Epictetus’ wisdom on expecting that and accepting responsibility for it will take you far, but having diverse sources of joy and meaning will protect you from falling too far into the depths of misery when something unforeseeable disrupts your life in a way that’s intimately challenging.
How to Avoid a Life of Misery
Zat Rana

I retired three years ago from a career that consumed my every waking moment. My life was divided into three roles — Educator , Mother, Wife. There was nothing else. There was no time for anything else. I thought that by retiring I would be able to find me again. To return to the things that I loved just for me. But instead I was plunged into a deep depression. A depression that got darker as my roles began to fall away. My children had become adults . The Mother role was changing and I was in mourning for this loss too. I thought that my husband and I would return to each other now that the children could take care of themselves and we had no jobs to go to. But the distance between us that those things used to fill seems as wide as the Grand Canyon. We have grown apart as our resentments have grown bigger. I have felt like a leaf blowing in the wind, lost and untethered. The words you wrote in this post have stopped me in my tracks. I understand what has happened to me. I had all of my eggs in three baskets full of holes. My joy and meaning leaked out and nourished my students and my family. But there was nothing left for me. I didn’t set aside anything that was just for me. I gave all of those things up for others. I lost the joys they gave me and I allowed them to become meaningless in comparison to what I saw as my new purpose. I gave up my responsibility to myself. I neglected me. I have to go back to where I abandoned myself and remember what I loved and what loved me. I feel so much better now. Thank you.

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