“You can do whatever you want now!” “Go for it, follow your passion!” It sounds fantastic doesn’t it? What ever the reason at one stage in your life you may find yourself confronted by this blessed or haunted situation of endless choices and infinite possibilities on what to do!
We may hear this when we move due to the partner’s job and decide to give up on our previous career. Or a decision is made for the family that one partner stops working to concentrate more on the children. Or one simply got burned out by the job and decided to take a step back to regroup, refocus.
For some, this indeed is a blessing as they spread their wings to finally set out to do what they always wanted to try or do but were held back by obligations.
But what if you do not really know what it is what you want to do, or you have interests and passions in many different directions? Then this ocean of endless choices can soon become overwhelming. And joy and excitement may turn into stress, tension, frustration and misunderstandings.
I reached this point of endless possibilities a bit later in my life. My first two moves were career orientated. Then I reached a point where I burned out, I was unsatisfied and it affected me as well health wise and eventually decided to quit my job. I had the next steps mapped out, but what I didn’t know then was that I was pregnant with my first child. So my carefully planned next steps came to a crashing halt. Becoming a mother was exciting of course but I always felt that I wanted to do something more, as well for myself. We had made the decision that my husband’s job will be the driver for when and where we move. I would have time to be there for the kids (we meanwhile have three) but I still wanted to do ‘something’, with enough flexibility for the family and being “moveable”.
And yes it was / is a unique experience and I was – and am – grateful for it. Yet, at times it was overwhelming and lonely and stressful. Hearing and thinking that I have boundless possibilities was thrilling yet scary at the same time. I did not have that ONE passion waiting to be unleashed within me. And there are so many exciting things to do and learn and discover, the world seems to be constantly changing and opening up for even more options!
Sooner or later you may find yourself in an ocean of unlimited options and infinite possibilities! As scary as it may feel at times embrace this special situation of being able to make a new choice and to have the time to look and search. Not everybody is given this chance for a new start. Allow yourself to float in the sea of endless possibilities as you may find new ideas and career possibilities but then come back and be brutally honest:
- What is it what you do not want to do (anymore)?
- For me that was that I did not want to work in an office anymore, I wanted to be able to be flexible for the family and not having to always restart at zero with every move.
- What is it that may interest you but you can’t do due to limitations?
- This can be due to your education, or own experiences, current life situation, injuries or illnesses or limitations in the country you live in or plan to move to.
- What is interesting but “not really me” within all your ideas?
- I really do enjoy and feel the benefits of a good foot reflexology for example. And wouldn’t it be great to give this nice relaxed feeling to others? I had all the information for an education at home. But when it came to nail it down – Did I really want to learn foot reflexology if I do not like to touch random peoples feet?
- Are options you have a on your list purely temporary or can you continue that path as you get older, have a family, move to another country?
- For example; if you have smaller kids and started with activities for their age groups with other mums it may be all super exciting and you consider getting an education for preschoolers, etc. But do you really see yourself working with younger kids when yours are older?
- Is your move temporary and you know you will move back and will get back into your old job?
- Then perhaps you can simply embrace this adventure, really try out something new for a certain time, or use this time to educate further in your field of expertise.
By working through the list of infinite possibilities and questioning each one of them you may find yourself eliminating some previous ideas. But don’t rush this process, allow yourself to explore if you can and be prepared that even if you think you nailed it down, life may throw you some curveballs and you have to pause and reevaluate (think another unexpected move for example) but you will get where you want to be eventually!
Once I had my ideas narrowed down I was still doubtful. While I thought I found my passion and believed in it, it was totally “off” from my initial carrier path and I knew my parents, siblings and some old friends would question me (and my insanity) if I told them. Then again, all the years abroad gave me experiences I never could have imagined and I changed in many ways!
So, why not dare and take the chance to really look into something new?
If you find yourself in the position with endless choices don’t drown, take a step back and evaluate them carefully and by time your endless choices will lead you to new infinite possibilities!
Author: Ann-Katrin van Schie
I am Ann-Katrin, currently living in Tokyo, Japan with my family of five. I have been living abroad, including a repatriation, for over 15 years now. My own experiences and a lot of talks and discussions with others have inspired me to give back. To give support for an overall better wellbeing in various areas of life, especially when but not limited to, living abroad.
With my blog I hope to give others a source of inspiration to feel relaxed and content – or simply said to feel “at ease”!