One quarter of 2014 is gone. It all happens so fast when you don't mark the days by workday and weekend.
My Sista Perfectionista and I were talking last week about how our time not working has allowed for more reflection on finding a life of purpose. This is not a new discussion for her and I. We talk about how your life's purpose does not have to have anything to do with your work. Your work can be the paycheck that supports your life's purpose--whether that is painting or travel or breeding dogs. Your purpose may lie in volunteering, baking, helping friends, knitting, raising children--the list goes on and on.
I often think of my dad, who died in 2010 because I wonder what he would say about this sort of
conversation. he worked, sometimes three jobs, when I was a kid, and weekends were spent building things, working, swimming in the pool, reading. I always though he had it pretty well balanced. At least on the outside, that is what it looked like.
My dad was still working, consulting, more hours than he did when he was a VP of an Insurance Company, at 67. When I asked him about retirement he used to say, "I keep trying to work less, but people keep coming to me with interesting projects. I give them some ridiculous salary demand and they say ok. The money and projects are just too good to say no to for now. When that changes, maybe then I will retire."
He passed suddenly after an undiagnosed cancer slowly ate away at his body. He took a leave from some of the projects he was working on near the end. He was tired. He couldn't sleep. He traveled some, looking for relief and to reset what he thought was supposed to be "normal" since his doctor was not worried and continued to treat only the symptoms. He sought alternative health care options because the indifference of his physician led him to believe that whatever was going on was not within the realm of Western medicine to manage.
So when I think of purpose, I see in my dad's example, the need to be financially secure. I get that. He came from a family where money meant security. There wasn't a lot of it then. Money meant success. Stuff meant you had it all. I see also a desire to use his creative energy to help people with a need. He was brilliant and well spoken and was ok with offering up his thoughts for dollars and then letting whoever paid him decide what to do with the information. It didn't impact him. I don't think he would have done it for the money alone. There was the creative, problem solving side that he loved.
Any job I have had I have applied myself passionately to the purpose and outcome. This is why I have had two breakdowns. I just cannot manage to reconcile what the organizations say, and what they do. I feel moral outrage and the offence is so deep it eats at my core. I am not able to "let it go" --or I haven't been--and I am not sure I will ever be able to see my job as just a job.
So what I proposed to my Sista Perfectionista when we hunkered down on the couch was that perhaps my
path lies in living my purpose. And by that I mean, doing something that makes money, that is also part of my life....in a good way. Examples would be foster parenting, breeding/boarding/grooming animals, doing Reiki or wellness training from my home. All of these things are lifestyle jobs where you are your own boss and are part of your life...not something you try to turn off at 5 pm and pick up again at 9 am.
Sista thinks that work should be just that. It can be whatever --- but involves only the 8 hours you are there and then you have your "life" outside that. It is way easier to get a job doing something that makes good money and then use the resources you make to live the life you want.
That feels like the easier answer for sure. But I go back to the realization I had recently:
I would rather have an hour of bliss every day than 2 weeks of bliss every year.
I want to live my purpose every day. I want to be ABLE to put my passion behind what I do for 8 hours a day because I believe in it...because I believe I am making a difference...because I feel the worth...see the impact...connect with the universe.
Fear, is what often holds us back from tackling such things. Working for yourself doesn't provide the cozy matched pension plan, the great benefits----that have allowed me this time off work, the prescription medication I need to get stable and access to therapists, hospital programs and naturopaths and massage therapy. Yet, here I am. Wondering, wondering, wondering.
Can I live my passion? Every day? Can it be what I do AS WELL AS who I am?
I did feel like that when I started at the Library. I did feel I was living my passion....reviewing
books...creating a collection for the customers. Connecting with words and themes and customers at a distance. But since then, my job has turned into vendor management, and numbers, and statistics and budgets and databases. There are some very interesting aspects, and some of it I enjoy --but it is not my passion....it is not my purpose....the energy is just not there. I give it...but I do not feel it come back.
So...what do I do? I will continue, for now, to live with these thoughts. Just let them come and go and try not to judge. Return to work is still an unknown timeline away....and it is not a prison. I can leave it any time if it is not working for me. I have to remember that.
Off to Body Flow..will see if my body will flow all bruised and yellow today from my slip and fall on my birthday. Getting old ....