I’ve spent a lot of time at the beach lately, contemplating my next steps.

Even this post has been like pulling teeth, trying to think of how to put into words what I have been feeling lately…

I started writing it a few weeks ago. One morning, I decided to not go for a run, but opted for a good walk to a “sit and just be” spot off the beaten path about a five minute drive from where I live. I did not take my phone with me, because I didn’t want to be torn from the present moment while I was there. But I didn’t go so far that I couldn’t get back to my car on my own volition if something happened. And therein lies one of the things I am torn about in life right now.

I think a lot of us feel these internal pushings and pullings inside ourselves but don’t feel like we can talk about them.  If you’re unhappy about something, you don’t always feel like you can complain or vocalize it, especially if from all outward signs, it looks like everything in your life is going all so swimmingly well. So, I hope this post can help some of you out there who might feel the same. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m not afraid to share uncomfortable things sometimes. Even if no one ever reads that post, it helps me to get it out there.

A friend of mine asked me last night if I was doing ok – he thought I sounded like I was feeling down a bit lately. I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my life, what really drives me. I’m trying to figure out what is going on in the present, and trying to be present in the moment, but also working on what could make me happier in the future. Looking back, I feel like I may have made some rash decisions, or had tunnel vision, but then when i look at those decisions in a different light, then I think, “well maybe not so much. It did take me over a year to figure out where to move when I  finally decided Boston was not the place for me.”

I’m torn about a few things lately:

1.I found out I am able to work full time at the resort through the winter. I’m thrilled about that for financial reasons – I know it will allow me to keep earning a salary and be able to save a bit of $ right now while also paying down my credit card debt (yes, I have a balance now I can’t pay off within a month, I’ll write about it in a separate post.)  While I like working in a place that is absolutely gorgeous and a place that some folks only get to spend their vacation at, it’s not a job which I see as being the one I would want to do for the rest of my days on this earth.

I  love some of my coworkers and the people we take care of, who, for the most part, are really good and appreciative of our efforts.  However, occasionally, I hear someone complaining and I find myself wanting to smack them upside the head and say to them “don’t you realize you have such a BLESSED life? You’re not dying of some terminal disease, you’re able to afford your vacation, so stop complaining that the person’s camper next to you is too close, or you don’t have enough seclusion or enough shade in just the right few square inches of space where you want it, or the wifi isn’t strong enough!!! You’re on vacation! You’re getting to do something not everyone gets to do, and you’re in a campground, not out in the wilderness, for god’s sake!!!” (Phew, that felt good to get out!! But then I feel guilty for having judged them in such a way because I wonder, is it our society turning people into ingrates?)  On the other hand, I just finished reading When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi, about a neursurgeon who ended up with lung cancer that spread to his brain and died within 22 months. I really want to recommend that book to everyone, and especially those who seem to complain about the smallest, most minute problems.  It gives you an entirely new perspective on how lucky so many of us are in life.

In our store, we sell lots of prepackaged items. As I read more about our environment and global climate change, and conscious consumerism, the effects of garbage on all of these issues, it kills me a little bit inside every time I sell something that is contributing to those problems. I realize those problems are not gonna go away overnight, but how can I start doing something to slow down or reduce those problems? It’s a huge company so I don’t think they would take kindly to one of their employees telling people “you know, you really shouldn’t be eating meat for this, that and another reason….” So, I shut my mouth on those issues and sell them what they want and thank them for their business. But I think I am going to talk to the person who is  in charge of the retail side and see if we can work with more vendors willing to provide different alternatives that are more healthy. Right now, I think there’s only one that has some healthy alternatives, so I’ve been steadily trying to buy from her for our merchandise.

I spent a few hours online yesterday morning, looking into certificate programs and other programs related to fields where I could see myself genuinely invested – natural resource policy and management (my love of trees and the outdoors, so then I got thinking about forestry related degrees), sustainability, as well as animal welfare and of course, voluntary simplicity or minimalism. I get excited at the thought of learning about these areas, but then I get frustrated when I see how much they will cost in terms of money (my big concern) and time investment (I’m already 43, how much more schooling can I truly handle, if any?)  I can’t really afford to take out more loans (huge understatement) so then I think of looking at internships, etc., but those can be costly in that I would need to (1) relocate at least temporarily and (2) be able to live on a very small stipend, if there is any. With pets of my own to care for, and my student loans and car payment to worry about, it is very hard to make those numbers work. But I’m gonna keep trying and looking and thinking of solutions.

