An early mid-life crisis
A recent comment asked where my husband is on all this. I actually had already started on this post, which I think answers the question. The short story is that he's as excited about all of this as I am, and he's probably farther ahead than I am since he already believed in God to begin with (in fact, I don't think he's never doubted).
I think my husband and I are going through an early mid-life crisis. Luckily it's not the sort of crisis that involves man-ponytails and red sports cars. Quite the opposite, actually.
Ever since we started really getting into Catholicism in early December a strange thing has been happening with us. We've been re-evaluating everything. Everything. What we wanted to do with our life used to be so clear, and suddenly it's not at all. It's such an overwhelming, nebulous feeling that I'm not sure if I'll be able to clearly explain it, but here's a try. First, a bit of history.
- When we were first married we were focused on getting rich. We didn't think of it or talk about it that way, but that was the intention. My husband got his MBA from a top school during the economic boom and practically all his friends had huge salaries, so we just sort of assumed we'd end up there too. The industry track he was on would have meant tons of travel for him and very long hours at the office, but being able to have enough money to retire early made the path appealing.
- That grew old really quickly. We realized that we didn't want to be part of the corporate machine anymore and wanted to do something more fulfilling. We started our own business about a year and a half ago. It seemed perfect because it's the sort of business where we'd be able to help people with their problems yet probably make good money in the long-run. We were sure that this is what we'd do for the rest of our lives.
But now that we're actually in the trenches we see that a) we're not helping people as much as we thought we would, b) the ability to bring in a stable income that will reliably cover just our basic bills is farther in the future than we thought, probably two more years or so and, most importantly, c) it's very difficult to combine making a difference in the world with your career, especially when you have a family -- no matter how low your monthly expenses, you have to be focused on bringing home X amount each month in order to avoid ending up on the street.
- That brings us to now. We both feel a very strong pull to something...more important. I'm not sure how to articulate it other than to say we feel drawn to do God's work, or to follow his plan for our lives, or something like that. Meanwhile, we're tired of being obsessed with money. We used to be obsessed with money for the sake of having a lot of it, now we're obsessed with money because sometimes we have trouble paying our basic bills if the business is having a slow month. (Also, as small business owners we don't have insurance that covers pregnancy so we're hit with a ton of new expenses there as well.)
So what now? I think it's safe to say that we're literally considering everything. Should my husband go get a regular job? Should he go get a 9 - 5 government job so that we can use our newfound free time (he currently works 6am - 8pm) to work on things that matter? Should we push forward with our business and stick it out until we have a steady income, meanwhile making an effort to truly help people more?
So here are my questions: How are you supposed to balance paying the bills with making a difference in the world? Also, how do you figure out what God wants you to do with your life? I have the Purpose Driven Life and have scanned it, but it didn't really grab me. I suppose I should give it another try though.
We both feel that we're a) being strongly pulled to do something and b) are currently on the wrong path, and we don't know where to go from here.
I'm sure that if any one commenter out there had all the answers to this age-old dilemma he or she would be an internationally famous life coach/guru, but give it a shot. If anyone has any thoughts, even if they're incomplete, on what we should do from here, where we should turn for guidance, etc. I'd love to hear them.