treasure & hunting

It’s all flowers and geriatric living up in here lately. Brunch and Sunday drives, looking for treasures. This pewter jug was strangely appealing to me, & Β totally something my mom would have.

A set of 4 champagne coupes, for fancy living.

A glass and silverplate container to keep the cat from stealing my earrings and rings while I shower. A cameo earring went missing the 2nd day I had it, and it still hasn’t been found. Devil kitten.

Way too many bags. I don’t need them, but can’t seem to leave them. $2!! Come on! Treasure hunting without a shop to toss the overflow is a world of danger.

& a wee tusky necklace.

That was the treasure part. The hunting part is harder. I’ve been really listless and depressed, still. I still don’t know what sort of things I want to be doing. So much I read these days seems to expect that a lady of my age and means one should 1. have a self-owned business (etsy, etc) 2. be a pro-blogger or 3. make some babies. Or all 3, ideally. These are not things I want to do.

I’m used to having a certain cosmic clarity around my next-steps and path in life, and for the 1st time in a long time, I feel pretty floundering and lost.

I know much of my fuzziness is due to literal eye fuzziness, but it’s crazymaking to not have a focus. In the past, I’d make art or music or put on a show or start a new venture – but now, at 35, I feel like my decisions need to be BIG LIFE DECISIONS, like I’ve done all these one-off things & now every step has to be a major foundation for family and future. Is that married-head thoughts? Where is that coming from? It’s paralyzing because nothing feels like the right thing, like the right steps.

What I do know:

Financial security is important to me
I do want a family, though the idea of one right now is panic inducing
Vermont seems like Home
I need to start creating again – my fingers have been itching to paint
Maybe I don’t need a life plan through age 70 right now

Has anyone else experienced this? It seems like people are just chugging along with their ideas and life plans & I’m just like “Well, guess I’ll take a nap.” It’s pretty different from my usual mode of thought and has been happening for a year, and whoa. It’s really effecting my happiness.

45 Comments

    1. Whoa, really? Are you feeling like you need a switch from being a designer? For me, I stumbled into working in tech, so 15 years later, it’s like – what am I doing here? Is this really what I want as a career? Does it even matter what you do as a career if you have some other life-fire? I don’t even know.

      1. I never wanted to be a graphic designer. I studied art and music, but I’ve been doing this for 17 yrs so here I am. I don’t really know what else I want to do though. If I did, I’d try and pursue it, but this has been my problem.

  1. I think it is safe to say that comparing oneself to everyone else on the internet creates a lot of discontent. (Which is something I struggle with)
    In my case, I don’t feel like doing anything unless there is a point. I don’t just create art or just knit for the sake of it. I have to have a purpose attached so I feel like I’ve accomplished something. Sometimes the point is simply that I have an idea inside me that needs to be let out. The current excuse is “It’s for my portfolio”
    I think there is nothing wrong with napping or reading. But maybe it would help if you were to attach purpose to it.

    1. Oh, yes. I didn’t intend it as a comparison to anyone else, more like a list of options? Does that make sense? If one is creative & not independently wealthy, what are the models for existence currently out there, etc. Raised by wolves! Should probably just go back to the wolves.

      Purpose is a really abstract concept to me. I just can’t seem to separate “biding time until _____” with “driving force for happiness and existence.”

      (& I currently can’t read much, which is part of my agita!)

  2. Coupes! I just put my grandmother’s out on the buffet last night. That little cat-proof box is so sweet!

    Sometimes I wonder if it is our generation. At least for me, I grew up being told by my hippie mom, my friends, teachers, community, etc that I “could do anything I set my mind to” and I “could be anything I wanted”. So what do you do when you like drawing, acting, playing music, taking pictures, writing, vintage, travel, helping people, marketing, publishing, building stuff, being independent, being married, babies…. and a million other things? Which choice is the right choice and when? Why isn’t life much longer?

    I think this might contribute to my own sort of melodramatic hypochondria (and internet diagnosing). You see–I think I want to do so many things that I am afraid that the arm cancer that might be developing (lint or just a mole) will cut life short and I won’t have made the right choice yet. What am I missing out on by not choosing the other choices? Does it matter? Why am I making myself crazy? Why don’t I feel “grown up” yet?

