I Am 37, And I Have No Freaking Clue What I Want To Do With My Life 

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“A friend and mentor said something to me the other day that has left me with some sleepless nights:

‘You are being brought to your knees brother…embrace going to your knees.’

Honestly, my initial reaction to his one-line assessment of my current life situation was that of disappointment and quite frankly shame.

How the hell did I get to this place? In my wildest dreams I could not imagine that at the age of 37, I would have no freaking clue what I wanted to do with my life…much less be on my knees. I’ve wanted to be a doctor since the very first time I met my Pediatrician, Dr. Peeden, and have worked tirelessly to reach that goal.

What happens when you reach your goals and find that you are completely miserable and lost so much along the way?

I’ve spent most of my life looking for the next mountain to climb. Most of the time I’ve completely neglected to savor or even notice the journey. My eyes have always been locked on the summit. Unfortunately, it has cost me a lot. I have lost friendships, experiences, and valuable joy. Sadly, I lost a lot of myself along the way.

I had a very uncomfortable conversation with my dad a couple of months back. He lovingly sat me down at the kitchen table and expressed to me the sadness he has had watching the light leave my eyes over the past couple of years. My initial reaction to his words was anger and denial. I wanted to blame, refute, and justify my way out of the conversation.

Deep down though, I was faced with a very uncomfortable truth: not only was he right, but I allowed myself to get to this place. Damn, looking in the mirror sucks.

My wife is currently writing a book about joy. She has made a career out of her unique ability to find joy in the deepest, darkest cracks and crevasses of this world. I can bear witness to her joy in the midst of struggles that would have sent most of us spiraling into the abyss. If I am being completely honest with myself, I listen to her thoughts about joy and it feels like she is speaking a foreign language.

How does she do it? How does anybody do it?

Maybe it is by embracing the journey.

Circling back to what my mentor said, I think it is time to go to my knees. Not in a giving up kind of way, but with joy and appreciation for the opportunity to do so. So many people are struggling right now. I see it every time I work. They have no choice but to keep treading water in hopes that the flood will finally recede. They have no time to go to their knees because they are fighting just to stay afloat.

Life is precious. People are precious. Experiences are precious. Our time is invaluable. God help me to look objectively at my life with grace and understanding. Give me the courage to chart a new path and most importantly to find joy in the journey.

Why share these intimate thoughts and experiences on a public forum? Am I looking for advice or pity? Absolutely not.

So much of what we share with the world is complete b*llshit. It is a facade. How can we expect to relate with each other if we aren’t honest about how we are truly feeling?

I am certain that I am not alone in my struggles and that some people are much deeper in the pit than I am.

And I want them to know that they are not alone in that journey.”

man standing on a rock looking out at the ocean
Courtesy of Dr. Backstrom

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Dr. Backstrom. You can follow his journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here.

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