What’s It All About?

Dream Big by rubberpaw on Flickr!A few days ago, I had a long email exchange with a friend of mine, who seemed genuinely surprised that I had walked away from my previous career and committed to writing The Simple Dollar (and similar things) full time.

I truly enjoyed many aspects of my previous job. That job gave me some seriously stressful moments, but it also gave me a ton of room for exploration and personal growth, and the challenges were always diverse and interesting and the people I worked with were spectacular – I still talk to many of them.

Yet I walked away from it. Why?

On the surface, it’s easy to just point at my family and say that they were the reason I made this difficult choice. Undoubtedly, the ability to spend more time with my children played into that decision. During the period of time when I was maintaining The Simple Dollar and working full time at my previous job, I felt like I had very little time at all to spare.

But after several months, I’ve come to believe my reason for changing gears was something else entirely.

Ever since I was a very little boy, I’ve dreamed about being a writer. I loved the idea of putting words down on paper – constructing sentences and paragraphs and chapters – and having it mean something. My dearest dream for many, many years was to write a “Great American Novel” – one that genuinely touched the lives of many of the people that read it.

I spent much of my late childhood and early adulthood digging deep into those “books that changed the world” – titles like Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.

But, after some flailing attempts at getting stories published and a few bouts of serious disillusionment, I came to accept that this dream of writing something profound was not going to happen. I chose a different career path – one that latched on to some of my other talents – and went with it.

All along the way, though, I kept feeling like there was something big missing from everything I was doing. I could never put my finger on it, but I could sense it at times. I’d feel it when I’d help out a friend. I’d feel it when I had an opportunity to explain something and then see that brightening in the other person’s face as they understood it.

Eventually, I came to believe that there was something I was supposed to be doing with my life. I just didn’t know what it was yet.

This is the important part of the story, I think. Whenever I have a conversation with friends or with readers, I often find that people have an innate sense that there is some purpose they have in life, but often they haven’t quite figured out what that purpose is yet. And they’re flailing. They’re following a path that they think they should be following, but often it’s not the path that leads them towards what they know they should be doing.

Eventually, this sense led me to trying many different things in my life. I started volunteering more, and now I serve on a community group that keeps me very busy with volunteer work. I had children, and they provide a constant opportunity for me to teach and interact.

And I turned back to writing. The internet provided me with plenty of opportunity to work on my writing, and I tried several different things over the years – contributing articles to a fledgling competitor to Wikipedia, starting a few different blogs, selling a few pieces of writing, and other things.

Eventually, the pieces fell together with The Simple Dollar. I’m compelled almost every day to write a hefty dose of words, for starters. More importantly, though, the words help people. I’m not merely writing for the sake of tossing out words – the words are sticking somewhere.

I don’t know if The Simple Dollar is what my “mission” in life is, but in many ways it feels far closer than anything else I’ve ever done in my life. I would have never found it, either, if I had given up the search and been content with my career path. I’m not done searching, either – there are new directions and new ideas and new things that I feel compelled to try.

I do know this much: I feel called to communicate and connect with people via writing, to use that writing to share what I’ve learned and encourage others to grow in what they know. I also believe that everyone has some sort of calling within them – some people find it, some people spend their life searching for it, and others simply give up the search and stay content with their lot in life.

Here’s another profound thought: I think that many people who have given up the search for what they’re meant to do are hurt by it, and they cover up that hurt through buying things. An upper middle class lifestyle offers enough material comfort to cover up for many, many little internal challenges, after all.

What can you take out of this story? Don’t give up on your dreams. If there’s something inside of you that pokes at you regularly, telling you that you should be doing something different in your life, don’t ignore it. Explore it. Use your spare time to find what that little voice is telling you and chase it hard. Don’t let your own doubts or the doubts of the people around you hold you back.

Let me know if I’m way out in left field with this one. Do you sometimes feel a sense within you that you have a mission in life, too? Have you found that mission? Or am I just drawing conclusions without warrant? Let the discussion flow in the comments.

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51 thoughts on “What’s It All About?

  1. Nancy says:

    Great Post!! I too feel a call to do something more in my life. Working in a financial institution I am able to fulfill it partially but not completely. More often than not I feel I have a mission to teach people how to better handle their finances, especially teen agers. I currently have to work with adults that are not money managers and possibly never will be for one reason or another. I feel very driven to teach young folks how to avoid the big mistakes. I read your blog every day and have learn so much. I too spend a lot of time reading financial materials and will soon be doing more volunteer work to help disadvantaged folks by leading a class in basic finance and preparing taxs through the VITA program.

