Catalysts

So, exactly what kept me from publishing my first blog post has kept me from, until now, publishing a subsequent post.  There is a large project going on at work, three girls starting and falling into the rhythm of school, Labor Day weekend, life.

Life gets in the way, doesn’t it?  Not the moments where you are engaged, not when you are doing things that are fulfilling, satisfying or enjoyable, but all of the things that happen around those moments.  When you are scrambling through, hitting snooze on the alarm, ushering children out the door and into their days, running late for work, eating lunch at your desk, leaving mere seconds before the kids need to be picked up at school, getting home to perform the endless tasks of laundry and cleaning, prepping for dinner, coaxing everyone through dinner, doing the dishes, putting the kids to bed; paying the passing days, and the wasted time in them, no attention at all.  In a round-about way, life getting in the way and time slipping away unheeded prompted me to start thinking about writing again.

2016 was a tough year.  The challenges that year brought are thoughts for another day, but one thing 2016 will always stand for for me was that it made me question a whole hell of a lot.

For Christmas I received “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero as a gift.  This book was a catalyst for me.  It sparked a movement towards general change.  If you are looking for motivation, this book likely will cause you to start thinking a little differently and I highly recommend it.

What I discovered in reading this book was that I harbored a mix of discontentment, frustration, dissatisfaction; I felt unfulfilled in an area that I couldn’t quite pinpoint.  I hesitated to say these sorts of things out loud, or at least outside of the circle of a few close friends, because that would likely warrant plenty of unsolicited advice about being grateful for what I had and reminders of those who were less fortunate than I.  But you know what?  There are plenty of people out there chasing – what they are chasing varies from person to person, but chasing something.  Why not me?  I wanted to change my own status quo.

In December 2016, I sat down with three close friends who were feeling similarly to how I felt – overwhelmed, unfulfilled, looking for “more”.  We had consistently been each other’s sounding boards, each other’s support system, for years and were in similar seasons of our lives.  We had stumbled upon a workbook, the YearCompass; I forget how now, but the idea behind the workbook was that you would gather with your friends over tea (or cocktails) and have a great time analyzing the previous year and your accomplishments, your goals and your direction; the second half of the workbook focused on your goals and vision for the year ahead.

What I discovered in the first half of this workbook was a punch in the gut; I walked away from this exercise feeling a mix of shock, disappointment and sadness.  I catalogued 2016 week by week; of the standout moments, my children and husband were center stage.  Which was absolutely wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but I couldn’t list one goal or passion that was mine and mine alone – I could list my daughters’ accomplishments, the leaps and strides my husband had taken in his new career and his achievement in winning the Vermont Amateur – but I could not list one goal or accomplishment I had attained nor could I drum up a passion that I had.  I had nothing to add to the highlight reel, nothing notable of any measure.  I took time out to enjoy with my friends, I had taken a real interest in mountain biking, but I had no goals, no vision, no real successes.  In 2016, and for many years prior, my family was the sun and I orbited around both them and my career.  One section of the worksheet asked what the biggest thing that I had completed was, and the only thing I could come up with was a painting for my daughter’s bedroom.  One singular thing that surely didn’t deserve its spot on that particular page.

After absorbing this realization for some time (because let’s face it, our lives are not built for reflection and analyzing given their pace and everything else that begs our attention) it was clear to me that it was no wonder I was feeling shiftless, frustrated, unfulfilled and just a bit lost.  This is not to say that your passion and goals cannot be entirely wrapped within your family; if it is for you, embrace it.  This was simply my awakening to the realization that mine, after so many years of focusing solely on family and my career, were not.

So, I set out to find that spark, a passion, goals and a vision that I could define as truly my own.  I’ll take you down the rabbit hole in my next post.  Until then, share with me in the comments – what sorts of goals and passions do you set for yourself outside of your family and your career?  Something that is one hundred percent solely for you.

2 thoughts on “Catalysts”

  1. I love reading your entry today. It’s so easy to relate. I also struggle to define my life without the accomplishments of my family. I have been reading “Badass” and I agree that so many of us harbour old insight as to why we shouldn’t have goals outside of family and career. I am starting to understand the importance of having my own identity because 2 of the three kids are now at college. I mean, it’s hardly a choice! I will have to “be” or “do” something… I have to figure out what fulfills my life. My family has been my focus for so long that I don’t even reconize myself without them! The struggles are real! Thanks for putting in writing and sharing!

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