Planning the Rest of My Life

Updated on March 13, 2012
J.H. asks from Auburn, CA
19 answers

How have you mamas planned your furture? Ok...Let me explain a bit further--I posted a question last week regarding happiness, which was prompted by my recently being fired. I figure it's the universe hitting me over the head with "you're unhappy and your life is out of balance, so if you're not going to do anything about it, I will." I'm still angry, hurt, etc., but I know life goes on and this too shall pass; however, I have a tendancy to obsess on things which creates inner anxiety. Thus, I need a plan. When I have a plan for whatever, then I don't obsess as much and have less anxiety.

Because of these character traits, I tend to jump into things. This time, however, I think the universe has a greater lesson, so I'd like to go slowly. Now for me going slowly can also create anxiety, so would you offer suggestions how you might deal or have dealt with similar situations.

Thanks for your input.


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So What Happened?

Thank you all for the fantastic responses. I think what I've received most from your responses is to write things down, take small steps toward a larger vision and trust the universe/God/higher power that there is a bigger plan.

It is very difficult not to take being fired "without cause" personally. I am a highly qualified credentialed teacher with Montessori training and was teaching at a local charter school. I have my BA and some graduate work that comes along with being credentialed in CA. I would like to know if I had done anything wrong, but wasn't given any review or warning, so of course I'm second guessing everything about my teaching. The school has now replaced me with two teachers (one long term sub and one Montessori teacher--two for the price of 1). Even so, I can't help but think there was more to it than that, but my director refused to give me further information based on his legal councel's advice.

I am eligible for UI which I am taking while I take stock of my life. I believe for now, I want to be a good mom to help my son through the transition--he still attends the school. I didn't want to change that steady part of his life mid-year. I'm able to spend time with my DH, because I'm not totally exhausted at the end of the day, correcting papers, lesson planing or obsessing on my students' needs.

I do enjoy working with children, so as I go through this transition, I'm going to volunteer and maybe work as an aide. I'm in my late 40s, so I'm not sure about starting over, although I know many individuals do it.

But as mentioned before, I'm gonna go for the day to day baby steps as suggested. One of the first things is to figure out whether or not to keep all of my teaching materials and where to store it. I had to empty my class in a weekend, so it wasn't packed as organized as I would have liked and it makes me ill looking at it in our garage. Yet, I don't want to get rid of it in haste in the chance I find another teaching position.

So much to think about...but again thanks to all you mamas for your advice and support.


More Answers


answers from Fort Collins on

I would start by making a list of things you want to do and think about where you want to be in five years. Prioritize your list by what sounds the most appealing and what helps you to reach your goal. Then research each option and pick the route that actually seems feasible or worth the effort.

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

First and foremost, take stock of your situation. So you got fired. It happens, sometimes to good and very skilled people. Do not get bogged down in any shame or guilt because of it, but DO own any shortcomings on your part that may have contributed to it. This is how you will help yourself grow and learn and know which direction to take for your future.

Almost nine years ago, I experienced the year.from.hell. It was awful. The year prior was one of the best years of my life. I was in my early thirties, met the man I was certain I would marry, had lots of friends and a great teaching job. Then one day my prince said he needed space and we broke up. I was devastated beyond belief. I didn't go to a church then and didn't grow up going to a church, but I did feel a closeness to God and prayed to him often during this time. I was so fixated on my breakup and despair that it was affecting my job as a teacher. I finally became fearful I was going to get fired because it. I am a talented teacher, but I wasn't giving my best to my job at that time. Luckily, God placed a fellow co-worker in my path that I could trust and respect and she helped me get back on my feet in regard to my job. At the end of the school year, I decided to move to be closer to my older brother and his family. For years he and his wife had urged my mom and I to move. My mom wanted to go, but I was always the one that dragged my feet on the idea and I knew she would never go unless I went with her. Finally, I decided this was the best time to go. I was in a funk and needed a change. 6 months after the move, I met my husband. We were married exactly two years later. Our son was born a year and a half after that and our daughter another 18 months after my son. I also received National Board Certification which is a prestigious and rigorous certification among teachers. My life has been one blessing after another since.

