Living Up To One's Potential?
Friday, August 16, 2013
I am now 40 years old, which I can't deny that that is midlife now. Many, many people don't live to 80. Yes, I am female and females tend to live longer, but I can't deny that 40 is midlife. And the question I keep asking myself is have I done anything at all in my life that has lived up to my God given potential? Or have I squandered or wasted it all? If I have wasted it all, how can I change it?
In high school, I thought that getting a good education would help me to get out of a not so great childhood. My step-dad was a verbally abusive man and my mom was just an ice cube. She never really seemed to care about us. Our step-dad did care, as he apologized a time or two for his very bad behavior, but he still hurt me and my twin sister rather badly. But for me, now that I have a son of my own, I can not understand my mom's uncaring behavior. So I did well in high school and went to college and did reasonably well. Had trouble finding my first job, as my degree was in political science and there aren't many jobs in that field straight out of college. Most of the poli sci graduates I knew went to law school, volunteered in someone's campaign, did an unpaid internship or got jobs in other fields. I didn't have the money to do an unpaid internship, especially as I wasn't interested in local government and did not live in the capital city of my state, Ohio. In the end, I worked a data entry job through a local temp agency. I was hired on permanent by the company we worked at in the end, but I knew I would be leaving soon to head out of state and be with the man I had met on IRC and fallen in love with. The hiring company had decided to make me a trainer to help train new people, even though I was leaving in a few months, which surprised the heck out of me. (I graduated in June and my soon to be husband graduated in December.) Then I went to join my husband around january the next year, after he set up an apartment, as he graduated a few days before Christmas. So in a way, I met my husband online while in college, but I did not really use my degree. I got my Mrs. in college, which in some way which is what I faulted my mom for. She divorced my dad and was going to night school for accounting, but then she never finished and got her CPA license, instead she married. She always thought she had to be married. She has tried to marry my twin off many times. This has all made me wonder if I would have managed to do okay for myself or not. I do tell myself that I had a reasonable job, that was willing to let us work over 40 hours a week, as long as it was less than 50. I could have saved up some money for awhile and then moved into my own apartment. (I was living at my dad's house at the time and I worked normal days and he worked night shift, so I really only saw him weekends, which was kind of nice and allowed me to save up some money.)
Since then, I have worked a few different jobs, some via temp agencies, some more permanent, but then had my son, so had to leave that job. Then worked as a church secretary of a little church that had some yoyoing pastors. I kept that little church going for quite awhile, but in the end, I knew it's closing was best for it and thought that would be best for the members too, as they were such a hodge podge that didn't always fit well together and were starting to really show stress and conflict with each other. While at the church, I thought it was where God wanted me, then I searched for a new church home to attend for a year and never really found one I could call home. Then my husband obtained a job in a new state. I do have a church I am attending here, but it is taking me awhile to feel at home there, as names to faces allude me, etc.
When I left the state I was in, no one really seemed to care. When the church closed, everyone worried about the pastor, or different members, but no one expressed any concern for me. That church had been my church home and my job for 14 years or so. Saying goodbye to the state was like saying goodbye to the church again, especially as when I emailed different people in the state that I was leaving, no one invited me to a farewell dinner, no one called, almost no one even emailed back. If I had made a difference in their lives at all keeping that little church going, they didn't show it. This has led me to question if my entire life up to 40 years of age has been somewhat wasted. Has any of my actions made a difference at all? And what the heck does God want me to do now? My husband works a job that makes enough to live reasonably well and I have the privilege of not having to work, if I want to. How do I put that time and potential to it's best use and not squander it? I mean most people have to work so many hours, they can't volunteer or do what they want to do and here I have the ability to do just that. But I feel guilty all the time, if I am doing something during the normal work hours that isn't for the family or something productive. But what is productive? What isn't?
I volunteer about 6 hours a week at my church's food pantry and cook yummy meals, make homemade breads, etc. But I still feel like I need to justify to my husband what I am doing with my time and I hate it. I also feel that need, as when we were preparing for the move, my husband yelled at me on his birthday that it was my fault that we weren't more prepared for the move. He yelled the same things my step-dad used to yell at me. Okay, not really, but his statements implied that I was either lazy or at least not working very hard. I admit I was delaying on some things with the move, but it was more like I was mourning leaving our home and our city/state, etc. and mourning the fact that my life in Wisconsin has seemed to mean nothing to anyone. Why am I so weak to need to know that I have made a difference somehow? I mean, many people never see the results of their actions while on earth. Why can't I just tell myself that I do what I do, because it feels right and get on with my life?
I even find with dealing with others, I feel guilty about the fact that I am not working and they have to work. I went to a lecture the other day and someone asked what do you do... what are you doing here? He was trying to ask how are you a non-retired person able to come here during the day? How the heck am I supposed to respond to that one? Even talking to cashiers at local drug stores, things I say seem to be making excuses why I am out shopping and not working. I know the other part of this, is that my step-dad always seemed to value people based on what they made monetarily. I, personally, do not do this to others, but I have found in the past that I was better self-esteeem wise when I was making a paycheck at least. Now working for a little church was very low paying and I joked it was half volunteer, as I was making more per hour but quite a bit before my son was born 14 years earlier than when the job ended and the church shut down.
I think if I could be convinced that God had a plan for me, and I was doing what God wanted, maybe I would manage to get over this dadblasted somewhat sad state that I have been in for awhile now. But God does not talk to me or communicate what He wants. Which you know, isn't very fair. I wish I wasn't so weak that I needed to be told that I am worth something. My husband and son both have a lot of self-esteeem, sometimes they need to be reminded to be humble, while lately, I need to be reminded that I have value at all. My life has been a good life, but I just feel like I have wasted it.
Yes, I think I am calling this my midlife crisis. But when will it end? Where is that light at the end of the tunnel? For some reason the song from Lion King Endless Night seems to sum up how I feel lately.