Dear I’ve Got a Problem:
My problem is I’ve lost the last ten years! I don’t know where they went. Can you help?
Barring chronic illness or an overdose of really drawn out higher education, you probably left the last ten years in the usual place: preparing to do things you never ended up doing. You may have heard a vague sucking sound in the distance on some days when the air was just right and you were attuned to the universe – that was the sound of a slow leak in what you meant to accomplish.
Analyze your own problem
A person’s fictional signature is often a clue to their own analysis of their problem. In your case, your chosen name “Stumped” might easily have been something like “50, not 40” or “Assistant to the Dean” or “Vice-president”. Are you feeling cut off from attaining a long-treasured top spot in your profession? Or have you spent too much time training for something instead of stepping into the ring / onto the stage / or into the light? Are you afraid to be seen trying?
Optimism…Fake It Till You Make It
Ten years is nothing. Don’t waste another year looking for them. In a recent (July 2012) New York Times article, psychologist Elaine Fox, who studies the positive effects of optimism, says “What really makes the difference is action…If you sit back passively, you won’t get the job you want.” She means that in the sense of fashioning the life you want. “The important thing is having a sense of control over your life, your destiny.” The Optimist’s plan of action can be summed up as “Fake It Until You Make It” or “Do it, then Learn How.”
To recoup the ten years you kissed away waiting for somebody to notice how terrific you are and hire/promote/ or marry you, screw your courage to the sticking place, my friend, and ‘fake it until you make it’. Make a list of things you want to do, start at number 1 and go for it. Buy the plane ticket, or make the call, or pack your bag. Like that 70s song, there must be 50 ways to get off the shelf.
Always the Bridesmaid…
If you continue to always stand for election merely as the bridesmaid, honey, face it, you’re never going to be the bride. At this point in your life, you probably have the money to go buy yourself the ring and the dress, and pay for the big party, so stop waiting around for someone else to propose, and sprout some new branches out of that stump.