    Keep up the good work. There are many more out there in need of help!

  2. Lorie says:

    WOW! I sometimes wonder if I am the only one who feels this way! I have this drive in me to accomplish so many things. Where do I begin?? I am in my early thirties and FINALLY going to college full time and holding down a full time job along with three crazy boys and one wonderful man. It is that same wonderful man who told me to never ‘settle’ for anything in life. It’s nice to see that there are others chasing a dream that many don’t understand. Safe is boring and who wants to be boring? Not me!

    You have really helped me out so keep up the great work!! Good luck in all your future quests.

  3. Rachel says:

    “Here’s another profound thought: I think that many people who have given up the search for what they’re meant to do are hurt by it, and they cover up that hurt through buying things.”

    ^Wow. That hurt to read, because it’s true. I once had aspirations to be a self-supporting songwriter, but after I got my degree, I did what I had to do instead of what I wanted to do–in order to support myself and get out of debt, I took a job in a field not even remotely related to music or writing and now I feel like little pieces of myself are being chipped away every day at a job that does not fulfill me, even if it does have great benefits. How great can benefits be if they don’t actually benefit you where it matters to you most? And yet, I have to make decent money to pay back all my debt, so that is why I come here every day–to keep my head in the game even though my heart is a million miles away.

  4. quatrefoil says:

    I think you’re spot on. I have a mission to be an academic and to write and teach about textiles. The path hasn’t been easy, and I’m trying to fit my academic work around a very demanding day job – the issue is of course money. I’m very inspired by your decision, and I’m hoping to learn enough to achieve the Financial independence to follow my dreams.

  5. Ryan McLean says:

    It is my dream also to become a writer. Truthfully I want to write my own books one day. I want to write books on finances and christianity. However, at the moment I would prefer to write anything than to work in the sales assistant job I was doing at a chemist. So I am doing freelance writing and I am writing A LOT each day. But I am earning a full time wage doing it and I am super excited.
    I won’t give up on my dreams

  6. Amber says:

    I read almost every single one of your posts (I’m an RSS subscriber) and I have never commented before. This post is particularly moving and I have to say that I completely agree with you.
    I majored in something I was interested in but didn’t drive me and now I use that degree in my career but it’s not exciting or motivating and I have to work myself up for nearly every assignment.
    But I’m moving on and I’m going after what I call the “astronaut” job – the job I always wanted but never thought could be. Even if it takes a long time or even if I change my mind along the way, it helps a great deal to know I’m headed somewhere.

  7. Dawn says:

    I’m making some career changes in my life as well. Slow changes, I don’t see “big” steps happening in a few years, but right now I am working a little at a time to expand my knowledge and research my chosen career. The difference between that and my “day” job? It is fun! I find myself enjoying the work – I am passionate about it. That’s something I just don’t have at the 9-5.

  8. Johanna says:

    Although I really enjoy my job as a science writer, I haven’t had the same lifelong yearning for writing that you (Trent) have. Mostly, what I find fulfilling about my job is the same thing I found fulfilling about being in school: I get to learn about a lot of different things, without getting too bogged down in any particular one of them (as I did when I was doing research, which I hated). But you can only get paid to go to school for so long.

    Come to think of it, I *have* had a dream from a fairly young age of being a singer. I used to assume I just didn’t have the talent for it, since choir directors and such were never all that impressed with me. But now I’m thinking that maybe I do, since I found a genre that suits my voice (folk music I can sing, opera not so much) and hooked up with a local song circle where people seem to enjoy listening to me.

    I don’t think I’d enjoy the life of a full-time professional touring performer, but I’m starting to really feel a calling to pursue this as a somewhat more serious amateur. But I’m not sure what to do next. Take voice lessons? Go to open mikes? (I went to one once, and made a fool out of myself, since I’m not used to singing with a microphone.) Cobble together some home recordings and set them adrift on the internet?

  9. Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy says:

    Wow, two lines really hit me in this one:

    “Eventually, this sense led me to trying many different things in my life.” – This is something I wish more people wouild do in life. Too many people settle for one path when they’re young and end up being disappointed by it, but never have the courage to try anything else.

    “An upper middle class lifestyle offers enough material comfort to cover up for many, many little internal challenges, after all.” – Now that I think about it, that is SO convincing.

    Wonderful insights Trent!