    Do you mean something like that? No. Can’t relate.

    P.S. Can you tell me something about Vermont that is different from the movie Baby Boom. It is really my only reference. Though it did make me want to move there as there seemed to be a perpetual autumn happening.

    1. Yesssss. Totally! My mom always told me I’d be president, also. WHAT IF I DONT WANT TO BE PRESIDENT?

      Are you a Sagittarius? I was just talking to Sean about this part, too, that I can’t choose one thing. And that was awesome in my 20s and I did a million things, but now it feels like I MUST PICK because I am OLD and need to BUILD A FAMILY. Which, that makes no sense, but that’s where my brain is getting stuck.

      I don’t know the movie baby boom!! Just click the Vermont tag over there —->
      & tell me you don’t want to move after you read some posts!

      1. Yes. I didn’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer… just 793 other things.

        No… I am a Cancer with a Leo rising and my Moon is in Taurus. My Mercury is in Sagittarius though. Mars in Aries. Venus in Libra.

        Move back to Vermont. I can’t handle all the beauty in those posts. There! I made a life choice for you.

        1. Oh, figures. I always like cancers, and sagittarii, and capricorns.

          This Vermont decision making is excellent. Perhaps in a past life I had a group of advisors making decisions and that’s why I’m confused now. πŸ˜‰

    2. “So what do you do when you like drawing, acting, playing music, taking pictures, writing, vintage, travel, helping people, marketing, publishing, building stuff, being independent, being married, babies…. and a million other things? Which choice is the right choice and when? Why isn’t life much longer?”

      yes, yes, and YES.

  3. “So much I read these days seems to expect that a lady of my age and means one should 1. have a self-owned business (etsy, etc) 2. be a pro-blogger or 3. make some babies. Or all 3, ideally. These are not things I want to do.

    I’m used to having a certain cosmic clarity around my next-steps and path in life, and for the 1st time in a long time, I feel pretty floundering and lost.”

    Oh my gosh this is EXACTLY, EXACTLY where I’m at. The pressure to do those things, the lack of focus and clarity, the floundering. It’s scary, especially after the go-get-it-ness of my early twenties. I feel like I lack ambition and frankly, napping is really tempting, LOL. But then I look around me and see people pursuing their dreams, etc. and I wonder how I ended up on this strangely meandering, foggy path. πŸ˜› Paralyzed is exactly how I described myself to my husband yesterday: paralyzed or inert or frozen, because nothing FEELS right anymore, careerwise or when I try to formulate a grand “life plan.” I’m not unhappy (I love being married, our new city is nice enough) just mixed up and turned around.

  4. YES! Yes to everything. I’m feeling these kinds of pressures and weights as well. I turn 30 next month and while I’m pretty excited about it, I also have this feeling that I suddenly should be making grand gestures and major life choices. All the while I still really feel just like a confused teenager. I freaked out on my partner of 7 years a couple weeks ago saying we should be thinking of marriage (something that for 7 years we have happily lived with a mutual fear of). Of course this week the very thought freaks me out more than ever, but what about babies? What about owning my own business, working for myself, mastering yoga, finding that perfect space of serenity and finally attaining that “life I’ve always wanted”?!?!? But of course, I don’t really know what any of that even means…

    I’m always afraid that any big decision I make will somehow trap me into not being able to make any others I may think I want at some point. Ugh! Frustration abounds…

    I also have to say that my major freak outs have lately been occurring when my vision problems are at thier worst. Not being able to see is maddening and gives me WAY to much time to get lost in my own head….
    I hope that you are able to find all the clarity you seek and I hope you will continue to share the process, because you are certainly not alone in this.

