When my kids went off to college, I found that of course I missed them, but I missed myself more. For two decades there’d been a steady routine of food prep, carpool, scheduling activities, and managing many details- but it was all based around other people’s needs and chosen activities. While I don’t regret any of it, I also recognized the need to focus on my own desires. But what did I want next for myself?
Here are 6 ways to discover your true callings:
1. Schedule a fun adventure. There’s nothing like an adventure to help you learn about yourself. This could be a day trip to a neighboring town, your dream vacation, or you might even surprise yourself and head off on a really big, wild adventure. Stay open and let your heart guide the way. I went on an African safari and ran with the wolves!
2. Set and conquer new goals. What dreams have you set aside? Have you always wanted to learn French? Or take a class on woodworking? I surprised myself by diving into horticultural studies, animal communication and collecting wildlife bones. Take a look at organizations like MeetUp, which can introduce you to groups doing things you may never have thought of, right in your own neighborhood.
3. Play like a kid. Making time to play and create just for the sheer pleasure of it is a healthy way to nourish and learn about your authentic self. Get out some colored pens, crayons or paints. See what wants to come forth through your art. Anything that makes you feel light-hearted and playful is good for you, because it will help you revive your genuine nature, which can lead you to new meaningful chapters in your life.
4. Get out into nature. Spending time in nature is healing, because it opens us up and connects us to something universal that is greater than our daily routines. By tuning into nature’s cycles, seasons and rhythms, it can help you move through your transition. Likewise, by enjoying the quiet stillness in nature, you can find your authentic inner voice. Listen and observe. Let the nature–inside and outside of you—guide you along new paths, leading you to greater fulfillment.
5. Move your body. Physical exercise will not only help boost endorphins and other feel-good chemicals, it can help you get out of your own head enough to allow your unconscious to speak to you. Try new forms of exercise, because every time you get out of your comfort zone you’re expanding your body, mind and potentials.
6. Connect with the community and volunteer. Giving back to your community through local charities can be a very rewarding experience. It can also introduce you to new people and interests that will guide you on your new path. What causes have you always been drawn to? Perhaps you have special gifts and talents to share, or an idea for how to creatively assist your favorite cause or assuage a collective problem. Now is a wonderful time to join in and help make a difference.
These are just some ideas of how to find guidance when you’re unsure what should come next in your life. Honor yourself with repose and reflection before stepping into the mystery of a new phase in life. This is a potent time. Listen to your inner voice. Be creative, bold, child-like, spontaneous and free. Reconnect with your authentic self and all of those new adventures awaiting you.