  10. Catana says:

    That’s an amazing post. It hits so close to home. I spent my entire childhood and adolescence planning to be a great novelist or poet. In spite of years of writing articles and blog posts on the web, it’s taken until very recently for me to get it through my head that my talents are analysis and explanation, not characters and plots. I’m still not sure if there’s a specific “something” that I should be doing, but I know that my writing is part of it.

  11. Kevin says:

    Living the dream and making a living doing it – well done Trent.

    I have a question though – how do you find time to have a full-time job (TSD) and volunteer and raise kids. I sometimes feel guilty that any time away from my son (other than working enough to provide a comfortable living) is short-changing him and my wife.

  12. Greg says:

    The place where you say, “Don’t give up on your dreams.” resonates with me. It reminds me of Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture’s central message. Keep up the good work.

  13. Rob Dyson says:

    I certainly do believe that we each have a desire within in us, or a calling, towards a certain ‘occupation’ or ‘career’. Sadly, most people spend a huge chunk of their life in an unfulfilling and unappealling job. This is such a waste of time and talent. I am happy in my job and feel like this is where I am supposed to be. Though making good money is nice, my main concern for my kids is that they find their life-work that is pleasing and fulfilling to them.

  14. mycyberfriend says:

    How ironic is the timing of your article. I recently started listening to the audio book “The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream” by Paulo Coelho (it was offered for free from iTunes a while back). I am about two thirds of the way through it and am very impressed.

    I strongly suggest that anyone interested in this topic read this story (or listen to the audio book).

    About the book, originally published in 1988 in Greece, it holds the guinness world record for being translated into the most languages (61) and has sold more than 65 million copies in more than 150 countries, becoming one of the best-selling books in history.

  15. And look at you Trent
    Your childhood dream of writing something profound happened.
    And we’re all the better for it

    much continued success and luck

  16. Jennifer A says:

    This also hits close to home for me… Over the past 2 years, I have quit a corporate job, started a business (that failed), changed careers, joined a non-profit, then back again to the corporate job I previously quit… All this to pursue the dream of finding that passion/purpose. I have been looking and have experimented a lot and now that I have still not figured it out, I have come back to the job that I know best so I can regroup and reorganize my thoughts on this whole process. It also allows me to have a high-paying job again and recoup the financial losses I have sustained in my “experiments”.

    I hope, for my (and everyone’s) sanity’s sake, I find my purpose as I cannot sustain my current career for the next 30 years!

    Thank you for this post and for the encouragement to not stop looking for our purpose.

  17. Thomas says:

    Totally agree.

    I still have this hankering to go back to the TV world or to work in a company that helps the broadcasting companies make sense of all the new technologies out there and how they can profit from it.

    But I’m slowly realizing that I’m taking baby steps along the way, honing my analytical and communication skills so I can reach my eventual goal(s). For instance, I did work as a Research Analyst in a cable network a few years ago, researched new cable and chip technologies for a high tech company and examine the high tech industry for a government department. A lot of positives in addition to the other job I’m doing…I wish more investment advisers would read your column/recommend their clients to your blog…

  18. Wonderful post. It’s easy to feel that you need to change your life’s direction, but it’s so much more difficult to actually make the necessary moves.

    I’m in the process of making those moves. While it may be another year or two before they’re completed, your words echo my own thoughts on following my dreams.

  19. Jessica says:

    When I was in high school, I had the (read: amazing) opportunity to study abroad twice in Japan for 3 weeks and then for 4 months, because my high school had a sister-school exchange program that my Japanese teacher set up. My dream is to someday set up and manage programs like that in other high schools, and hopefully the one I went to as well. I’d love to do everything from finding new schools in Japan willing to get sister schools and pairing them with schools here, to setting the participate criteria, helping teachers choose students, and holding the informational meetings.

    I really hope I am able to someday, but I am at a loss as to how I would make any income doing that. Doing what you like is important, but some source of income is important of course too. :(

  20. Lenore says:

    Trent, I have a slightly off-topic question. Now that you’re a stay-at-home Dad, what percentage of the housework would you estimate you do? Now ask your wife what percentage she thinks she does. Is there much of a disparity between your perceptions? I’ve often read that in households where both partners work outside the home, the woman still does the majority of the housework. I remember you mentioning that your wife is a bit of a hoarder because I have that tendency too, so I know some of your housekeeping consists of trying to clear out the clutter. How’s it going?