So here is what I have come up with so far. I know this blog doesn’t have a lot of readers (the stats don’t lie) but I plan to start writing on a variety of issues that are near and dear to me. I will have to start networking (at least online) somehow, connecting with others who feel the same way, and maybe get the word out that way. Every minute I’m online, I am using up precious cell data to connect to the internet via my chromebook, so it makes me use my time online in a more concerted manner.

The same friend who asked me if I was ok (he’s so awesome, please show him some love by checking out his youtube channel: Wander Dano) said he thought maybe  I taken the step forcing myself to find myself, by all the changes I have made, rather than just staying in one place and being “meh” about my life. I know he meant it as a compliment, and I think he is right. I have definitely done that, and many days, I wish it was easier to deal with, but then again, I think by the rough times or times when I doubt myself, that is when I learn the most. Right?

If you’ve been a faithful reader of my blog, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and hope you will stick with me. And if you are new, well, welcome, and I hope you will stick around as I continue searching for what makes me happy, what makes me feel like I’m here on this earth for a reason, and what that reason is. In other words, “what is my why?”


I just wish I had a better handle sometimes on what are my simple dreams.

Any thoughts and comments on this post are greatly appreciated, as with all the others.

18 thoughts on “Torn…

  • Hi Terri

    One of the reasons I love your writing is the honesty that shines through, and that you’re not afraid to write about real issues in your life. I think being honest with yourself is the best way to get through any period of feeling like you have no direction. Keep true and listen to yourself and sometimes, a way will present itself.

    Keep on blogging, just writing those words down helps a lot when figuring out who we are and where we want to be. Your words will speak to the people that need them.

    Sal 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Sal. That’s exactly what I like about your blog posts too! And I have been trying to do that – be honest, and try to work through things. I try to write things down, or say them out loud and hope that someone or something in the universe is listening and will help guide me along when they think I need that little extra “push,” you know?

  • Reading your reflections about your path help me to think about mine as well . . . thanks Terri! AND thanks for the book recommendation . . . it’s the 3rd time in a week I’ve gotten a recommendation for this book so it’s now on my Kindle list ; )

    • It’s an awesome book, Darris. You can tell the guy had a literature background from the way he writes. He was so brilliant, it is so sad. And I really like how at one point he talks about time – how someone with a terminal disease might feel about their time if they knew they had 1 year or 5 years or even 10 years – what he would have done about his career, etc. It was very interesting. And the epilogue written by his wife – well, it blew me away. She is an amazing writer as well.

  • Terri,

    When you were talking about people complaining, it reminded me of this quote:
    “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain–and most fools do.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

    Another quote I like that might help you think about how you want to live your life is:
    Live your life so you can say, “When I grow up, I want to be like me.” ~ Anonymous

    As always I like your post. I can tell a lot of thought has gone into what you have said. Hang in there.

    • I read it over and over and thought so much of my complaining the post – feeling scared to do it, but feeling like I had to, to be honest. I’m always worried someone from work will read it, then get upset, and then say something to someone and then it will come back on me in a negative way. But I’m just getting my own thoughts and feelings out, and this is America, where we have free speech, last time I checked, anyway. 🙂 I love those quotes. I need to remember the Ben Franklin one the next time I want to smack someone upside the head. Sometimes, I find I have to just walk away to calm down. And I love the “Anonymous” quote too.

    • Thank you so much – I hope to not disappoint! 🙂 And, thank you for leaving the comment too. I do appreciate all of them. They help me to not feel alone, if that makes any sense.

  • Hi Terri,

    It is so refreshing to have a blog that is honest and that is what I love about your writing, it’s the best kept secret 🙂

    I can so relate to many things you have written here and am in a similar place in my life right now. I can’t shut my mind up regarding what should I do? I’m turning 45 this year, have a job that I make good money with and some great perks. However I’m not very happy with some of what it involves. I’ve been very stressed out and thinking about moving on. But like you stated, I question myself am I being ungrateful and complaining too much?

