An Idea: Giving What You Never Had


As Minimalist Grandma, I have stripped a lot of things away. Slimmed down and I am streamlining my life. But you know that, dear reader.

However, I’m sorting out more than just my stuff.

I am now making decisions about my time and talents. What do I keep? What do I discard?

I have to determine what is important to me because (not trying to be morbid, but) I have an estimated 30 (+,-) years left and I want to make them count. I don’t want to squander them.

I have had the luxury of being able to “retire” from a job that was very stressful and affecting my health. I loved it, I was passionate about it, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. So, now I have to decide how I will use my time and talents. Do I go back to work? Do I start a new career? Do I volunteer? Then….doing what?

So, how do you sort out yourself?

I’ve taken personality tests, been to counseling, read tons of books on the subject of finding your passion, finding your genius, discovering your second career, answered a hundred questions and I’m not really any closer to knowing, to be honest.

I’ve used the divining rod method (is what I call it), you know where they say, “just follow your heart.” If I did that then I’ll be a professional cookie eater and movie watcher.

I’ve been told, “be patient, it will come to you.” Well, I’m not patient and I feel the clock ticking. And I’ve never been the sort to just wait around for something to happen.

However, I have a theory that seems to ring true with me.

My theory is people often are passionate about giving to others what they never had and desperately wanted.

Now it doesn’t always prove true but you’ve heard of the guy who became a doctor because his mother was misdiagnosed and died. The mother who, as a kid, was always hungry and as a mother herself makes sure that her cabinets are full to the brim and a guy who wanted to become a grocer because of that (both true stories).  You see what I’m talking about?

I came to this theory late in life. When I looked back over my work history and activities that I have been involved in I realized a few common threads. And I found those common threads had a common thread.

Let me explain. The common threads that I found were that I get really passionate and emotional about: telling people about the greatness I see in them, letting people know that just because they’re not very good at one thing doesn’t mean they’re bad at all things, listening to people – really listening, acknowledging those who feel invisible and cheering people on in what they’re passionate about.

And I also get really emotional about people finding out about their family history.

And I also ask pretty personal questions because I want to know and people need other people to know about them.

In my life, the jobs that I’ve held included all of these things. I made a great assistant because I love to encourage people in their passion. I made a great Vet Tech because I paid attention to the animals who couldn’t speak about their pain. And teaching, well, it includes ALL of those things. I don’t know that I was a great teacher, per se, but I really encouraged kids and made them feel good about themselves which gave them the best environment in which to learn.

The common thread among those common threads was that those were the very things I felt that I didn’t get growing up.

I’m not trying to be a whiner, but I’m just saying that perhaps a way to identify our passions, our genius, is to identify what we are longing for in ourselves and then find a creative way to give it to others. And in the giving we receive.

It’s seems sort of a backwards idea. It seems like we should be giving out of our abundance, but I find that I give best and most from my lack.

It sounds quite selfish now that I read it on the screen. But life’s a journey, isn’t it? Maybe the first step towards healing and being a better person is to identify my weaknesses.

Hi, my name is Jill and I am selfish. (and a chocolate chip cookie addict)






3 thoughts on “An Idea: Giving What You Never Had

  1. Jill,
    Based on this post and the comment you left on my blog, I’d say we have a lot in common. I wish you the best in finding your second “career” calling, whatever that may be.

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