  21. HappyGal says:

    Trent – thank you for this issue. Your article speaks to me as I recently made a job change leaving a secure government job to be more of who I know I can be and contribute more. Like you I enjoyed my previous job, loved the people-still keep in touch- and am glad I was able to do it. And I’m also enjoying this latest foray and will probably make changes in future.

    I say, never give up and always move toward becoming who you know you can be.

  22. Lori says:

    This one really impacted me and inspired me to find what my path is in life. I am the one you mentioned that knows there is a yearning, a love of something inside that I cannot seem to completely grasp. While I know what some of my interests and talents are, I am also a very introverted, sensitive and almost reclusive person and have ventured into things that stimulate one part of me, yet become too painful due to the amount of social skill and interaction involved. Your passion comes through in your writing Eric. One can feel your desire for helping others in every posting. Thank you for a well-timed article!

  23. Laura says:

    It’s funny that you posted this today, because this morning I found myself using that exact word — flailing — to describe the way I’ve been feeling for the last two weeks. I feel trapped in the same batch of endless, meaningless tasks at work and at home; I’m having trouble motivating myself to work on my blogs, poertry, novel, fiction stories or other creative projects; I feel like the bulk of my time and energy is going toward things that are getting me nowhere near what I want. My dreams are to be a successful writer, to travel, to attain that shining goal of financial independence, and help my family members do the same. But I keep feeling like nothing I do is getting me away from point A and toward point B. I haven’t given up though — I feel that I have to keep trying to get there. Just every once in a while I get into a slump like this where it seems like everything is a dead end.

  24. Nate says:

    Great post Trent.

    “More importantly, though, the words help people. I’m not merely writing for the sake of tossing out words – the words are sticking somewhere.”

    It’s sticking with me that’s for sure. I’ve ridden TSD to a advantageous position in life.

    As always, Thank you Trent!

    -Nate

  25. Trent,

    What a lovely, well thought out piece.

    I also feel I have found my niche through writing about frugality. It is my passion, and I think it shows through.

    However, I also feel fulfilled by my day job, which is working as a labor and delivery nurse.

    I don’t think that over-consumption is wholly derived from a unhappiness of life’s purpose. It is so multi-focal — insecurity, anxiety, competitiveness, depression and living a life of going through the motions without self-analysis.

    We are at a unique point with the changes in the current economy. People are questioning their financial habits more than I can ever remember. There is a great opportunity to empower people to live within their means.

    I very much enjoy reading your blog, and invite you to come take a look through mine.

    Thanks,

    -Katy Wolk-Stanley
    The Non-Consumer Advocate
    “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

    http://thenonconsumeradvocate.wordpress.com

  26. This is all about living on your own terms.
    Cheers,
    A Dawn Journal
    http://www.adawnjournal.com

  27. Annie says:

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for posting this and all the articles on the Simple Dollar. Besides really enjoying your writing and your ‘voice,’ I also find this site very encouraging. I too feel like something is missing from my life. Stories like this are just the encouragement I need to keep searching!
    Thanks!

  28. s says:

    Hi Trent, Hey!!!I feel like I know you. I really liked this blog. It does hit home. I am a realtor
    and things are slow, but, I have learned that there are other things I like to do. I belong to
    a womans group. They enrich women and girls. We have raised $80,000 for a bus to take teenagers to the teen center and to sports ranch. We have done a lot for after school day care for little ones. I feel that this is important. My daughter was helping me too. She has done meals on wheels and sees the things that make her feel. I think my purpose is to help others. I know though that I need spirtuality in my life to feed my soul. I really like this because it makes think. I have
    some dreams that I hope will still come true. But, there is still time and a book still come about. Never give up on your dreams. Keep trying.
    At least you know you tried. Thank you for your insight.
    S.

  29. Julie says:

    Any tips out there on how to find your true calling? I have an interest in a broad variety of things, finance and staff management is my day job, property investment and my holiday apartment business I do on the side, beading is a hobby I dont get any time for but I still feel my true calling is eluding me. That feeling of satisfaction when you help another person is very fulfilling but I do wonder what I have to offer others. I’ll keep trying different things until I hit the right note but all advice is welcome. Thank you for raising the issue Trent.

  30. Kris says:

    Wow! This post hit me square between the eyes. I could have put my own name as the author…except that I still feel like a “sellout” with my dayjob. The path of least resistence has led to a career that pays well, and I enjoy, but still takes over my nights and weekends and leaves me feeling a little more empty each day. Not sure how to kick myself in the arse when I barely have time to breathe…but thanks for the reminder that I must find a way to prioritize and do this.

