What If You Haven’t Found Your Purpose Yet By Age 40?

I’m freaking out a little because I’m 40 years old and still trying to find My Thing. To be admitting this at my age is a bit embarrassing. Call it one’s purpose, profession, or craft, whatever it is, it’s your sweet spot. The place your spend time and energy and in return, you find great fulfillment and financial gain.

You should know your purpose by now. Of course, no one has actually said this to my face, cultural expectations are more often felt than seen.

I’m clearly beyond the appropriate age to still be wondering what I want to be when I grow up. High school and college were supposed to provide me with ample time to explore my skills and interests and figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

Now you’re a grown-up. Time’s up. Signing up for fun electives, taking a gap year to travel the world, or applying for internships are not part of the curriculum anymore. You need to be working at a job, earning a good salary, improving your home, and taking care of children.

It’s dangerous to admit to you’re still floundering and don’t know what exactly you’re called to do. Most people my age have found their groove, tasted success, gained experience, and filled their resumes with valuable references. Meanwhile, my resume is awkwardly empty, not applicable is my go-to response.

People my age are well on their way, racking up prestigious certifications and asking for raises. Many of them are already thinking about retirement, some have even reached the summit early with their bold and aggressive investment plans and multiple rental homes. 

Do you see me out here whacking down my own path? I understand I might look a little lost to you, heck I feel a little lost.

I’m sure we’ve all seen it scribbled across mugs, journals, or sweatshirts- “I’m not lost, I’m just on my way,” or “Those who wander are not lost.” Inspirational quotes to be sure, but who actually considers their lostness something worth flaunting?

If you haven’t figured out your life by 40, you’re not earning a steady income, and you’re still uncertain about your career path, then you might want to stay quiet.

I’m sure we’d all agree it’s strange to talk with a grown adult who doesn’t know what they’re cut out to do, who still carries with them an air of uncertainty about the direction they’re headed, who hasn’t landed on their specific niche. It makes us squirm and we feel sorry for them.

Our discomfort comes because we’re all feeling around in the dark, trying to find our way, and then hiding behind Our Thing when we feel like someone might be watching us.

There’s a youthful, energetic spark I’ve noticed in the eyes of those who know their life’s calling isn’t cemented in stone or mapped out with the turning of each New Year. They don’t worry about arriving at the summit of Mount Purpose. The whole point for them seems to be how far off the path they can travel.

In their presence I stop worrying about My Unique Purpose on the Planet, instead, I’m left wondering how lost can I get.

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