Starting Over at 33

I visited Harbin Hot Springs last weekend to “celebrate” my upcoming birthday 4/16. My original plan, conceived 6 months ago, was to take one of those open top tour buses around San Francisco like a tourist, then go out for dinner. I like the idea of treating your city like you don’t live there, sometimes it helps you appreciate it more. This might have been a good time, but somehow, at the last minute, a weekend free from track meet competitions opened up and I decided to cancel my bus celebration and do something that felt way more awesome: get out of town to the country, camp, and soak naked in some hot water out in the fresh air for a weekend.

I’m glad I went. It was perfectly relaxing and lovely. They also sell my favorite chocolate there: Sacred Steve’s Sacred Chocolate – and my friend N. picked out my favorite bar, by coincidence (The Amazonian) to give me for a birthday present.

While I was there, I had a few minutes to read from a book I’ve had a while on organization. I got a couple good ideas (choose my clothes in advance! pack lunches in advance! sort incoming files by “To Do, To Pay, To Read, To File”, etc.). So I was feeling good about coming home and getting more organized. I even chose three pet projects to start working on.

It’s just that….

The teacher/coach who knew me best in high school said something like, “She has a lot of interests and talents and it may take her a while to find her niche in life.” I didn’t understand what he meant at the time, but those words came back to me today as I struggled to put my finger on how to spend my time at the moment.

I think I’m learning a few things about myself:

1) I lead best by doing. I need to be doing what I am teaching. I enjoy teaching after someone asks me a question, or asks me to teach. It’s important to me that someone is hungry for information.

2) While I can initiate activity, I prefer to be attracted into an activity. I think of the friends I had in grade school and high school. I like going along with someone else’s good idea and making it even better.

3) I enjoy creating systems and organizing information and objects.

4) I need to write more.

5) I like starting businesses, but only when I’m truly compelled by the passion of the idea. And even that has led me astray in recent months (passion), so not sure I can trust that as a guide anymore either.

6) I love politics, specifically the discussing of ideas about how to make our lives better and how to make our communities and businesses more aligned with our values. I don’t understand my place in politics however. I do not enjoy lobbying, nor do I have any current affiliation (though I am leaning Green Party), nor do I even have community.

So it really feels like I am “starting over” at 33. Mentally, I feel like I did after graduating high school: looking around for clues as to what to do next.

One of my inner voices is saying: “Stop mulling over it and just get three jobs already like a responsible adult would and pay off your debts.”

One of my other inner voices is saying: “You can’t have the lifestyle you dream of if you continue short-term thinking and take shit jobs that take your time, energy, and creativity away from other more amazing opportunities.”

And I’m not sure which one to listen to. I’m inclined to listen to the second voice because I’ve spent my whole life listening to the first voice. I guess that’s why I’m dragging on my painful indecisiveness so long, and torturing myself with the financial and emotional uncertainty that accompanies inaction.

I’m ready for a wealthy, healthy, thriving phase of life, and I want to make choices in line with that desire.