What do you do?
I have been asked this question 7 gazillion times.
Basically, if I leave the house, someone asks me this question.
Sometimes, all I can do is pause and stare blankly because even though I have been asked this question the aforementioned 7 gazillion times, I still don’t quite know how to answer,
nor have I yet come up a with a satisfactory reply.
What do I do?
Like…..what do I do with my time???
hmmmm…..well I plan meals and buy groceries and pay all of our bills and manage our finances and correspondence and maintain records for Dan’s limited company and put on holidays and family events and go to meetings and take minutes and send e-mails and receive emails and meet with teachers and make appointments and cancel appointments and re-schedule appointments and go to umpteen functions to help Dan represent his firm and do laundry and run up and down the stairs and help my daughter manage her dyslexia and help her with homework and studying and I drive the kids to activities and school and I run errands and sign forms and talk all of my 3 kids through issues that arise and I write a blog and I sometimes do courses online and I write and I write and I write and I read and I read and I did ‘grief recovery’ for a while, and I try to keep us all healthy and active and fit and dressed and organized and calm and happy and I dream and I think and I plan and I clean the kitchen and I make food and I clean the kitchen and I make food and I clean the kitchen and I make food.
Is there a name for that?
I haven’t come up with one, and if I was to start spouting off a list such as this one to my waiting listener it all starts to sound a bit silly and perhaps even a little desperate, and not nearly as impressive as those one word answers that neatly and clearly sum up one’s profession,
like lawyer, doctor, professor, librarian, accountant, or architect.
For a long time, I really struggled with this,
because I am a perfectionist and a high achiever and an academic at heart.
Yet, after having my first baby I left my teaching career
and delved into twelve years of love and grief and family and absolutely consuming domesticity.
And here I sit now, in a bit of a blur,
thinking to myself what just happened?, and
excuse me but how many years did you say have gone by?
Still, for countless significant and beautiful reasons, I do not regret a single moment,
which does not mean to imply that I have not also felt a crisis of identity throughout those years,
or that I have not questioned my worth and contributions, value and purpose, hundreds of times.
Nor has it always mattered that I have been told over and over by my husband and kids that my worth and value are immense and true.
I have often had a hard time believing them,
given that we live in a culture that has a very specific definition of success, and I am surrounded by so many friends and peers who are wondrous examples of that fixed societal definition,
while I have been at home.
I have come to my own definition of success whilst being forced to find my worth separate from a label, and I can so clearly see now the shining radiance in so many around me, regardless of what they ‘do’.
True success, I believe, is all about character and has everything to do with how we move through the world, and less to do with what we do in the world.
It’s about integrity, confidence, and generosity,
and it implies kindness and openness and courage,
traits that take time, tears, commitment and a trust in life to develop.
I understand now, too, that every person’s life trajectory is unique and that none of us are really in a place to judge all of the factors and unique circumstances that may land a person on a particular path.
A better, more interesting question to go around asking people might be,
What do you love to do?
Or even just,
What do you love?
Check out this lovely little video produced in partnership with Travel Alberta to promote the annual Wildflower festival in Waterton, held every June.
Our wonderful friend, Lyndon, opens up the video, and speaks with such joy and passion about what he loves.…..
Something I LOVE is…..
my birthday. I do.
I love deciding that for a whole day I am not going to wash a dish, or cook, or worry, or hurry.
I love savoring wishes and love and connection from all the people that I love.
I love how excited my kids get, almost as excited as if it was their birthdays.
I love how they jump out of their beds in the morning and hop onto ours with wishes and kisses and surprises,
I love the feeling of treating myself and listening to my whims, and I always think,
We ALL need to do this more of this.
If you happen to bump into me tomorrow,
I will likely be sipping my London Fog in Chapters with Dan and the kids, or I will be perusing the books for an extra long time, or I might be checking out the lovely wares at the Christmas artisan fairs while getting terribly excited about Christmas, or perhaps I will be enjoying a gorgeous dinner out with my family.
How lucky am I?
The best is yet to come…….