  5. as all these ladies have said above, i know exactly what you mean. it seems like so many out there are following their dreams to success. i feel stuck in a rut in terms of a career or such goals. there are too many things i want to do it seems i can’t choose one and follow it to fruition. instead i find myself doing what is easy for me and most definitely not what i want to be doing. but the allure of a steady paycheck keeps me on this path. whereas in the past i’ve tended to jump ship and move onto some other entry level, not quite what i want position, here i am, riding along.

    you mentioned something about this being characteristic of sagittarius, this indecision? perhaps that is my problem.

    don’t forget, the internet can be so misleading, as so many put only their best foot forward and hide the rest in the shadows. while it may seem like these people are a success, who is to say for sure what the whole picture is. or so i tell myself anyway.

    i think the key is to just move forward in some direction, even if it is the wrong one, or you can’t see the path clearly, it may lead you to the right road.

  6. Yes, yes, and yes. I actually entered the world of science immediately after college, struggled with what to do, what to do–am creative and need that, but went ahead and got my PhD in science and now that I **just** graduated, still struggle with what to do and where to find the time with my creative itches…still not sure that this is what i want–and now, in mid-30s===>should i have kids? do i really want them? i can’t afford them…do i want them because everyone else has them? why am i not more successful, together, driven? i totally get you.

  7. Mmmm, I went through this about 4 months ago, and am slowly starting to raise sail to head in a new direction. The Internet is no help, really. Seems like everyone out there is “living their best life now” — RIGHT NOW — and I’m… having a good time? What I will add is that for me, even though I’ve tentatively set my next heading, it’s hard to overcome the inertia of too-many-options paralysis. Building steam slowly seems to be the key. Good luck sifting through your options and overcoming the (literal and metaphorical) fuzzy vision!

  8. 37-year-old indecisive Sagittarius here… I finally made a career choice at 35 (currently in 2d year of law school), after achieving clarity about it by immersing myself in the law school question and learning enough to let go of all the associated worries. (The debt! the stress! I’m too old! it’s jerk school!)

    On the life front, I’m in a 7-year-old relationship with a man I love so very much (and live with) who doesn’t want kids. I thought I didn’t want them either until just the last year or so, when my long-absent maternal instinct finally asserted itself and I started to understand that my reasons for not having them were rationalizations. I recently declared to the BF that I’m forming a “presidential exploratory committee” on kid-having, meaning that he will see me reading blogs and books about babies and pregnancy and such, and rather than be alarmed by it, I need him to understand that I’m doing it because I don’t want to make the decision not to have kids out of inertia or fear. I have to make it (or the opposite decision) in a thoughtful way. I know that seeming me do this scares him, but this is too important a life decision to make without serious self-examination.

    Obviously a different scenario from yours, but the relevant thing is that sometimes you have to divorce your feelings about one thing to explore your feelings about another — in my case, BF on the one hand, having a kid on the other. Seems backwards, since these things are, of course, inextricably interrelated, but the only way to quell the life-noise is to examine each issue separately. Go ahead and launch your very own presidential exploratory committee on parenting. Or on professional etsying or professional blogging or whatever else. Immerse yourself in it. Read a memoir by someone else who was in a similar spot. Get down into the nitty gritty details of it that people don’t usually learn about until they do the thing. Sift through your feelings about that one life possibility until you achieve clarity. Once you have one thing sorted out, the other things might just fall in place behind.

    My favorite thing that anyone has ever said: “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.” β€”Bertrand Russell

    1. If it makes you feel better, my husband’s mom went to law school at your age after having 3 kids and went on to a successful career and loved it.

      I love the idea of research, I think that’s my favorite idea so far. It’s so Sagittarius! I considered law school myself, actually. See? Too many roads! (Though I’m 100% sure I never want to sell on Etsy ever again OR be a pro-blogger, so look, I’m ahead of the game!)

      I’m sure not being able to really sit down & read or work on projects because of my eyes is about 60% responsible for how I feel right now, too.

  9. I’ll be 39 next month, and I have so little of my life prepared. Married? No, I’m engaged and waiting on his annulment to even plan the wedding. Kids? I need to wait on that wedding, and please don’t bring up the subject. My biological clock is desperate. Job? I lost my job and have been searching without luck.
    It isn’t easy, my dear, but believe me, there is no law that says your life should be together by now. We all think it should be, but it so rarely is.

