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The Curious Path to the Life You Really Want

By Linda Wattier September 16, 2023 Lifestyle

Something big was afoot.

Bored out of my mind and tired of the daily grind, I couldn’t muster up even one ounce of enthusiasm. My work in the corporate world had become meaningless. I knew I had reached a significant turning point.

In the mornings, my husband and I would laugh when, all “armored up” and ready to leave, I would rest my head on his chest and moan, “Please don’t make me go to work today.”

But this was no joke.

Have you ever realized you no longer fit into your chosen work environment? The one where you’d been performing well and cheerfully earning a living for years. The one with the great benefits package. In the brand new, art-filled building on the stunning campus.


That was me about 15 years ago. It was kind of terrifying.

The torrent of questions seemed endless. How the hell did I get here? Why do I feel so uneasy? What the hell should I do now?

I had no answers but sensed it was necessary to stay with the questions, be present with the not-knowing, and remain curious.

There was mental fog and confusion, so I did the only thing that made sense.

I got quiet.

I slowed down the hectic busyness of my life so I could listen for the answers to all those questions.

Somewhere along the way, I had given up on my sense of wonder and openness. I had opted for the “right” answers and solutions instead. The ones that would help me fit in.

So, I wanted to venture into this unknown territory and come up with all my possibilities, not just the “right” ones.

Life’s Big Questions

“What do I really, really want in life?” That was the question that started me on a new path. At first, what I heard was, “I just want some peace and quiet.”

Eventually, I understood that yearning for peace and quiet was a call to self-discovery. What I really needed was space to change and grow.

So, I became curious about where I wanted to grow.

That’s when some of the larger-than-life questions came up. Who am I, really? Who am I becoming? Why am I here?

It was staying open to the questions that led to crucial new learning. The kind of learning that lasts because it comes from within.

I found myself making new lifestyle choices that turned into healthy habits.

I became curious about new creative activities like nature photography.

I explored meditation and other spiritual practices.

Curiosity and inquiry also led to my professional coaching education, which turned out to be one of the most valuable experiences of my life.

My rekindled sense of wonder guided me back to my true self and innate creativity. Curiosity continues to be my starting place as I grow in understanding of myself, others, and our natural world.

How Curiosity Serves You

  • Embracing curiosity empowers us by expanding possibilities and opportunities in any situation.
  • Curiosity builds relationships. Being authentically curious about another invites them to reveal themselves candidly, so you make a genuine connection.
  • Choosing to view our natural world with wonder and curiosity refreshes the spirit.
  • There is power in not knowing. Venturing into the unknown has a sense of possibility and freedom to it.
  • As my mentor Brian Clark writes, “Just like having a lot of ideas is the way to have a great idea, being curious about a lot of things leads to a lot of ideas that can result in the perfect way forward for you.”
  • Curious people are happier. Studies have found that curiosity is linked to feeling more positive, less anxious, more satisfied with life, and having better mental health.

In the words of author Elizabeth Gilbert, “The trick is to just follow your small moments of curiosity. It doesn’t take a massive effort. Just turn your head an inch. Pause for an instant. Respond to what has caught your attention. Look into it a bit. Is there something there for you? A piece of information?”

She also says it’s like “a scavenger hunt – where each successive clue is another tiny little hit of curiosity. You pick each one up, unfold it, and see where it leads you next.”

If you keep doing that, curiosity will lead you to creativity.

And that will be the end of boredom.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

I’d love to know: Are you going through a transition that has you pondering big questions? Have you asked yourself who you are becoming or what you really want in your next chapter? Where has curiosity led you lately?

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I have been in transition for a few years. I was a successful senior executive operating a multi million dollar business! A life changing motorcycle accident has me pondering several big questions. And yes… I have asked myself who am I? What is my purpose in life? What is my next chapter going to be in life as a widow?

I started to volunteer at our Children’s Hospital. First in the gift shop and my Tuesday training will help me in my new assignment in the NICU as a baby cuddler! This has been the most fulfilling!

Linda Wattier

Thanks for reading, Beverly. All your work and life experiences will serve you well going forward. Volunteering at the hospital is a great idea. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a NICU baby cuddler…


‘The trick is to just follow your small moments of curiosity’. I like that.

America Gordon

Yes. That line resonated with me. Just takes a second or two…

Linda Wattier

Thanks for reading, America.

Linda Wattier

Thanks for reading, Jena.

Eileen Johnson

I looked back on some things I have admired or was curious about through the years . Mosaic glass was one of them. I took a beginner Mosaic glass art class. I am now making garden art with this new founded technique. It is strengthening my creative self!

Linda Wattier

It’s so good to hear that, Eileen. It’s never too late to strengthen our creative selves. Thanks for reading. :-)

Rhona Bronson

Timely discussion for me as I have been working with a business and leadership coach who has introduced the concept of “Curiosity leadership” to help me work with one of my staff. Instead of correcting, I now say, “I curious why you did what you did, or what you were thinkining,” in order to start a conversation. This post is about starting a conversation with yourself, which is pertinent to me as well as I have put in for retirement and need to explore my next steps in life, but for now both professionally and personally, the best I can do is stay curious.

Linda Wattier

I agree with your coach, Rhonda. Curiosity is the best way to start a conversation with another. And yes, this post is about a conversation with yourself. All the best to you start thinking about your next chapter. Keep exploring and thanks for reading. :-)

Linda Wattier

Oops! I’m sorry, Rhona, I got your name wrong in my comment earlier. All the best.

Linda Ruby

What if all that is true but basically a person is depressed?
And nothing seems to work.
Pills – potions or whatever?

Linda Wattier

Dear Linda:

Although I’m not a medical professional or therapist, I know something about depression, having experienced it myself. Unfortunately, mental health conditions are prevalent in my family of origin, so I understand what it’s like.

My bouts of depression made me mentally and physically sluggish. I couldn’t experience pleasure as everything looked grey like all the color had faded from my world. Although I was able to work and had loving family and friends, I felt terribly alone most of the time.

It’s almost impossible to look forward to anything, be positive, or experience curiosity when we feel like that.

It’s like the light inside you is hidden by layers of black soot that must be rubbed away before your light can shine. Our work is to relieve at least some of the depression before we can tap back into our curiosity, creativity, and joy.

I had to call on my courage and keep trying, even when I wanted to give up. In the end, a combination of medicine and therapy worked for me. But the way to healing is different for everyone.

I searched the word “depression” here at Sixty & Me to see what others had to say and found a lot of wisdom. Here’s one excellent article that resonates:

Also, I think this is good advice on what to say (or not say) to someone with depression:

Whether you’re the one feeling depressed or you’d like to help someone else who is, I would say: Please don’t ever give up, no matter how gloomy things seem. There are so many healing modalities to try, and you never know what will finally work for you unless you keep trying. If I can do it, you can too.

Your light was never meant to be extinguished and one fine day it will shine bright again.

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The Author

Linda Wattier helps women over 40 embrace wholehearted living for a more authentic, fulfilling experience of midlife and beyond. She’s a women’s bold wellbeing coach and founder of How She Thrives, a free weekly newsletter on how to keep growing brave, strong, and free in the second half of life.

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