Life path · Self Discovery

What’s Next Now that the Nest is Nearly Empty?

28851668 - vintage toned closeup of girl holding wild bird nest and blue egg

I’ve been searching for what’s next for me for a long time–an embarrassingly long time if I’m being honest.  I’ve gone down so many avenues trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing with my life now that I’m nearly an empty nester that I’ve worn out a path on some websites.  I’ve taken the Meyers-Briggs personality test multiple times just to be sure that I really am an INFP.  After reading what the INFP (aka Mediator) is, it sounds more like me than anything, to be sure–creepily so:

“Mediator personalities are true idealists, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people and events, searching for ways to make things better. While they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, Mediators have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine. Comprising just 4% of the population, the risk of feeling misunderstood is unfortunately high for the Mediator personality type – but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, the harmony they feel will be a fountain of joy and inspiration.”

I’ve also brainstormed ideas of what’s next for me with friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else who would listen.  In the grocery check-out line with me?  You’ll get asked what it is you do for a living.  If it sounds interesting, I will look into it as a career choice for me after I get home, sometimes skipping putting the food away and making a beeline for the computer.

In desperation, I even visited a numerologist.  She was so booked up that I had to wait three full months to see her!  Was it worth it?  I’m not sure yet.  She never gave me a definite answer one way or another about what I’m supposed to be.  She only said that I would know for sure by April 20, 2018.  Sigh.  I really wanted to know much sooner because I have the time now to devote to any and all new endeavors.  Plus, like I said, I’ve been trying to figure things out for years so waiting another couple months is torture.  We just sent our second daughter off to college and the third started as a junior in high school today.  Tick-tock, the empty nest is coming sooner than I want.

As an INFP, it says that I am called to be a writer or an actor.  I don’t feel attached to either one of these but I’m not sure if it’s the fear of failure that makes writing unappealing.  Part of it is that I don’t like busywork.  I don’t like feeling as if I’m doing all this writing for nothing.  Is anyone reading anything I’m writing?  Is anything I’ve written resonated with anyone?  I honestly don’t know.

Acting is something that would be a dream but there’s a reason there’s an “I” in my personality results–it’s called introversion and I’m an introverted introvert to the core.  Getting on a stage is not something I would be willing to do.  Perhaps I could be in a supportive role for a speaker?  Someone who stays behind the scenes to make someone else look good.  Or, like my mom suggested, I could be a writer for a TV show.  That’s definitely behind the scenes with only a name flashing by on a TV screen for those who pay attention to those sorts of things.  My sister thinks I should be on the Moth, but again, that’s being on stage by myself and telling a story I’ve written.  With both of these suggestions, I know the old adage ‘do something that scares you every day’ certainly applies, but am I really willing to put myself out there like that?  I don’t know.  I don’t think I’m as funny or entertaining as they think I am.  Of course they’re related to me so there’s that disqualification.

Another suggestion from the INFP website for an occupation is being either a therapist or a teacher.  “Some Mediators [INFPs] will prefer a still more personal touch, being able to work face-to-face with clients, seeing that their personal effort really impacts another’s quality of life.”  I believe this sums me up to a T.  At this point, I’m leaning toward teacher, more specifically a reading specialist.  I don’t want to be in a classroom and dealing with all the parents.  Having to deal with the parents seems like the worst part of teaching, especially these days.  Parents seem less inclined to blame their progeny and prefer to blame the school, the teacher, the district, the fill-in-the-blank.  And many years ago I joined a volunteer program called Everyone a Reader.  I.  Loved.  It.  Every week I’d spend some time reading one-on-one with students who were struggling with reading.  Honestly, I’m not sure how much I helped–they were all first graders and just by their brains developing, they would have improvement in reading, but I still felt great at the end of the year when the kids were blowing through books.

But I digress.  So what’s holding me back from signing up with a school to learn how to teach struggling kids how to read?  Easy answer.  I love to travel and in the past five years or so, have been doing a lot of it.  Before I met my husband, I traveled as much as I could afford but after I met him, my traveling ended.  Came to a complete stop.  I’m afraid that being in school will ground me once again.  I already have a trip to Iceland planned for next year and Sam wants to head back to Japan.  She also is begging to go back to Italy, and I need a less stressed trip back to Wales.  Sam traveled a whopping 37,000 miles this year (so far), with another 1,000 coming up in October.  Now that’s the kind of life I’d like to have!  Perhaps I could teach students how to read English in other countries.  Hmmmmm….



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