  10. I definitely think that sometimes reading blogs on the Internet is really dangerous. Everyone seems to have these perfect lives filled with perfect things and also endless amounts of money to enable the perfect life in the first place! I definitely don’t have any of that, so I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. Maybe you should consider taking a few weeks off reading other people’s blogs and just sort of examine your own life and write down the things that make you happy. But yeah. I definitely know exactly what you mean – there’s a lot of pressure from everywhere to be a certain way and to do certain things. You are not alone!

    1. Oh sorry, I think you really misunderstood my meaning. I’m not comparing myself to others AT ALL, in fact, if someone was doing something that resonated with me, it would be a relief! I’d love to read a blog of someone following a life path that seemed really right to me, and for me. But I haven’t seen that, and what I meant by saying that people on blogs seem to be chugging along was really to ask if others had overcome this hurdle or felt the same, since I hadn’t seen the sentiment reflected anywhere recently.

  11. I was having a fit of depression (mine comes in fits) a few years ago and had just read Running with Scissors and remembered their “bible dipping” but didn’t really feel like turning to that source. I pulled out the bhagavadgita and found this: …well ok, of course I can’t find it again. But the gist was that being so passionate about any 1 part of your life that it consumes your life is not really “good.” Balance among all the parts is what we should strive for. It really made me feel pretty decent about the hours I spend at a job I don’t really care a whole lot about. It doesn’t make me miserable, it provides me with the things I need to live happily and that’s good enough.

    The other thing that comes to mind is a curlygirldesign card that’s been on my fridge for eons. It has the quote “One of the hardest things to realize,” she said, “is that our ‘someday’ is right now.” Kind of trite, but so true. I’ve found that it’s not the great life changes that help bring me out of depression, but just focusing daily on being happy where I am. That, and lexapro. :) Good luck, lady, from someone who hasn’t figured it all out but is desperately trying (and mostly managing) to be happy while I get “there.”

  12. Yes. I’ve totally been feeling the “What the heck am I doing with my life” itch for months now. And I’m not anywhere near the age where people expect you to have it all together… I think I just hate living with indecision and feeling like I’m on a career-treadmill I don’t want to be on (without any clear direction of how to get off, or where to go after… and apparently one doesn’t just quit grad school without knowing those things?)

    Anyway, thank you for posting this. It makes me feel less alone to know that others feel like this sometimes too.

  13. I keep thinking about that Sandra Bullock movie – I think it was called “Hope Floats” where she’s moping around and her mother says something like “Look at me. My life has no deep meaning or purpose and I’m happy!”

    Hmmmm.

    Maybe the pressure to have a definitive plan is enough to suck the soul right out of you. Even good plans are subject to change. You have to leave room for surprises too.

    1. Yup. Don’t need deep purpose or meaning, have enough of that.

      DO need sustainable way of life to pay the bills that doesn’t make me homicidal. That’s all I’m really looking for, right now.

  14. I came here looking for Clara Bow pics and, well.. your blog and this post truly sang to me: I like to truthjoke to new acquaintances that I’m a “Jill of all trades, mistress of some.” At 36, I’m transitioning jobs while watching my sisters have their first babies, something that tugs my heartstrings, while being nothing I desire for myself. I’ve now lived in 4 cities (New Orleans, Rotterdam, Brooklyn,LA), but the longer I’m out here in LA the more I’ve been missing the mountains of PA I grew up in. Lately I’ve been sating that a bit by cosseting my little balcony garden.

    ..although, as far as “feeling floundering and lost.” goes, at one point, you WERE half-contemplating putting on tea parties..and that DOES sound like a lovely way to pass the time! (Here? http://www.verhext.com/teacups-tidepools) If only it could gather lucre..that WOULD be a wondrously whimsical way of life!

    1. I do like tea parties! I would NOT be good at things like shop running or tea shop having, I’m a total beast with crowds & strangers. Maybe I come & set up tea parties for others in the dead of night & creep away…

      1. heh..I’m actually pretty sure that’s exactly how Martha Stewart got her start– she’d sneakily cater people’s dinner parties, showing up with all of the food and running away, allowing women to pretend they’d cooked it on their lonesome!

