I tend to log things on my own blog (I use it mainly as a diary) or powerpoint documents that I create for my own private use, but I was very intrigued. Like you, I’m wondering what my passion(s) is/are. Here I am, middle-aged, with half my kids already out of the house and staring down at an upcoming empty nest within 5-6 years and wondering what the heck I will be doing with my life then.
    I like that you likened projects such as keeping the house clean and organized as a glorified to-do list, which it totally is! I hate cleaning (although I like having a clean-ish house).

    1. Glad you found me here! šŸ™‚ I printed out one month of the Passion Planner yesterday and started using it. I really like the pen and paper approach so far. Usually I spreadsheet the heck out of any project, but I think since I am trying to reach a nebulous sort of goal, the pen and paper approach reinforces the mindset that I need to do it. I will be posting more about the Passion Planner as I continue to use it. I hope you enjoy yours too!

      1. Aargh, I realized that I can’t open the pdf, it tells me that the file is damaged. I wonder if it’s because I renamed it. Will have to try and download it again.

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