Last week I travelled to New England for my mother's Celebration of Life services. It had been a rough year as both my mom and sister passed away within seven months of each other. During this time of grief I did a lot of thinking. Most significantly- life is very short. While both my mom and sister died of devastating deseases, the reality is that even healthy people die unexpectedly. Countless accidents take lives every day. My mom often asked, "What is my purpose? Why am I here?" This question used to bother me. After all, wasn't it obvious? She had children, grandchildren, loves, interests, friends, jobs, hobbies... Why wasn't that enough? How couldn't she know? I think I'm starting to understand.
One thing is for sure, I have been wondering the same thing about myself. However, for me I have a career, family, friends, activities. I love so many things about this world; nature, music, yoga, entertainment, laughing, being with friends, fresh air, reading and writing. But I am not content in how I'm spending my time on this planet. I want more.
Part of these feelings have come directly from my New Year's Realignment to pay attention to what it is that I really enjoy and what I really want to do. It has sparked a new topic for this blog and one that I plan to develop into a new book. As I crossed over into this mid-life life of mine, I began wondering about what I feel, what I want and what makes me happy. I have been reading, researching and thinking about this a lot lately. I have a really wonderful job as a psychologist working in the school setting. I help lots of students and families. I help teachers and administrators. I love what I do.
But there is another desire nagging at my heart. I love to write. I want to spend more of my time writing. When I don't get the opportunity to write, I feel disappionted, tense and at times resentful of those other obligations. When I write I feel content, and like I am doing good work then too. I love to inspire people to do exactly what I'm doing now; embrace who they are and live life to the fullest. Live in the moment and not on auto-pilot. Do what needs to be done so that there is no feeling of being "stuck". The reality is that we may not always be able to change our jobs or career, but we are able to choose to do the things we love to do when we can. And sometimes, if we want it badly enough, we can change our jobs or careers.
Part of my realignment is to reintroduce myself to me- to learn who I really am. I have been inspired by The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. One of the things she set out to do on her project was "Be Gretchen". I am working on giving myself permission to "Be Wendy"... and to be OK with that. To embrace it. To love it. To shoot for the stars with it!
One thing is for certain. Life is short. I am touched by my mom's spiritual question at the end of her life and it has compelled me to realize that I am in the middle of mine and to come to an agreement with myself about how I want to spend whatever time I have left here in a mindful way. I know I would like to spend a lot of it doing the things I love. Sure, there are many things that are not pleasant that must be done, but at least finding balance to include enjoying life and the wonder it has to offer is key for me.
Thank you, Mom. You have inspired me more than you know.
I hope to inspire others to do the same. How will you spend your time? What activities would make your heart happy? How will you get to know yourself again? What are you already doing? Enjoy the journey and the happiness it brings. Please feel free to share your thoughts!