  15. Yeah unfortunately the pressure doesn’t stop once you find the thing you feel like you’re *meant* to do and actually make a living off it, if that thing is not exactly a money-maker. I’m a full-time freelance writer and I *love* what I do, but now that I’m on the other side – as opposed to working a job I hate and just dreaming about being a writer – I’m living the reality of “Oh, right, this is not exactly a low-stress job.” Barely squeaking by sucks. Especially when as a freelancer you owe mega taxes! So now I’m struggling toward a point of semi-comfort instead of treading water. Hopefully it will come, some day.

  16. I’ll add another me too to the pile. I’ll be 34 in a couple of months and have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. I have a great job, that’s stable, and that pays well, but bleh. And because the job pays all of our bills at the moment, I don’t feel free enough to leave and figure that what so here I am, in my cubicle. The bitter part is, I chose tech, I just had this idealized 90s idea in my head of what that would be and it has SO not been that.

  17. I think it’s normal — I feel the same fuzziness though I’m learning to let go of the expectations I’ve allowed to trickle in. I’m starting to look at my life as a series of funny little detours and I expect they’ll come together sensibly, somehow, in the end. I think the pressure to make Big Life Decisions is excruciating and only leads to paralysis – I think they tend to happen slowly or accidentally. I keep telling myself that I am not my mother, that the baby boom generation is the exception, not the rule. By age 27 my mother had a husband, a house, a car, a baby, and a career. I’m turning 30 soon and I have none of these things, no plans, only a desire to accumulate experience. I look at my grandmother and my great-grandmother as models – their lives were full of twists and turns. They made art and worked random odd jobs all their lives. Some of my great-aunts never married or had any children; some lived with their parents well into their thirties. I don’t think there’s anything shameful about living a seemingly formless life – I think, by the end, all lives acquire a shape and substance entirely their own.

    1. I wish we could just sit and talk and drink tea. I’ve been thinking so much about “success”, and yes. Formless and edgeless seems to be where my thoughts are leading – so formless that the substance is actually everything. Does that make ANY sense?

      You have magic flowing through your fingertips at all times. So much luckier than a car or a career.

  18. I actually spent a long time last night journaling about my next steps. I’m both lost and scared. I don’t love where I am, but I don’t know what I want. I’m itching for something new, for a different sort of growth, but I’m lost as to what it might look like. And I’m possibly scared of the sacrifices (financial) that my heart might lead me to (creative). And I’m also scared of falling entirely on my face and failing if I veer off into something new. I like my current financial security and the idea of stability as I head into potential baby-having times. But I feel stagnant, personally, which is a bad way to head into babyland.

    I’m rambling, because I relate. It’s exhausting and I want to curl into our new domestic bliss and cover my ears and eyes. But he’s rushing full steam ahead on life goals while I’m left wondering what mine should be.

  19. Everyone else has already said so many wonderful things that I can’t add to. But I wanted to say I love this post. Seeing people go through similar experiences/thoughts gives me strength to tackle my own.

  20. I know exactly what you mean. I’m 24 years old and going through this bizarre identity crisis where I suddenly don’t know if I want the things that I used to want. I don’t know if I want to be a teacher. I don’t know if I want to have a job-job. Maybe I want to just be a stay-at-home mom and take pictures and make gluten-free baked goods. Is that okay? Can I do that? I also want to live in New York City and New Orleans – sort of at the same time – and travel the world, get married, have babies (or baby) and just generally be fabulous.

    I had this life map and now I’m off the path and it feels awful. I’ve been crying about it for weeks. I’m so unhappy about my life and I have no idea how to change it for the better.

    Each year I get closer to thirty without having some sort of PLAN, my heart aches a little more.

      1. I’m glad you’ve made some headway on it! Or any sort of motion.

        My mother asked me if I was in retrograde today and when I said yes, she said that it was okay, sometimes planets do that. On one level, I agree…on the other, I want to be the sun and just shine, baby. Not there. Terrified I’ll never shine!

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