  31. moneyclip says:

    Is there ever a situation where following your dream turns out to be the worst decision you could ever have made? I’m keen on hearing stories like this too to sort of give balance to all this positivity. Of course, I said this with jest. When I look at a few folks who like Trent followed down the dream path, I see some success but I also see utter and complete failure.

    One person I know has been trying to become a pop musician for about 10 or 15 years. This person is well into his thirties and yet he continues to defy the odds of becoming a pop success by working part-time jobs and throwing all of his effort into pop music. But he hasn’t even landed a single gig, nothing. He hasn’t even recorded a demo tape or performed anywhere. Well, he has performed on the street but garnered little attention.

    When should a person call it quits on a main dream and focus on other ambitions?

  32. Jeremy says:

    I’m a teacher and I couldn’t help feeling the same way after I read your article. My students often ask me what I think they should pursue after high school. I tell them the quote that my dad told me, “Where your passion and the needs of the world intersect, there should be your profession.” I’m lucky enough to positively influence kids every day and make a living doing it. Write on, Trent!

  33. Alyson says:

    Trent, I know that feeling…that there is something special you are supposed to be doing. I was surprised to find it mentioned in the Bible (this is a paraphrase): Before the foundation of the world, God had in mind the good works that you were created to do.

    And I firmly believe that each person has a unique place to fill, which no one else can fit. I am thankful that you have found yours. As a single, disabled mom of six, I sure appreciate the suggestions and strategies that you share.

    What helps even more, though, is finding someone with the same mindset towards family and finances and “stuff”; it is just such an encouragement not to be doing the Lone Ranger thing on this. Bringing up my kids this way is out of synch with prevailing cultural values, and I appreciate the reassurance and reinforcement of a more frugal, more fun, more family-centered lifestyle.

    Thanks!
    A fellow Iowan…
    Alyson

  34. Chris says:

    I too must agree that this is an excellent post. Much like everyone else,I work my day job to make ends meet and receive benefits…but I also am going to school for my MBA and just started my website, BuildMyBudget.com, last week. It’s been an amazing struggle to find the balance between all these aspects of my life so I really appreciate the timeliness of this post and the encouragement. It’s much like “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho*..we each have our own Personal Legend..and it sounds like you have achieved yours.

  35. Shelly says:

    Wow – this is the first time I have visited your site, I just saw it on frugalhacks. Your post really hit home with me as I have taken a break from the corporate rat race with an extended maternity leave. Isn’t it amazing the things you discover about yourself when you have some time to think and just remember who you are, the things that you like to do, etc.. I can feel the same tuggings that you are talking about, I’m not quite sure what my calling is, but I feel like I’m getting closer. I’ve decided when I go back to work I will start saving – dedicate an Opportunity Fund for my break away from the rat race, when I figure out what I want to do with my time…

  36. piya says:

    You are doing a great job Trent.. I too want to help people lead fuller and satisfied lives.Off late I have been learning a lot on the net and I want to send the links to my friends,but I am not sure whether they would be interested, so I end up not sending them. what do you think I should do..?

  37. clashboard says:

    Wow… you’re definitely not in left field with this post, especially this line:

    “I often find that people have an innate sense that there is some purpose they have in life, but often they haven’t quite figured out what that purpose is yet. And they’re flailing.”

    I’ve been obsessed with cars since childhood and I knew that my career would be car related. Though I have an OK job in the auto industry, I still feel like I’m “flailing” at the end of the day, searching for my true purpose in life.

    Your post comes at a time when I’ve been feeling down. Thanks for the encouragement.

  38. keidalgrim says:

    Thanks for writing this…and for the blog. It is one of the few money-related blogs that I really enjoy, and it’s because of the personal touch. Your post today was touching and inspiring.

    Keith

  39. mary says:

    Great Post, Trent.
    Judging from the number of comments, this is an issue for a lot of people. I think all living things need a purpose for living. Recent brain research suggests we are “hard-wired” for God and I believe that this is where our need for a sense of purpose comes from. As we align our lives with our “higher” purpose we feel more joy in living. Living, loving, learning, and helping others–these are the things that bring us satisfaction and a sense of fulfilling our purpose.

    As for the 30 year old pop-star wannabe–he should continue until it isn’t fun anymore or until he becomes a pop-star.

  40. QuiteLight says:

    I’ve always felt that there is something I was MEANT to do, and my inability to figure out what that is has been tearing me apart on the inside for years.

