There are plenty of times in life when you might feel stalled or aimless. Sometimes a big milestone feels impossibly far ahead of you. Sometimes you don’t know what your next big milestone should be. Worst of all is when you achieve something you’ve been working towards for a long time – a promotion, a house move, a savings target – and don’t feel as fulfilled by it as you were expecting.
At all these times, a feeling of aimlessness and ennui can descend, and it can be hard to escape from. Sometimes, and for some people, it can be an indication that your life needs an overhaul. People have changed their careers because of this aimless feeling. For other people it’s a signal that they need to broaden their lives beyond the narrow focus they’ve developed. Developing hobbies, broadening your social circle and volunteering with good causes can all give you different senses of reward on different time scales. You might still decide you need a career makeover, or your new approach might just give you the endurance you need to grind towards your distant but worthwhile goal.
Hobbies and Crafts
Developing an art or craft hobby could be the perfect answer to your quandary. These give you the satisfaction of learning, developing a new skill and achieving, entirely on your own terms. While you might start with a simple art box subscription, giving you the supplies to try out your new hobby, within weeks you could be attending classes or even showing your work!
The great thing about taking on a creative or practical hobby is that you can define for yourself what you want out of it. If you want to develop a new skill, you can read and study the form and see how your abilities have grown over time. If you’re looking for a broader social circle, you can join clubs and groups, getting the support of your peers and making friends based on your new interest. You’re entirely free to treat your new hobby as a solitary emotional outlet – something to help cope with the stresses of more pedestrian problems.
Many people find volunteering their time with charities and good causes can help them feel like they’re making a more meaningful contribution with their lives.
It’s important not to have a fixed idea of what volunteering is: different charities have different needs, and the skills you’ve acquired at work could be very useful to them! You’re as likely to be useful by volunteering your social media know-how or accountancy qualifications as you are in sorting or delivering donations. Keep an open mind, and ask how your chosen cause can best use you. You’ll gain a new set of friends, and sense of reward and accomplishment entirely independent from your career!