Bambi and Finding Purpose

I miss my mom so much. I keep waiting for a sign from her, to know that she’s near, guiding me. Right after she died I got a lot of signs, mostly feathers and butterflies and a few owls, but now the signs seem to be fading away. It feels like she’s slipping away from me, and I don’t like it. I don’t want to let her go. The timing seems so bad, just as I’d decided to embark on a new career path, because now I’m back to where I started:  lost. Completely and utterly lost.

Maybe I’m destined to work in a grocery store for the rest of my life. Maybe this is just it for me. My mother worked in retail for 30 years and hated it. But she had my sisters and me, who gave her purpose, and then she met the love of her life, retired early, and spent the last 20 years of her life happy with him, and the last 10 happy being a grandmother and happy with helping others through volunteer work.

Working in a grocery store is not so bad. There’s not a lot of pressure, and I don’t have to sit behind a desk all day. I get weekdays off to run errands or do whatever I want to do. It’s an organic grocery store, locally owned, and my co-workers are easy to talk to, and all on a similar path as I am.

The problem is, according to Wayne Dyer in his book Your Sacred Self, I am looking for my purpose in the physical world, and my purpose is not there. Eckhart Tolle in his book The Power of Now writes that your purpose is to grow. I keep reading in different books that my purpose is to love, learn, and grow. I get all that, and I’ll do that along the way, but what am I supposed to do for money? To earn a living?

I feel pretty certain I do not want to return to school. I’m $65,000 in debt, and if I continue I’ll have double that… Though I must admit, I don’t care as much about debt anymore because everyone has it and you can’t take it with you. More importantly, I don’t feel comfortable giving clients the false notion that nutrition will save their lives or promote longevity. Everyone dies. You may as well enjoy some ice cream while you’re here.

While he doesn’t expect me to become the President of the United States, my boyfriend might not be too thrilled with my plan not to return to grad school. He should not be expected to shoulder the financial burden, nor do I want to be a lousy role model for his kids. I don’t want the message to them to be that they too can borrow tens of thousands of dollars to get a worthless liberal arts degree, then borrow more to get a worthless master’s degree in creative writing, then borrow more to study for a master’s in nutrition, only to work in a grocery store for $13 an hour. Their parents have their shit together, so they probably will not go down the same road as I am, but I still feel like a failure.

Everything I read says to think positively and envision the future I want, because it’s all a self-fulfilling prophecy. But how do you let go of the deep-rooted fear? This fear tells me I’ll be homeless, destitute, that I’ll outlive everyone, which means I get to watch all my loved ones die, and ultimately I’ll die alone at the age of 103 in a nursing home, after suffering from Alzheimer’s, stroke, and cancer.

The only answer that comes to me now is that I am happy with where I am today, and if I can focus on that instead of worrying about a future that probably will never happen, I can find peace, at least in this moment, because this moment is all we have.

From the books I’ve been reading on grief, it’s not uncommon to feel lost after the death of a loved one. I have felt lost for most of my life, so what’s a few more months or years, or the rest of my life? At some point I think you just decide this is it, and you have to just be okay with it, or suffer. My therapist reminded me that I can get an admin job, maybe at a hospital or clinic, and work the same hours as my boyfriend, making more money than I am now, and once we live together I can contribute more around the house, which I’m good at and would do anyway because I enjoy cooking and prefer to have a clean house. She also reminded me that if we both had high-powered jobs we’d spend more eating out and doing other things, and I also realized that would be a stressful life that I would not want. I don’t want to spend my free time studying or worrying about someone else’s health and whether or not I gave sound advice, nor do I want to find out someone died of a heart attack after taking the wrong supplements that interfered with their medications. Instead I want to spend my free time with my boyfriend, writing, and expanding my spiritual life. I envision a life in a small house in the countryside with a garden of vegetables, herbs, and some flowers. Neither of us likes a lot of stuff, so it would be minimal with just a few meaningful things and the things we need, and our bikes. Evenings would be spent on the porch watching birds and talking about life, and cozying up to watch documentaries at night.

Though I’d expected and hoped that my mother would live to be well in her 80s or 90s, really that she’d just live forever, maybe the timing of my mother’s death was just right. Maybe this is God’s way of saying it’s time to grow up now and be on my own. Still, I feel like Bambi.



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