The thing is, sometimes these life-altering experiences happen that rocks us to the core, and all you can do while your in it, is hang on for dear life and get through it. Sometimes it has to rock us so hard that we will be willing to make a drastic change. I thought I would live in my childhood hometown for the rest of my life. Turns out my entire life was meant to be in another city and state. It isn't until afterward that you can reflect on your circumstances to see all the blessings that were just waiting to unfold for you in their own perfect timing.

My husband's friend and co-worker, was recently let go from his job. He had been with this company for many years and was a fantastic employee. However, his skill set just didn't jibe with the current role he was in. As devastating as it was for my husband to see his friend go, I am confident that there is something perfect out there just waiting for him . It's like God is saying, "This might sting for a bit, but I promise it will heal and you will be better than ever for it." I truly with all my heart believe that is what he was saying to me during my struggles and is saying something similar to you now. You just have to keep your eyes, ears, heart and mind open for his advice. He will never lead you down a wrong path!

I agree with some of the other responses you have received so far, look into getting a life coach, or if you attend church see what resources they have that can help you with your new path. Did you attend college? Check with your alumni center, they can help you discover untapped interests and skills you may have and also hone your resume. Read StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. It may give you some insight on your individual strengths. Even if you didn't attend college, call a local community college or university closest to you, they will probably still be able to help you.

And above all else, talk to God, pray to him, meditate, read the bible and quiet yourself so you can hear what he is saying to you and what direction he is leading you in. During my time of struggle I read the book A Purpose-driven Life by Rick Warren. It helped me on my spiritual journey and now it seems my life is a series of blessings that I am constantly connecting the dots of where life has led me! It is truly amazing!! Good luck to you and God Bless!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

my first priority is always a paycheck. if i'm not providing for my family, i'm not doing my job as a mother. (of course that would be different if we were a one-income family, but we're not.) that might mean working at mcdonald's until a "better" job comes along. i don't care. i wouldn't let my family suffer because of my pride. a walmart (or whatever) paycheck is better than no paycheck. also there are temp agencies that can do a lot of the job searching for you. i manage an office of data entry (typists) that all were placed by a staffing agency. it's not glamorous but it's a respectable job. jobs are out there.

after that, i would look at the future and figure out what you need to accomplish. college funds? retirement? buying a house? then start making a plan to make those things happen.

i don't mean to make it sound like it's all about the money, but for me (and most people), i'm not happy if i'm not secure. that's the #1 thing that will put me in a downward spiral. i don't know if this answers your question, but by what you have described of your situation, that is where i would go with it. good luck.

ps- along the way, take time to enjoy the good things in your life. your children, spouse, a favorite hobby. reward yourself. hang in there.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I suggest you go to a local college or university and inquire about personality/career testing. These tests are usually free. The school counselor can help you to take your interests, personality and education and find a career path that will fulfill you. Once you have that information you can make decisons on what to do next.

Set up an appointment with a financial counselor at your bank and see what it would take to get some investments and retirement funds started.

Sit down with yourself and meditate, let your brain relax, then start to think about the things you dreamed about as a child. What did you want to do and did you follow that path or did you follow the path that 'everyone' said was better for you? After you are able to figure out what you would like to do, plan the steps to get you there.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Having a plan is always a good thing!! Start by writing down what you want to accomplish.

Pros and cons of your life as you see it.
Are there things you can do to change the "cons"? If yes, ONE STEP AT A TIME - don't try and do it all at once.
The pros - what you do best -

What do you want to do?
Did you like what you did in your last job? If so - what did you like best about it?

What do you do best?
How do you feel you work best?
If you journal your thoughts like this - it can, in essence, write your perfect job description.

I'm sorry you were fired. That sucks. BIG TIME! However, it can be the best thing that ever happened to you - IF YOU LET IT. It can lead you down the path of what you REALLY want to do.

