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Finding a New Purpose

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posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 11:52 PM
I have been struggling with some form of the 'empty nest' syndrome since my daughter's high school graduation. The entire group of young adults that have hung out with our family for the last decade are all dispersing into their colleges, jobs and military service and I am already missing helping them all grow and get through their challenges as it has been a big part of what I have enjoyed the last few years.

I have really enjoyed working with the teens the last few years and so many of them will be life long friends, but the daily day to day of having a house full of young people hanging out at my home is over for the most part. However, there is more to it since I am only 50 years old and basically retired. I worked the first 15 years of my adult life in corporate America for a bank and then was fortunate enough to begin a career in real estate and development. The last few years I have been dedicated to coaching, mentoring and helping the young people surrounding my daughter.

I am at a point where I need to reinvent myself because doing nothing is not fulfilling. I generally consider myself to be a introverted inconsiderate jerk, but over the last few months of grad parties and going away parties I have found that I actually did have a big impact on many lives and despite my best efforts to the contrary I was valued by many people. I mean I WAS being selfish because I derived enjoyment helping the kids with their problems because I have had the time and resources that a lot of their parents didn't have. I never actually thought that anything especially good would come of it because I was always doing it for my own selfish enjoyment of helping them not because I was a nice person.

Anyway, I know this is not really jelling like I would like, but at a going away party for one of the girls that has been such a big part of my life the last few years (she is going into the Air Force) I kept getting hugs from parents, young adults and all kinds of grateful people. Selfishly, I will really miss being important to people and not having anymore more opportunities for helping these people out (except infrequently).

I am actually really confused about what to do with myself. I have considered fostering or adopting (again because I selfishly enjoy having people that need me), going back to school for a variety of things (law degree, education, etc) that would let me work with people that I can either help with legal problems or teach so I can get back into a position where I can work with young people again.

I just don't know WHAT to do. I have time and money, but no direction. I never really have known what it is I want to be or do. I did the first 15 years in banking and finance to make money to live not because I enjoyed it and then I used real estate to become financially comfortable and I actually did enjoy it until my business partner decided to take a lucrative sales opportunity a couple of years ago.

Damn, I am just confused, reading books on anything from finding life's purpose to depression to self help to science to just random things trying to find SOMETHING I am passionate about. I am just kind of floating with nothing in particular I have to do and no one that needs me (my wife and I are doing great, but she doesn't NEED me she tolerates me for some reason). It's just weird right now.

I also am still thinking about my mother dying at what I consider a young age (73). I don't know if that has something to do with how I am feeling. We hadn't been super close since I was a teen because of some cheating she did on my dad, but I still find myself thinking about her dying of cancer after being a health nut her entire life and thinking well, how many more years do I have and is there any point to going back to school or doing anything if she only made it to 73 and she took way better care of herself that I do myself.

So, yeah, I am a hot mess tonight. Rudderless and adrift in the ocean with no particular place to go.

I apologize if this OP has made you want 5 minutes of your life back, but thanks for reading.

I am just feeling really weirded out tonight.

posted on Jul, 24 2016 @ 12:21 AM
Do what I did. Go back to work.

It's a frikkin' blast.

posted on Jul, 24 2016 @ 12:46 AM
a reply to: Metallicus

Go into politics.

posted on Jul, 24 2016 @ 01:24 AM
When you say "I selfishly helped people for my own enjoyment" I hear "I am aware if my subconscious motives for helping people and I enjoy making a difference in people's lives". So stop beating yourself up for that! Sounds like you're miles ahead of most people. Helping others DOES feel good, there's nothing wrong with that.

I have no experience with empty nest, because I never had a family, but if you want to explore how it feels to help people and develop empathy, I recommend volunteering. There's no long term commitment and you can pick causes that you like. If you like animals, start with local animal shelters, or maybe you want to try conservation. Try tutoring or mentoring.

It also sounds like you would like to know the meaning of life. I have no idea. Read some philosophy? If you find something that sounds useful let me know!!!! All kidding aside, I do think I was raised with a healthy (or morbid) philosophy of life. Basically, what do you have now that you can take with you to the other side? Money and possessions will stay here, but love and relationships transcend mortality. So build quality relationships with people you love and always keep in mind today might be the last day you see them, so make it count (even in small ways).

Also, if you have never done so before, now is a great time to get in touch with your creative side, or to find a hobby like building ham radios so you can give advice to someone in Puerto Rico.
good luck!

posted on Jul, 24 2016 @ 01:30 AM
When my kids started leaving home, I it was a big event for me and I went through a lot of the same feelings.
It can actually be very exciting, reinventing yourself at this time. It is sad at first, but as you start to open your mind to new perspectives, it is revigorating.

I love working with teens and young adults. I often say I wish I had realized that earlier and become a high school teacher. I love watching young humans individuate.

posted on Jul, 24 2016 @ 01:37 AM
a reply to: Metallicus

I have a saying that I often use and think it may be relavant, If you do not know what to do then do nothing.

Sounds simple but it works, if you feel a void then instead of rushing into something to fill it why not take the time to explore yourself and what you really want, I remember when I went from bieng a stepfather and father to 4 with all the responsibilites to just bieng me again and it was very hard for me to fill the gaps and had I taken my own advice then after a time I would have been able to make the right decisions instead of the wrong ones.

The need to feel needed is strong but remember that you are allowed to do things for yourself without bieng selfish.

posted on Jul, 24 2016 @ 01:45 AM
a reply to: Metallicus

Maybe you should get "touched in the head" and be ordained.

posted on Jul, 24 2016 @ 02:20 AM
a reply to: Metallicus

Been there, now check on your Dad. If y'all have a relationship this will be the time to step in a bit to get him out and about more. Your empty schedule days will start to fill up to keep him steady. Be sure and include some nice vacations too. After that it will be weddings and grandkids, so seriously, take a vacay in this period of your life 'cause it's going to get really busy down the road.

edit on 24-7-2016 by seentoomuch because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 24 2016 @ 08:21 AM
If you really liked having the younger folks around, look to see if there is some kind of volunteer work you can do. Plenty of teens need positive role models, especially male ones.

There is Big Brothers, Big Sisters and similar stuff. It's kind of like being a part-time dad, but you know as well as I do that there are way too many kids who grow up without any kind of positive male role modeling in their lives.

It doesn't have to be a huge commitment, but you might find out you want to make it a deeper thing than you realize.

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