Community and The Quest for Achievement

Standing at a new crossroads in my life…

I have a lot to think about.

I’m at a friction point, where I am not making enough money to support myself, and I’m feeling the need to figure out how I can be most useful/valuable to society so that I can escape being broke all the time. Being broke means you miss opportunities. You miss family. You miss the spontaneous part of you that can’t just go do what the heart desires. Being broke holds me back. Some might argue this is a good thing! But it feels more deflating and restricting than helpful really. I’m not sure that others are being helped by it. Looking at my tax history, I learned that I managed to get by on $200,000 for six years in San Francisco. That’s 33K/year, in a city where the median income is like $80K/year. It sucks.

I’ve spent the last six years making conscious choices around what I want to do with my time and energy. That is significant, given that my college years were very much guided by me not feeling safe to pursue what I enjoyed doing, to some extent. I started my own business(es), I coached college athletes, I became a yoga teacher, and I worked for a federal government contractor. And I tried every part-time job on the side that would accept me, which led me to meet dozens of amazing people, not to mention create 6 new amazing families via egg donation.

But none of it really panned out. I learned that I do not like setting up a shop and running it. Correction: I like setting up a shop. I do not like running it. I learned that federal government work is really interesting – but I do not have the patience to jump through hoops and red tape. I learned that I loved teaching athletes new skills, being outside for work, and learning more about health and wellness, but I have zero interest in becoming a head coach or staying with any particular program.

It’s like with my Chemical Engineering degree. I loved learning about the environmental side of it. But I’m not all that interested in the daily job of cleaning up the environment. I’m not all that interested in creating new chemicals. I’m not all that interested building facilities that extract oil.

After all this, I start to feel judgmental toward myself, like, jeez, some people would die to have just one of your opportunities, yet you’ve passed on all of them. And have no interest in going back to any of them.

People listen to my life story with wide eyes and a slack jaw. So far, it’s a meandering, somewhat bold, and suspenseful story with no defined ending.

So I’m at a new juncture.

I have friends who have tried to cheer me up, saying, it will all come together eventually. All these experiences and skills will somehow culminate. But now I’m just frustrated. Financially, and directionally. I’ve cast a wide net, and pulled in many nuggets of wisdom (i.e. failed a lot), but have no idea what to do with them from here.

I got super fired-up listening to Obama and Romney talk about healthcare and the economy. It reminded me that health is simple, and we find myriad ways to mess it up. And now the whole country is suffering economically and creatively because of it. And I want to help. I just want to feel really helpful actually. And although I love the Mother Teresa axom of helping one person at a time, the person closest to you, it doesn’t get you far if that one person isn’t paying your rent and your back taxes and your student loan, feeding you, and helping you travel to see your family, and paying for your continued education, etc. etc. etc.

So I want to be helpful on a larger scale. God knows I have enough talents and skills to do that.

I think I’m on a new path about how to work within a community.

The closest thing to a community I experienced growing up was our church and school systems.

My parents were separated from their communities in a lot of ways. My father often worked out of state. My mother stayed at home with us. We viewed the wealthy with suspicion, so it was more of an antagonistic rather than synergistic relationship. When you’re accustomed not not getting enough, not having enough, you can start to blame the system, and the “haves” for your condition.

Perhaps I’m just on a final push out of the poverty mindset. I want to be able to connect with others in the community and even in the nation to accomplish things together. It’s just that I’m not sure where to come from (I have no organization nor a clear sense of trajectory). And I’m not sure where to go!

I think this is what is delaying my “Center for Public Wellness” concept that I had spent the past few months contemplating and defining. I want to organize people on a large scale, but I’m not sure I have the skills to do so. In fact I do not have any demonstrable skills in this area. It may take only a small spark to light a fire, but…