I know this is confusing right now. I have 4 boys making a ruckus so my thoughts aren't really clear. But start writing your wants, needs, desires. Fix the things you can fix. Pray about the things you can't. God will lead you where He needs you to go.

You are NOT alone.!!

ETA: Like Jo - I wouldn't plan the "REST OF MY LIFE" - plan bits and pieces. let it all fall into place.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

The problem with 'planning' the rest of your life, it then causes you stress when the plans don't work out.

You can make reasonable goals such as this much emergency money in the bank by xxxx so that you know you are covered in an emergency but planning everything will cause you more stress than your current method.

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answers from Richmond on

I am so glad you asked this and I'm looking forward to reading the responses, I've been second guessing a lot lately. I hope whichever path you end up taking works in your favor :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

I think if you NEED a plan, then HAVE a plan....just start smaller :) Instead of planning where you'll be in 5 years, think about the journey and the baby steps you'll have to take along the way. Basically, start with a plan for your plan. Get it?

And good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I think it helps to know that many of us are in the same a point in our lives where we are reassessing past, present, & future. :)

I will be losing 1/2 of my daycare in August as children move on to school. It is a perfect time for me to find an "office job". I need to brush up on my skills & haven't moved very far in that....& it's driving me nuts.

The other reason I need to shut down the daycare is because my income:profit ratio is really taking a nosedive due to increased costs.... in food, school supplies, utilities, etc. All across the board, my expenses are knocking out my profit & I cannot increase my fees. I have one mom tutoring to pay me & another cleaning houses on the side to pay me. :(

A 3rd reason to shutdown would be the need to be better prepared if/when something happens with my DH. His job has warning signs of instability within the company, & we need 3 more years to get our son thru H.S.....& would prefer 10 more years until my DH's retirement age. It is time for me to find a job with benefits & sick days. My DH has been thru one heart surgery & still has one untreated artery. We know our future.

Thank you for posting this question! I have found the answers & ideas very helpful. My original game plan was to create a resume, apply for a few positions, & then reassess my needs....all while building my skills thru online classes at our local community college/tech school. After reading some of the ideas, I think I now need to begin with career testing to finetune my interests before beginning! Thank you, thank you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Sorry this is a long answer. Visualize your long-term goals and write them down. For me, it's easier to work backwards. I have some older relatives who live the life I want to have at those ages. My GMIL is 93, lives on her own and is of sound mind and body, is healthy and happy. A lot of that is luck, but not accident. OK so I know I want good health and financial security, and good relationships with my relatives, and good friends. So that helps me to take steps now that will build to that - one concrete step is to save for retirement, another is to take care of my health and build time to nurture my mind and body and tend to relationships.

I also know that when the kids are grown, I want to be able to host family parties and have a house that my kids can come "home" to and stay at if they move out of town and come back to visit, so having a bigger house is still a goal, even if it doesn't happen when my kids are small. But I know that I want to travel when I'm older too, so we won't be putting a ridiculous amount into a huge house - just enough to host a few parties and have a spare bedroom or two - and will hopefully have enough $ to travel.

Working backwards to my late 40s - mid-60s, this will be my time to really expand my career. By this time my kids will be grown and I will be able to travel for work if need be, work longer hours, take on more responsibility etc. We'll also be helping the kids with college expenses during this time.

So that brings me to the next 10 5 our two oldest will hopefully head off to college and we have not saved nearly enough. I hope to be able to add to their savings over the next 5 years now that our youngest is out of daycare. Because of that, we will not be opting for private high school for any of the kids as we had hoped. We will also be probably staying in this house and making due with adding a basement to the bedroom vs. moving now.

I didn't really "get" the power of planning until I was a single mom. When my son was born, I vaguely figured that I'd want to be living in a town with a good school system by the time he started Kindergarten. I also knew that I eventually wanted to get married and have more children and figured that I'd be able to meet someone by the time he was three and be married by the time he was 5. Other than having these vague ideas of time lines that would be ideal, I got lost in the day-to-day life of single parenting and whaddya know - I met my husband when my son was 3 and married him right after he started Kindergarten, which was right after we bought a house in the town I'm still in.

