The Universe tends to sling the same message at me, over and over, from every possible angle, until I get it. Lately, the message has come in a professional context, about how to earn a living from meaningful and satisfying work, from folks like Chris Guillebeau:
The key is that you can’t be passionate about just anything; instead you need to be passionate about something that other people are willing to spend money on.
That makes perfect sense to me. But it only poses a question, really: What am I passionate about that people would be willing to spend money on?
I’ve heard this message so many times that it begins to piss me off. This is how my relationship with the Universe goes: it sends messages, I tell it yes but don’t do anything, so it sends them again, and I ignore them or put them off, so it re-sends with some pain or something, and I complain, then more pain, more complaining, and then the distraction with projects and various forms of “busy-ness.” Then the Universe makes all of those things fall apart because they are Wrong.
Or I medicate the pain, until that doesn’t work anymore. (Once I figure that out, the recovery process begins.)
I just don’t know what the first step is. So I am going to ask you. Whoever you are. I’m asking everybody, starting now.
What do you think “my gift” is? What do I do, or care about, or know about, that you would be willing to spend money on?
I do have some ideas:
- Trips, either hiking or to places like Italy. Or hiking and eating in Italy. Or to soccer games in England, for example.
- Travel stories.
- Books about breakfast. Or books about stuff like Portland’s Heritage Trees. Or a dozen other book ideas I have, including about …
- Sharing my recovery ideas, such as they are.
Who knows what else might be out there?
What do you think? I’m kind of torn up here.
Paul, it’s brave of you to throw your question into the universe and see what comes back! I admire that. Do you have a writer’s group? You are writing your blog, that’s good. Maybe volunteer at some of the things you’re interested in until *the* idea hits you. Work with others in recovery, volunteer with the heritage trees group, etc. Sometimes we find ourselves in helping others. Looks like you’ve practically already written a travel book about Portland and surrounds. All best to you!
Thanks, Sandra. And hello to a fellow writer! “Sometimes we find ourselves in helping others” is a great reminder. it’s not about the world doing something for me, after all. What I’m trying to do is ask, collectively, everybody: What can I do for you? Your response has helped.
Paul, I wish I had an answer for you. I lost my wife to cancer almost 4 years ago. It was very difficult for me to live life as a single person again. I’ve been trying to rediscover who I am ever since her death. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do or who I’m supposed to be. I’m 43 years old and don’t have a clue.
I’m planning a hike in less than a month from Olallie lake to Cascade Locks via the PCT. Perhaps when I return I’ll have some answers. My wife’s ashes are coming along with me. Leaving part of her behind may be my best way to move forward, to reinvent myself. I’ll let you know.
Thanks for sharing this, Chris. Takes some guts to be vulnerable in public, even if it’s “just” online. I have found many answers while walking alone, and it’s something I try to do a few times a year. May your journey be helpful in many ways.
From a strictly hiking perspective, if you can afford a few more days, the next section south on the PCT — Santiam Pass to Olallie — is my second favorite in the state, after the Three Sisters. Highly recommended.
Thank you for your response, Paul, and for the elevation profile you sent me in the past. If I had more vacation time, I’d try Santiam Pass as well. Next year I plan to start a bit further south than that, the California border.
My wife used to say that I was put on earth to help people. To what extent, she wasn’t sure, but that my qualities as a listener, combined with my first hand knowledge of abuse had something to do with it.
I started writing after her death. What started out as emails to loved ones and friends on her current condition while alive, turned into my way of coping after she died. Page after page of my state of mind, my torment, my pain…turned into something I thought others may benefit from. Sometimes knowing that someone else has “been there” helps to get through the tough times. I realized that I was doing many things again on my own for the first time. From grocery shopping to laundry to cooking for one to going through the holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries by myself were new to me again. Aptly named “A Season of Firsts” is still a work in progress, but perhaps a way of helping someone else through their own grief when losing someone they chose to be with for the rest of their lives.
Sometimes all I can do is keep going, keep writing, and keep trying to help.
[…] few days back, I asked folks “What can I do for you, professionally speaking.” And got some interesting responses, both here and on Facebook. After kicking it around […]