Are you feeling restless? Does a nagging voice in your head keep saying, "This isn't what you're supposed to be doing"? Do you crave more but have trouble figuring out what "more" is?
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My 35th high school reunion just passed. I did not attend it. Reflecting on the event, I remembered that I could not escape my hometown fast enough when I was 18 years old. I realized it is okay that I have never gone to a reunion, that I only keep in touch with one or two classmates. I was not meant to be there. I had a different path, one that led me to join the U.S. Marine Corps, attend college, work as a psychologist, and become an entrepreneur so that I could continue using my talents to help others in big ways.
Feelings of unrest often strike during milestone moments in our lives, such as at retirement and on birthdays. This unrest can actually be a blessing in disguise; it can present us with the opportunity to reassess our plans for the future.
You are never too old to reinvent yourself. Trust me: I work with people ranging from high school students to retirees and everyone in between. Plus, we are living longer than we used to. My grandma lived to 101. Retiring at 65 or 70 is not my personal plan. I would still have another 30 years or more of sitting around and doing what?
I like helping others succeed. I can't imagine waking up and not having client projects waiting for me.
When you feel restless or unhappy with your life, it's an occasion to examine the direction you are headed. If you do not like what you see, then do something about it.
To get rid of your restlessness and replace it with hope, try the following:
1. Examine What Is Really Going on in Your Life
Are you unhappy because you are in an unhealthy relationship? Did you always put your goals and dreams on hold for your family? Are you thinking, "When is it my turn?"
2. Review Your Circle of Influence
Who are the people in your inner circle? What are they saying? Are they encouraging you to pursue your dreams and goals or dismissing those dreams and goals? Are they doing something you wish you were doing?
If your environment is toxic, move or distance yourself from it. If you are bit by the green-eyed monster of jealousy, focus on the positives in your life.
3. Review Your Options
Do you want to go back to school? Get a new job? Relocate? If so, I recommend you do the following:
- Do an online job search to see who is hiring where and for what roles.
- Review your current skills and educational background. What can you do now to start moving forward?
- Design a strategy to get that degree, land that new job, relocate, or do whatever it is you are itching to do. When designing your strategy, do not let fear stop you.
4. Assess Your Commitment Level
If it is not 100 percent, go back to the steps above and repeat. If it is 100 percent, you will need to design a plan for when you hit resistance. Resistance may come in the form of your spouse, parents, or well-meaning friends who consciously or subconsciously sabotage your plans. You will need to evaluate your circle of influence and make changes, if necessary.
5. Do Something Each Day That Will Bring You Closer to Your Goals
It is okay if it will take you 10+ years to reach your goal. You may have children to raise and school to complete. Don't worry, and don't let the number of years until you can begin living your life purposely derail you.
Life is not a straight road; it would be boring if it were. Life is full of curves, hills, and occasional potholes; this is what makes the journey interesting and fun. Embrace your journey while keeping your sight set on your life's purpose.
Jaynine Howard is a military veteran whose work as a career strategist and reinvention specialist has been recognized by professional organizations throughout the nation.