I Feel Lost Right Now

I just typed in "I don't know what to do with my life" in google and this site popped up.  Not sure where to begin.  About 4 1/2 years ago I had a pretty good job.  I was 28 y/o, had 2 kids, married for about 9 years to my highschool sweetheart, and I was making around 40,000 a year.  But I was bored, the money was good, but it didn't go very far as my wife was a stay at home mom.

I have always felt that I was destined, maybe not for greatness, but at least something that was good and noble and maybe a little prestiges.  The work I was doing was related to civil engineering and I was taking the prerequiste classes at a community college to eventually go into engineering.  But after working there for about 7 years I just couldn't see myself doing that job for the rest of my life.

I finally got up the courage with help from my wife to quit and go to college full-time.  I would get a part-time job, she would get a full-time job, and get loans to cover the rest.  I did some research and decided on becoming a x-ray tech.  After 2 months into a 2 year program, me and my wife got a divorce (not my choice).  I finished up with  an liberal arts degree and a x-ray tech degree.

I got remarried soon after graduation to a wonderful young woman, in fact we met in the x-ray program.  I decided to stay in college and get my bachelors degree in nuclear medicine technology.  I thought that would make me happy.  I always wanted a bachelors degree.  I figured that would be the end of my self doubt.  Get some degrees, get a nice job, and get on with my life.  But the nuclear medicine program was not that fun or enticing to me once I got started.  I made it through the program, but I hated it more each day.  I started to get depressed.  I just kept thinking, if I can just make it through the program, I'll make good money and everything will be fine.

Well, right before I graduated with my bachelors the economy took a hit.  Nuclear medicine departments aren't that big anyways, and no one was hiring.  The truth is, by that point I was pretty depressed.  I was clinically diagnosed with depression for about the last 7-8 months.  I looked for a job a little, but I just wasn't motivated at all.  My wife has a good job and she has been supporting me for the last 2 1/2 years (I do have a part time job as an x-ray tech).  I have gradually gotten better and now I have weaned myself off the depression medicine just in the last week or so.

The problem is, I still don't know what I want out of life.  When I was younger, I always dreamed of going to medical school, but there is know way I could go back to school for that long.  I tgought about going to Physician Assistant school, but that is a lot of monay and 30 months of commitment.  I kind of like the idea of getting into hospital management.  That would allow my to make more money and I would feel like I have actually accomplished something with my life.

I'm sorry this post is so long.  Nobody really knows how I feel.  I does feel good to just write all my feelings down for once.  My wife has been great through my schooling, depression, and helping keep us afloat with the bills.  But I know I should be working full-time, I just want to be happy with my life.  Or at the very least know that I'm working toward that end.

ggonzoe ggonzoe
31-35, M
2 Responses Feb 25, 2010

Hi, <br />
<br />
I stumbled upon this website in the same way that you did! <br />
<br />
When I read your post I felt confused in terms of what you though would bring you happiness...When I first started reading it seemed like it was about finding something fulfilling, doing something that you love and would make you happy. It didn't seem to be about money as you even quit your job, although you did mention that you felt like you were meant to do something more prestigious. Then as your post progressed it seemed like your career aspirations had to do more with external rewards (i.e. doing something that's valued in the society and making more money) then doing something that made you happy...You knew that you weren't enjoying your bachelors degree but you did it anyway because you thought that having a bachelors degree would be a reward in and of itself...<br />
<br />
I can understand how you feel. I struggle with body image issues and I always feel like if I'm at a certain weight I will be happy and my life will make sense. So far it hasn't worked out that way, because even when I lose weight I still tend to feel all the insecurities and anxieties that I feel otherwise. I think a lot of people make the mistake of thinking if they look a certain way or have a certain career that society currently judges as valuable they will be happy...but in my experience that's not true. I think true happiness comes from living a genuine experience meaning being true to yourself and doing/behaving/living things that feel right deep down whether or not they are according to the norm. <br />
<br />
I get the feeling you try to find yourself and your happiness through career...So it seems like this need to change professions is almost a bit compulsive....if only its the right one you will be happy. However, if you are starting a new career or course of studies in order to fulfill some kind of internal emptiness and give your life meaning, no career will ever meet the expectation you have of it. After all a job is just a job with its ups and downs...and just like the economy took a turn for the worse after your graduation, we can all always be laid off... what then? <br />
<br />
Good luck :)

Dear ggonzoe,<br />
<br />
I am sorry that you are feeling the way you are; it seems that at some point you were quite determined and had some idea with what you wanted to do, even if that wasn't related to civil engineering.<br />
<br />
You have been to college and done some good things; opened up new horizons and made a new start in love. <br />
<br />
I believe that as humans we constantly doubt ourselves and questioning where our lives are headed; however, you have some good thoughts and possibilities in mind and that is a start. <br />
<br />
You should be proud that you have had the courage to change career and direction part way through your life and that you still have a desire to want to achieve something. <br />
<br />
Have you considered making a list of things you want out of life and out of your future career; how you are going to achieve this and what are the pro's and con's. Speak with you partner and look at whether you can get advice from a careers counsellor. Maybe you could take up some volunteer work or some shadowing in the areas you find interested, and this will give you an idea of what you like and what you don't. <br />
<br />
There is a clear science element in your work and education, and this could be used in a very constructive way; a management role may give you focus and something to deliver on; this may increase your level of satisfaction and drive. <br />
<br />
Having been to a seminar today on well-being and work; work is inherently good for us; it keeps us occupied and stimulates our minds so that we don't have those long voids. <br />
<br />
You seem to be doing well in-terms of you mental well-being, however, rather than medication, have you thought about seeking counselling or some form of cognitive behavioural therapy, to make you understand why you feel the way you feel? This may not be what you want, but there is usually a lot of support out there and available. <br />
<br />
Whatever you do, there appears to be some very positive statements in your post, so use these to your advantage.<br />
<br />
All the best and good luck!!<br />
<br />
Dreamz01