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After a Full Lifetime I am Left Asking: ‘Is this All There Is?’

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I have had amazing life. I am happy and content and love the sun and rain, the breeze that blows in the window at night. I have lived fully and passionately and well. I make a daily inventory of the things I am grateful for. My life has had great highs; 3 loving relationships, a son, great family and more friends than I can count. Multiple successful careers accomplishing everything on my “bucket list”; military officer and pilot, musician and singer, successful in business, graduated law school at 49. I have lived in multiple countries and a dozen US states. I have accomplished things that were never “goals” such as holding multiple world records in skydiving. I have seen Paris, London, Bangkok, Red Square, and hundreds of other places many only dream of. I have accomplished or achieved everything I ever wanted or thought of doing.

I have also survived and overcome great hurt and what many would call tragedy; My only child was killed when he was 21. Four years prior to that I watched as the woman I knew to be the greatest love of my life was killed 100′ in front of me in a freak accident that decapitated her, left me to follow and find her body, then undertake the task of trying to explain it all to her 3 children. I have lost two other relationships to divorce. I have had periods of great financial abundance and been through the humiliation of bankruptcy. All of these are, to me, lessons from which I learned how to overcome adversity of life and I used that knowledge and experience to help others.

Now, I find I have no goals or dreams; there is nothing I can think of that excites me or motivates me. I’m just, tired. There is nothing I want to do that I have not already done. I feel apathetic about everything, feeling like, “Is that all there is?” Although definitely not suicidal (not an option for me), If I were diagnosed with a terminal illness it would be welcomed as a ticket to a new adventure.

What can I do to feel inspired again? How do I motivate myself to discover something new that will drive me to want to go, do, achieve, succeed again?

After a Full Lifetime I am Left Asking: ‘Is this All There Is?’

Answered by on -

A.

It appears from the letter that you have written me, that your life has been focused on the external. Traveling, skydiving, going to law school, living in foreign countries, living in multiple states, becoming a military officer, becoming a pilot, having great wealth, singing and playing in a band, these are all external things. Inspiration, comes from beyond you, yet it is “internal.”

To explain myself we need to look at psychoanalytic theory. In psychoanalytic theory and most certainly in analytical psychology, a separation is made between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind.

You, the person that wakes up every morning, are the conscious mind. The unconscious mind is much, much more. According to Freud, it is the tiny tip of the iceberg or the conscious mind that is exposed above the waterline while the gigantic bulk of the iceberg or the unconscious mind remains hidden in darkness below the waterline.

Frederick Nietzsche, gave a good example of the relationship of the two minds in his book, Thus Spake Zarathustra. He writes, “verily, on soft soles he comes to me, the dearest of thieves, and steals my thoughts.”

That is the power of the unconscious mind. You are never aware of falling asleep. Only upon awakening do you realize that the thief has struck again. The part I like the best, the part that is the most illustrative is “steals my thoughts.” It is almost as if the conscious mind is an escapee of the unconscious and must return every 16 hours to serve another eight hours of its’ sentence.

Inspiration comes to the conscious mind from the unconscious mind. You must wait patiently for that inspiration to arrive. Artists and writers know this frustration all too well.

Your question was about inspiration but perhaps the real question has nothing to do with inspiration. It would seem from what you have written that you are expressing a dissatisfaction with life. No, as you point out, you are not suicidal but you would not consider death to be a great loss. It seems as if life once had great value to you but now is losing some of that value.

You have done much in the external world and you have enjoyed it but now it is not providing you the pleasure or adventure it once did. It is as if you have mastered the external world. If Carl Jung were alive today, I believe he would suggest that you now begin the process of exploring the internal world.

The real excitement, the real mystery lies within.

To fully answer your question, I would like the opportunity to write several thousand pages and perhaps then I could provide an incomplete but helpful answer. For various reasons I do not have that opportunity.

I wish you the best of luck.

Dr. Kristina Randle

After a Full Lifetime I am Left Asking: ‘Is this All There Is?’

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). After a Full Lifetime I am Left Asking: ‘Is this All There Is?’. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/02/22/after-a-full-lifetime-i-am-left-asking-is-this-all-there-is/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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