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COLUMN: Self-Learning Never Ends


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The following is a column from Kathy Nolan Deschenes. To submit your own content, e-mail us at asylvia@westfordcat.org

In a previous blog post I talked about starting a journey with my life coach Sally. We’ve met several times now and it has been a huge help with my career decisions.

Kathy Nolan Deschenes (courtesy photo)
Kathy Nolan Deschenes (courtesy photo)

Having CFS creates a job situation that is very unique. Oftentimes people with CFS don’t work at all and, because it is a disease that has no test to prove you have it, they face uphill battles to obtain disability insurance. I’ve chosen not to go down that road and just be creative and persistent with my work options.

After a couple of months of seeing Sally we came to the conclusion that the work I’ve been doing in high-tech for my 35 year career is really not a good fit for my innate skills and passions. My being good at whatever I do in high-tech has been confused by me with what I should or want to be doing. 

To that end, I felt empowered to leave my job. I love who I work with and for but the 24X7 type of work I do is killing me. Maybe if it was something I was more passionate about, I would not be so exhausted all the time.

The work I’m doing with Sally is not limited to my job decisions. She is a life coach not a career coach so our work doesn’t end with my job change. 

Today we talked about where we can go from here. We did a lot of digging previously about what drives me and now we are going to focus on why those things drive me.

It was something I’ve never thought about before. I’m quite introspective and self-analytical but never once have I thought about why I do what I do. Strange,  huh?

When I put Sally’s thoughts into my own words, what came out of my mouth was very scary to me. I said, “If I’m not doing something for someone else then what should I do? And, by extension, if I’m not being someone for someone else, who am I?”

Most of what drives me is my need to help others. To be the best employee, daughter, wife, friend, mentor is extremely important to me. But now that I’m not someone’s employee or daughter, what does that leave me?

It was a question that rocked my long-held definition of my life and my character. I was raised to be all things to all people by my parents who defined their own lives as how they were of service to those in need. How do I change that now? And can I?

Sally gave me a place to start since I felt I had suddenly been hit by lightning. She told me to start journaling: “Now that I’m 56 years old, I will…..” is the plan I need to complete. Imagine, 56 years old and I’m just now realizing that my life is mine, not someone else’s. Where do I start? How do I redefine myself at such a late age? 

It will be a long process and one that I will take seriously. Sally proposes I start taking baby steps and make a weekly date with myself to do something I want to do: Learn a new craft or visit a museum, for example. 

I will make these plans and stick with them. It won’t be easy to come up with things I want to do that don’t involve others wishes. But I will push myself through it to get to the other side of this wall in my life.

Imagine? Thinking about what *I* want to do with my life. Frightening yet exciting all at the same time.

My life coach is Sally Seekings and I highly recommend connecting with her to explore making your life what you want it to be. To learn more visit Spirit Renewal Center, Chelmsford

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