    Both my parents have had health issues the last two years and this has made me think of really how precious life is and can be gone soon. I’d love to be able to spend more time with them and this also makes me think of my life. We all think we have ALL this time to live in the future, but do we really? And at what cost of living today and now.

    I do have some money saved up and have thought of getting a van or something to travel around for a while. Like you on the beach I just need a minute to be NOW and relax.

    I have no answers for you, it’s hard figuring this all out and wondering what doubts I might have. Am I doing the right thing? Listing out the Pro’s and Con’s but still uncertain with which path to take.

    Always look forward to an update on you no matter what it is. Wander Dano has a great vlog, love his nature videos. They make me want to run away now to those places.

    Wishing you all the best and big hug to you 🙂


    • Thank you for all of this, Tina, and for saying what you said about Wander Dano’s videos. I just told him about your comment. 🙂

      By the way, when I was still planning on leaving Boston, I did a lot of pro and cons lists. A lot! It did help me to get things down on paper. If it’s only in my head, it spins around and around up there, and it can really get overwhelming at times. So I sometimes would take a blank piece of paper and just write them down as they came to me. Hell, I didn’t even bother to write them in straight lines sometimes.

      If you are thinking of traveling around, there are definitely many places you can look to online for advice and help. I like the blog, Interstellar Orchard, and there is also my sis in law and brother who have Slow Car, Fast House. They did a lot of planning and had to make a lot of choices to get to where they are. Geneva, who writes most of the posts, is a super straight shooter and really tells it like it is.

      And you’re so correct. Do we really have a lot of time in the future? So many people that I graduated from high school with are gone, or have come down with a terminal disease, it’s scary. It really makes me think about things. I just don’t want to have lived my life and have regrets at the end at what I could have done, but didn’t.

  • Terri-

    Maybe just take it in this year, you’ve had A LOT of changes this past year, instead of looking forward right now.

    Always enjoy your posts!

    • Thank you, Kristen. I am trying to do that – look at all the changes and try to be happy with them, but I guess I am also doubting some of them too. I think with my brain and as Dan calls it, my “Restless spirit” a part of me will always want to look forward.

  • Terri, one thing I especially like about reading your blog is where you struggle between being idealistic and pragmatic. It’s rare to see someone do that so openly. I happened to read this post right after being reminded of “the Proust questionnaire,” at the Brain Pickings site. It struck me that the questions in it might be worth exploring as you consider what to do next. It can also be inspirational to consider how admirable people have answered those questions, like Jane Goodall, here.

    Keep writing. Thank you!

    • DAvid, I checked out that link last night and really enjoyed reading through those questions and her answers and am planning on going through them myself. Very insightful. I wish I was in St. Louis with you to give you a hug! You were always such a calming influence on me. Someone up above was definitely looking out for me the day we met at that job interview. 🙂

  • I don’t think you’re alone in feeling frustrated by the difficulty of determining life’s work. We so often see and hear about people that always knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. But I think the reality is that most people are just like you and me…we don’t know, we fall into a career, we feel vaguely (or strongly) unhappy, if we’re lucky we get to try a few things and maybe someday find the perfect lifestyle and work. I commend you for trusting your gut and trying things totally new. I and others will be following your exploration and rooting for you!

    • Thank you, Dawn. Yes, that’s even i fell into law librarianship. I had the law degree but wasn’t using it, and feeling frustrated at always being treated like an idiot as a staff assistant where I worked. So I figured, hey, I get the tuition assistance through work, why not use it and then not totally be wasting my degree?! I just wish I hadn’t made some of the choices I did, because they now affect my future (monetarily, anyway), but I guess hindsight is always stronger than foresight, correct? Thank you so much – you are always so encouraging.

  • It’s great as always to read your post Terri. I’m of the “it’s okay to snark about complainers in your head so long as your don’t smack them in the teeth” school of thought. Thank you for your honest insights. Wishing you all the best, all the time

    • LOL, thanks Liz. There were some folks today who I really wanted to smack, but I restrained myself just a bit. As soon as they left, I bought a candy bar for myself and each of my coworkers who had to deal with my grumpiness as a result. 🙂 I love that thought of yours – I’m gonna share it with my coworkers!! Thanks for commenting too!

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