Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Finding your passion

I've never found one grand passion, I've never felt a calling, I've never felt the need to devote most of my energies to a singular cause. I'm passionate about a lot of things: my kids, my husband, travel, sunshine, warmth, sailing, the beach, food; and I can get passionate about a lot of other things: politics, social justice, America's role in the world, gun control, child care and family leave, work-life balance, immigrant rights, and much, much more. Just give me a chance to hop on my soap box and I'll start preaching.

That said, I do not have a specific, career-worthy passion. In our society where people like to know "so, what do you do?" and where caregiving is a devalued occupation, I find it hard to determine how to live my life in a way that makes me happy. Since I've become a mother I've struggled to define my new identity and and settle into that role. I am uncomfortable with that fact that merely having the room to think about my identity is a luxury when many moms are struggling to feed their kids and provide them with a safe place to live. But life is all relative and my "struggle" is real--to me at least.

But in the past six months I've settled into and embraced my identity as a full-time, stay-at-home mom more than ever. I'm Susy Homemaker at times and I'm drinking white wine in the sun on the back deck at 3 in the afternoon at other times. The kids are happy and thriving and I'm (finally) learning to just kick back and enjoy what I have instead of trying to define it.

I see lots of "life is too short" quotes on the internet. Similar to this:

Which lead me to think, life is too short, I should do what I want and do what makes me happy. ....

Thanks for the pic !!

Yet, there's a reason we quit cruising back in 2009. (Well, yes, we were indeed running out of money, but it was a little more thoughtful than that.) We knew we wanted to do more than be boat bums. We knew we couldn't just kick around the Caribbean indefinitely waiting for plans to develop. (My only plan was to fill a cooler with beer, drag it to a beach that didn't have a beach bar and sell them for $2 a pop. A profitable idea but not much room for upward movement.)

These quotes about living the life you want have always clashed with my desire to actually do something. Can I reconcile doing what I want with being a productive member of society? Can I reconcile the two without having a "passion?"

Yes. Yes! As the girls get older and I have a little more time to breath and think beyond snack and nap schedules and playdates, I'm brainstorming what I can do to make myself happy. Can I have my cake and eat it too? Yes!

Being happy isn't just relaxing on white sand beaches. I do need warmth and sunshine and water and sailboats to be happy, but I also need a little more. I need connection with my community. I need to feel like I am contributing to my community. And while that sounds like work, (and how can work be fun if I don't have a passion?), one of my passions is being with people and engaging with people (people that are bigger than 3 feet tall).

Not sure what or how yet, but I'm tossing around ideas and researching different organizations, and finding ways to get involved and expand my horizons. I'm finding balance in my life and, maybe, just maybe, I'll find a new passion as well.