Who are you? Have you ever been in a job interview and they ask you to tell them about yourself? What is the first thing you would list?
I struggled with this question for a while (still do)! I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a Christian, a massage therapist, a blogger, a business owner, a homeschooler, a team mom, a little league coach, a hyper-organizer (my husband gave me that title), and the list goes on. I am sure you have a similar list. But the question isn’t, “WHAT are you?” The question is, “Who are you?” And after being married for 15 years and having 3 kids, going to college for a million different things, and having several different jobs, I didn’t know who I was anymore.
I would hear women talking about working out or running, gardening or book clubs, PTO volunteering or running their own business and think, “I want to do that! She sounds like she loves what she does!”
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t unhappy at all…just lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do! I didn’t know what my “hobbies” were—oh that was another job interview/application question that I struggled with! I wanted to put down, reading, writing, running, playing basketball, going to the beach, and so on. Truth was, I hadn’t done any of those things in years! I had worked, cleaned, cooked, snuggled with my husband, and played with my kids. While those were/are AWESOME activities, they aren’t really “hobbies”…right?
I was having this conversation with a friend of mine and we decided that a life like this could lead to a bad ending! Shouldn’t our children see us going on dates with our husbands, having coffee with our friends, exercising, laughing and joyful? Wouldn’t we be so much more joyful if we took some time for ourselves? HAHAHA! Yes we laughed! The thought of having time to yourself is funny when you are the mother of a young child, in our cases, young children.
I decided that I was going to start taking time to at least remember the things that used to help me de-stress, some of the things I used to LOVE doing, the things that gave me a little release and comfort. There was no reason to feel guilty about doing things for myself! At first, I remembered that I used to read..a lot. I also used to enjoy taking long, hot bubble baths with a glass of wine, or hot chocolate, or maybe even an ice-cold cherry coke! So, I started combining those things! I would enjoy my bath time after the kids went to bed. I felt guilty because I wasn’t spending much time with my husband, so then I started taking the bath before the kids went to bed! He got his time with them, often rocking them to sleep and putting them to bed. (I would tuck them in when I was done with my bath.)
I started taking a notebook with me to bed and spending a few minutes journaling–not-so-much to remember the day, but to write down ideas I had or things I wanted to do or see or be. Then, I made an “official” list of the things I wanted in order of importance and started thinking what I needed to do in order to accomplish those goals. Some were small like, “Label kitchen drawers” or “organize kids’ clothes so I can find them easier.” Others were bigger, “like pay off credit cards and cars.” Some are really big, “buy a house with several acres of land.”
Naturally, I haven’t accomplished all of my goals, yet, but to my surprise, I seem to be knocking them out way faster than I thought! I very rarely add to my list, and oddly enough, none of the things on the list have changed! If you knew how fickle I am, you would also know that’s amazing, haha!
My story of getting where I want to be and learning WHO I am is much longer than this, and continues to play out. Since my original searching-of-the-soul, I have quit my job and become a business owner, pulled my kids from the public school system and become a homeschooling mom, started a monthly date night with my husband, and, just last week, I joined a book club!!! There are times when I am discouraged and think nothing is ever going to go my way, then I look around at just how amazingly blessed I already am, and my joy comes back to me!
No matter what it is you want to do with your life, make sure your write down your aspirations and goals! Work on them while doing whatever it is that is necessary to get you by in the meantime. Find your JOY in what you already have and build on it!