I know that not everything works out as planned, of course (we planned on having enough equity in our house to have a second floor on it by now, not owing $100K more than it's worth) but deciding what's important (and possible) long-term helps us make decisions today.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

What do you want to be when you grow up? Give your best answer you can and figure out your best path to get there. If it is school find out what schools offer your new career.goal and make an appointment with a counselor an financial aid, if you already have the skills for your passion go to any and every place that has a position like that and find out if they have an opening anywhere in their organization and tell the person you interview with what your goals are...may help uou get hired and give you an introduction to the person who can help make it happen. Remember as a mom we have to satisfy alot of needs but if momm ain't happy ain't nobody happy. Include in your action plan if you want to exercise more, plant a garden,.eat cleaner, get regular massages and then figure out and write a game plan of how you will make it happen.



answers from San Francisco on

After reading your post, I got this. It's all Gods plans, not man.

Many plans are in a man's heart, but the counsel of the LORD will stand.
Proverbs 19:21

And if you dont know Him, try him as Angie H. From Omaha did and found happiness and blessings.



answers from Dallas on

This may sound like a lot of writing but it's really not. Putting things on paper relieves the burden from your brain.

First make a list of what you believe your priorities should be in life, like raising your children, improving your relationship with God, having a good marriage, being healthy, helping the less fortunate, etc. It's good to have these in writing so you are grounded when you address your problems.

Write down your problem and list the implications of this problem in your life. Then just self-brainstorm and list every solution you can think of to your current problem. For each solution quickly list the pros and cons.
See which of your solutions looks the best based on the pros and cons. Then lists the steps required to carry out this solution and tackle each step one-by-one, slowly and deliberately. Set generous deadlines. DON'T try to do everything at once or complete 4 steps in an hour. Schedule times in between to re-energize your self.

Getting this on paper makes your mind less frantic. You need peace before you start "doing"



answers from Boston on

For my daughter in high school I went to the library and searched for books on aptitude testing and career planning. There was one called "I could do anything if I only knew what it was : how to discover what you really want and how to get it / Barbara Sher with Barbara Smith" which was pretty good. Or go to Barnes and Noble, browse the shelves or ask for the career/life planning section, then bring a bunch of books to the cafe and enjoy and afternoon of working on you plan. Generally you enjoy what you are good at, so you could just bring a notebook and your resume and review all your jobs and write down 2 columns of what you "loved" and what you "hated" about the job. For me, seeing things on paper clarifies my thinking. Then try to come up with your "elevator speech" - if you were to find yourself in the elevator with the hiring manager of a company you would love to work for, what would you say about yourself. Not just "I did this and that" but something l like: "My driving force in life is xxx and I apply it to my personal life as well as my work life" then give some examples.
My goals are shorter term (helping my dyslexic daughter finish middle school with her soul intact, continue to work at a job that matches my core strengths and values) but I do have a long term vision in my head of where I want to live (city center) in what kind of place (small, able to walk to library and stores) in what part of the country (mid of east coast, not too hot, not too snowy). Unfortunately my husband wants to live in a big house on the ocean away from everyone!!! Financial needs may necessitate a compromise on our dreams, but unless you know what your dreams and goals are you will have a hard time reaching them.
PS: In the mean time you could sign up with a temp agency and just get out of the house and make a bit of money. If it is not in your career you could leave it off your resume, or fill it in with skills you did use (you can lump many short term jobs under the heading "Contract work").



answers from Charleston on

There is a book called "Mothers of Reinvention" that I would STRONGLY recommend! It walks you through the process of figuring out the direction you want to take and how to get there. It is pretty new, so your library may not have it, but it is available on amazon. This book has been life changing for me! I am changing the direction of my career, and I think I am a much better mom for it. Having a clear direction and plan makes me a saner, happier, more energetic person (and most people accomplish more if they do it in a systematic way). Also, I love that this book is written by and for moms. It addresses the hows as well as the whys and it talks about going through all of this WHILE also being an involved mother which alot of career oriented books don't mention. I think it cost me around $12, and I can say it is the best money I have spent since starting down the road called motherhood. It is also not super long, which is nice since I am a slow reader!

