I almost thought I was cured.
I came back from an amazing two months of cycling across Europe and I finally felt content.
I was happy just recovering from the after-pains, relaxing and reading a book, watching my crappy reality television shows.
I found pleasure cooking for myself and for my family at home after two months of eating at restaurants.
I was enjoying testing out my general fitness by going back to the gym and by trying to run again. I discovered that I had great lower body strength, I ran 5km faster than I ever had before, my cardio was going strong, but I have zero upper body strength, my hamstrings aren’t stretching the way they used to, my knees make crunching sounds whenever I go up stairs, and I feel lots of pain all over my body after a normal workout at the gym.
I’ve been back for 19 days. It’s only been 19 days. And I feel – again – that something significant is missing from my life.
I need purpose. I need a project. I need to be doing something. But not just anything. I need something I can be passionate about again.
Is it unemployment that is making me feel this way? I have had jobs that have kept me feeling extremely fulfilled. I have also had at least one job that had me not wanting to wake up in the morning. I don’t think it is having work per se that gives me that sense of fulfillment. Rather, it is the feeling that I am doing something I love.
I know what I love. I love writing. I love travelling. I love eating good food. I love observing people and listening to them. I love helping people solve their problems.
But I can’t think of a writing project that can keep me inspired for long.
Travelling requires money and leaving behind obligations so I can’t do it constantly.
It’s Ramadan now, so I’m fasting, and although I enjoy cooking I definitely do not want to have a cooking project. I’d rather eat good food than cook it.
I’m stuck in middle-of-nowhere England where I have no friends to listen to. Sitting on a park bench in middle-of-nowhere England to observe people is fun when done every now and then but I’m not going to turn it into an every day activity.
Solving people’s problems needs people to get in touch with me for help. That actually does happen every now and then. And it is the greatest feeling in the world to be able to lend someone a listening ear even when I might not have solutions to their problems. I’d open a virtual problem-solving office for people if I had any real expertise in that area. But I don’t. All I have is good intentions.
There are some things I could do.
I could learn a new language. I’d rather learn one by spending a few months where they speak that language so I can enjoy using it in everyday life.
I could finally take classes in Kung Fu; something I’ve fantasized about since I was a child. I’d rather learn Kung Fu somewhere like China where I can live the experience.
I am definitely not getting any more degrees or certifications. I spent a ridiculous amount of my husband’s money to become a certified diving instructor, and before that a ridiculous amount of my own money to become certified enough to take diving instructor courses, and I have done absolutely nothing with that certification since. My excuse is that I’m in the UK and the water is just way too cold for me to enjoy teaching anyone how to scuba dive here. I already have a B.Sc. in medicine and an MA in journalism. Despite that, I am struggling to find work in the UK. So fuck degrees. Finding a suitable job is actually about your connections. And yes. I am just a little bit bitter because I feel I am highly skilled but incapable of finding work I would actually want to do for a salary I would actually feel is worth my time.
My husband tells me that my problem is that I only want to do what I enjoy. My response is that I would rather be poor and jobless than rich but in a job that does not fulfill me.
Am I spoiled? Lazy? Depressed? Crazy? Weird? Unique?
I want to be back cycling on the road again. I don’t want to go out for a two-hour ride. I find the thought of that incredibly boring. I want another adventure. I want to start out from somewhere in the morning, not sure where I’ll end up in the evening. I want to push myself and to test my limits of endurance. I want to see and to experience new things. I want that feeling of extreme anxiety over the unknown.
How do I reconcile myself with this incredibly difficult personality I have? What do I need to do to be able to go through the motions of “normal life” in the time between my great adventures?
How do I figure out what this thing is that is missing that I so long to find?