    But lately, I feel like I see a shape through the fog, a hint of what might be. It’s well into the “people are going to think I’m nuts” category. It is so scary, but a deep sense of peace creeps in behind the fear. I’m going to keep baby-stepping towards it, & not look away again.

  41. Congratulations on summoning the courage to follow your heart, Trent. Your posts are timely, helpful and important. You are a talented writer who brings personal transparency and accurate information to your readers. Your courage has benefitted both you and us.

  42. JenniB says:

    My company did layoffs yesterday and I just came back from a company meeting where the top executives gave us a pep talk about how they care about the people and we will come out strong and by the way, we are getting no holiday party, increases or bonuses and don’t know if there will be future layoffs.

    As I sat there in that meeting, I thought about my children in daycare in the next state and realized that I have given 8+ years to this organization and even though it is a good company, my heart is not here. I have talents that I am not using and a dream business that I have been stalling on starting.

    I walked back to my office, started my computer and there was this article. I realized that what you said is true – “An upper middle class lifestyle offers enough material comfort to cover up for many, many little internal challenges, after all.” – my high-level job is good pay but I barely see my kids, I have a huge amount of debt and a dream that is slipping away.

    I printed out your article to remind me of this dream. I am starting it today.

    Thank you Trent.

  43. Ed says:

    What a great post. When I was starting out in my career my grandfather told me something that plays over and over in my mind. He said, “never go to work at a job you don’t want to stay at for 30 years because before you know it, it will be easier for you to stay there than it will be for you to leave.” I’ve been with my company for almost 7 years, and I already feel like I’ve passed that threshold. I like my job and I like the company I work for, but my job has nothing to do with my passion. My passion is music. I was playing music until I started my career, but I haven’t played much since. There is definitely a void in my soul since I stopped playing. Guess it’s time to pick up a drumset and get back at it.

    Thanks

  44. Susan says:

    Like other posters here, I identify with Trent’s wise words. I could afford only an associate degree after high school and “settled” for a lab tech degree when my true passion was English and literature. I had always regretted not getting a bachelor’s degree but felt I was “stuck” because we need my salary. After feeling very depressed because everyone else (husband, kids) was getting to do their thing, my husband suggested I slowly work towards a degree in English. I began taking classes in the fall of 2007 and couldn’t be happier. I cannot quit my job to go to school full time so I am slowly chipping away at a degree to teach high school English. It is a scary thing to do, but I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone to try for their goals. Too many times we don’t because be talk ourselves out of it due to the amount of time it will take, our age, or the possible drop in income. Thanks, Trent, for such an uplifting post.

  45. KH says:

    Yes, yes, and yes again.

    I don’t necessarily believe in fate or destiny – but it does seem that some things turn out the way they were supposed to.

    Doing what you feel called to do is important not only for yourself, but for others because that passion shines through to them too.

    I’ve only recently discovered that there is maybe something I’m “supposed” to be doing, I just don’t know what it is yet.

    Great article!

  46. Right on. I feel like that all the time. I want to find that *something* to really put my energy into, but it eludes me. Congratulations on finding a better climate here with The Simple Dollar.

  47. Deidre Ross says:

    I love this quote by George Eliot:

    “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

    I’m in my late thirties, and I have just started back to school to be a teacher; however, there is still a part of me that would love to write.

    The problem is figuring out what I have to say.

  48. Trent,

    I think this is a good post. Finding meaning in life is about the items you mentioned: family, connecting with people, following a passion, living an intellectual life, etc.

    On the purpose in life item, I’m not sure every single individual has a given purpose (unless they are extremely gifted in one area: math, music, sport, etc.), rather you can define purpose by selecting all the important things in life and focusing on them (a stimulating job, a loving family, etc.)

    My two cents,
    Vincent

  49. Evelyn says:

    I agree that when you “find” your niche, you are definately happier. I have been reading The Simple Dollar for many months, and am enjoying the articles. The ones that really “grab me”, I save in a special folder, and revisit your articles again and again. Thank you!!

  50. Kelly says:

    What if you like to do a lot of different things? As in there are plenty of things I find enjoyable, but I’m not sure how they would contribute toward my “purpose”, to help others? How does ballroom dancing help people, besides me? How does baking help people, besides my family? I guess there are many way art/doing/being can contribute, but the trick is figuring out how!

  51. Courtney says:

    Thank you for writing this article. Your work is important, and it does reach people. Thank you.

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