You can turn this negative into a positive!!!!!!!

Good luck and best wishes Mama :)



answers from San Francisco on

Hi J.,

I have learned over the years that I can be my own worst enemy. When I try to "control" things, I simply make them worse.

I am a Virgo, and I'm thinking maybe you are too, because Virgos always have a plan and we don't do well when there is no plan in place.

I have learned to slow down and see what the universe has in mind before I jump in. Usually if I do so, I find that things worked out pretty well and then I realize how much I would have screwed things up had I jumped in. The more it happens, the easier it is to wait it out. But you have to be ever vigilant with watching yourself and slowing down. If I don't think, I jump. NOt a good thing!

So, tell yourself that not having a specific plan is a plan in itself and turn it over to your God or higher power or whatever/whomever you have faith it. That's the key really - turning it over!

Good luck! I bet the universe has a wonderful plan for you. The trick is waiting for it to be revealed!



answers from San Francisco on

About 2-3 years ago I served on jury duty and I sort of liked enjoyed the legal process. So I started thinking about becoming a court reporter. Then my husband suggested I look into becoming a paralegal and that sounded good so I started taking some classes towards getting a certificate, joined a professional society and spoke to numerous paralegals.

While in those classes I decided to also take a business math class because I wondered if I might be good as an accountant. I enjoyed that class too but I wasn't sure if I was exacting enough to be in that field. I also started to have second thoughts about being a paralegal. I was concerned that I would be "starting from the ground floor" and I wondered if I could resurrect my old career of being a fundraiser but tweak it to do the parts of the job I like and avoid the rest.

I happened across a job as a grant writer and applied for the job. During that process I contacted old employers to ask for a references. In contacting one of my bosses, she mentioned that a former head of school that I had worked for was at a nearby school and looking for a fundraiser. I got the job and am able to work part time, which is good.

So, my point is, sometimes you have to follow the path and you may not know where it will take you but have faith that you will end up where you need to be. I think you do have an opportunity to perhaps explore your options and that is something that you should take advantage of. Good-luck.



answers from Tulsa on

I like J.B.'s answer.

Do you qualify for free career testing at your local job office or college?
I found out I was not suited for a career before I invested time and money in it. It made sense when I saw it in black and white.

I think you seem very wise to be making a plan, not just getting another job, if you can financially afford it. Maybe sacrificing time and money to finish a degree is the answer, but a degree does not guarantee a job.
Nursing is in demand, but there are only a small number of openings in the program compared to the applicants. Some jobs will train you.

You could do temp. work to sample jobs and companies. Knowing someone will help you get hired.

No matter what you do, find a diplomatic way to explain your firing. Don't badmouth the boss. Be positive even if it hurts. You don't want to miss out on an opportunity.



answers from Minneapolis on

Are you aware of Life Coaching? Several years ago, I completed a one-year life coaching certification training program. As part of that training, I put together a "Design for Life" that describes how I see my life in 1, 2, 5, 10, 15 years. A design is different than a plan in that it's more of a vision and less of an exact step-by-step process. Once you have a clear vision, then your day-to-day actions (practices) can be designed to get you to that vision.

Life Coaches have different specialties. My specialty is now Career Transition. Other coaches are focused on broader life goals, or wellness, or other areas. If this is intriguing to you, I would suggest googling "life coaches CA" and you should find several options. Always interview several coaches before choosing one that feels like a fit for you and the outcomes you want.

I hired my own Life Coach when I found myself stuck in the decision-making process of proposing my Dissertation topic for my PhD and also in my goal to reach Black Belt. In less than three months with the coach, I had earned my Black Belt and had an approved dissertation topic and was on my way!

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