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How Does a Person Build a Fulfilling Life?

That’s the question that has haunted me for years. Decades even. I wondered it as I read Laura Ingalls Wilder books during my childhood, wondered it afresh as I wandered from college to grad school dropout to unemployed-but-I-know-where-I-want-to-live, and I wonder it still. Every day.

In fact, I’ve been contemplating “how does a person build a fulfilling life?” so much lately that I haven’t been able to write one word on the topic. Hence the recent radio silence on this blog (for the first time in 1.5 years!).

I’m currently being forced to put into practice everything I’ve spent years considering, writing about, and researching. My life is undergoing seismic shifts:  new career path for my husband, new work opportunities for me, moving to a new home [current status = our house is under contract to be sold and we can't find a house we want to buy...yikes]. It’s a lot like…hmmm….being 20something all over again. Even though I just hit my 36th birthday. Proof positive that life is all about cycles of change and stability, forever and always, until the day we die.

When things are getting all shaken up, THAT’S when we need to be most intentional and present about building a life that we’ll find fulfilling and valuable. But what exactly does that entail? That’s a question we each have to answer for ourselves, and the question that has filled my mind much more than it has filled blank pages of late.

I trust that my “stability” period is coming down the pike and I’ll finally be able to process in words all that I’m currently experiencing. But that time is not yet, so this blog will remain quiet for a while longer. (Which may be just fine with you!!!)

If you would like a little something to read over, though, check out the terrific interview Cassie Paton at Witty Title Here recently conducted with me. We chat about all things creativity, entrepreneurship and – indeed – creating a fulfilling life. I’m grateful to her for getting me out of my head and down on a page for a few moments!

I don’t have the answers. No one does. We’re all just rubber balls bouncing around this nutty thing called life…and I’m really bouncing at the moment! If nothing else, we’ll have a lot of grounds for commiseration when I return because I know that if you’re reading this blog, you’re there, too.

May we all bounce to the right place for us.

Rebecca Fraser-Thill About the author: A career coach, college instructor, blogger, and speaker, Rebecca Fraser-Thill empowers young adults to lead the lives they imagined they’d have. Drawing on psychology research, a decade of work with twentysomethings, and her own quarterlife frustrations, Rebecca encourages millennials to transcend the platitudes and pursue meaningful, fulfilling lives.

What do you think?

12 comments… add one

  • Debashish Debashish says:

    No wonder I wasn’t seeing any updates on the blog. I thought I’d unknowingly unsubscribed.
    Best of luck in getting through the massive changes. Hope to see a lovely blog post from you soon. Possibly on “fulfillment”.

  • Scott D. MacDonald says:

    Best of luck in your transition Rebecca! Wishing you success in finding the answers you are seeking….

  • How does a person build a fulfiliing life? You have got me thinking. As you say, firstly you need to understand what fulfills you personally. Then you need to construct your life to fit that in, but it’s not as easy as that is it? Why not, is the question? Perhaps we need to pay equal attention to what it is that leaves us feeling unfulfilled, even when we think we are doing everything that we believe fulfills us. Maybe we need to stop aspiring to “perfect fulfillment”. Is there such a thing? And in fact even if there is, would achieving it actually fulfill us? The fact is that many of us look for constant challenge and therefore once we feel fulfilled, we are then looking to the next challenge and are no longer fulfilled. So perhaps if you can reframe your perception of fulfilment it might make it easier for you to be content with leading a life that is perpetually in motion.

    PS I too have been silent for a while – sometimes life/work just gets in the way!

    • Thanks for this thoughtful response, Sara. It’s interesting because I’m actually not pondering what makes ME fulfilled – I am actually quite clear on that – but what makes people in general fulfilled (the psychologist in me…). Our move is largely motivated to set our daughter up for “optimal” quality of life, which we don’t see happening in our current setting, and it has made me think bit by bit about what is included in such a life. Is it ready access to friends? Is it a certain type of school environment? Is it is something so intangible that it cannot be plotted out? And of course “optimal” must be filled with room for disappointments and the need for resilience. We ALL need obstacles to live up to our potential.

  • jefmiles says:

    Great post Bec.

    Good luck on the move, are you planning on starting at a new college or working on your business?

    This is something I am really considering for myself now on where I want to spend my life and what I would like to achieve/do with it.. At the same time I want to enjoy it and have fun too :)

  • Cassie says:

    Man, I was hoping the instability I’ve been feeling lately would just be a blip on the radar… or magically disappear at some magical age. :)

    Good luck to you in this exciting time of change—we’ll all be looking forward to your next update in the meantime. And thanks again for your thoughtful Q&A on WTH. It was lovely to have you!

  • Susanna says:

    Rebecca,
    Glad to have you back and glad to hear about your contemplations. These are SO important! In my opinion, fulfilling life is comprised of serving others in a way that is deeply meaningful to you, using your passions, strengths and personal mission. In other words, it’s about authentic purpose and living that purpose with everything you do. Good luck with your journey!

    • Well articulated! I don’t think I could have summed it up so succinctly! As I mentioned to Sara in a previous comment response, it is interesting that I know what *I* personally find fulfilling, but the variability in “people” in general is what fascinates me. I do think your overview pays attention to variability while being descriptive…quite a difficult balance. Well done!

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