pur·pose: The reason for which something exists, or is done, made, used, etc.
So this is a pretty sensitive subject. I already know that, diving in. I’m literally eye-rolling right now as I feel the need to write a preface, but here goes: I do NOT miss my last job. I am beyond thankful to be able to do what I do from home while caring for children. I am so blessed to have a supportive husband and family. I love my children with all that I am. I know they are a gift. I wouldn’t trade this job for anything in the world.
Now that we have that out-of-the-way, let’s get down and dirty.
How many of you are in your late 20s, 30s or even 40s searching for purpose, again? Let me explain. Some of you may have already experienced your dream job. Taken your career as high as you were willing to take it, or able to take it. Decided there is more to life and switched gears. You may have taken a few detours. Of course, you tackle the obstacles. However, every so often, you start searching again. Or maybe you haven’t been brave enough to go after your dream job, yet. Either way, your passions may have changed, and sometimes your purpose is lost…
I remember my mom told me not to marry or make any big decisions in my early 20s. She said my tastes, wants, and needs would change so much. She said what I want at 18, I wouldn’t want at 21. And what I want at 21 I wouldn’t need at 28. In my 20s she told me to: Wait. Experience. Explore. It was some of the best advice I ever received and I’m so glad I listened to her, especially in the marriage department.
In the business field, I dove right into my career at 22 and spent 10 years moving, changing positions, challenging myself, tackling obstacles and chasing dreams. A decade later, I took a detour. Tackled new obstacles. And searched for new dreams. Yet, I’ll admit my passions have changed, and my purpose is much harder to define.
Let me speak candidly to the parents out there, because that’s who I identify with most these days. Holler at me if you’ve cleaned your third dirty butt by 9:24 am and as you’re throwing away the sewage sack you think to yourself, is this it? Then, you work so hard (okay, you spent 4 minutes) fixing a balanced breakfast only to listen to your toddler scream at you “THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANT!” You walk back to the fridge, completely defeated, and attempt to restart an entirely new meal. You close the fridge door and wonder, is there more to life than this? The doorbell rings, and your herd races to the door knocking one another over. After you see it’s just the UPS man, you turn around with a sigh of relief because you have no bra on, have 2-day old mascara smeared under your eyes, and your breath smells like death. You glance in the mirror and sigh again this time in self-pity and think, remember when I was somewhat put together?
Wiping butts, noses, breaking up fights, feeding the kids, cleaning the kids, feeding the kids, cleaning the kids again…do any of you stop and say: okay, I know I signed up for this, but I wish I could find something that gave me a meaningful purpose again? A challenge from this thankless job.
I know this is a touchy subject. I can hear people cringing. All the stay-at-home parents feel like — duh! this IS a fulfilling job, and you’re a terrible mother for thinking it’s not. (eye roll emoji) The work-away-from-home parents say, stop complaining…I have to work 8 hours a day and then try to squeeze in a couple of hours with my kids before they crash. Hey! I’ve been there. It is HARD. But even with a full-time job and a family, pets, friends whatever you have to manage…do you ever wonder, what the hell am I doing?
I think finding a new purpose in your 30s or 40s is legitimate. I also think finding purpose in parenting is crucial. They go hand in hand. I often think to myself, I need to take up yoga or meditating. Yogis seem to have their S together and are all zen-like. Life is a struggle. I honestly thought soul-searching ended in your late 20s, definitely by your early 30s. But maybe it’s all cyclical. Or, maybe I’m a hormonal woman pregnant for the third time in 3 years. Like I said, cyclical.
Let’s be honest with one another. Let’s quit tearing each other apart. I’m amazed at how hard people are on others. I’m sick of reading all the negative crap on the Internet. Tired of the complaining and the whining. We are all in this thing together. It’s a really bold thing to admit you’ve lost your purpose. It leaves you vulnerable and somewhat naked. So let’s celebrate those who are strong enough to say it out loud. Even better, the ones who are brave enough to change their focus toward a new purpose. It’s easy to be stagnant, it’s much more difficult to do some self-reflecting and make legitimate changes. I believe it keeps us hungry and on our toes…not to mention, makes life more interesting.
Whether you’re single, married, divorced, a parent to kids, a parent to dogs…Step back. Pause. Think.
What, exactly, is MY purpose?
martyMay 7, 2016 at 9:25 am
Shanisty, this is a brilliant piece of writing! Hitting that nail on the head several times throughout this latest chapter in your life and reflecting back and skillfully bringing it relevance.
I think we have all felt this way in our own individual lives a time or two. I know I have……
Thanks for sharing your story with us and please do not stop writing.
ShanistyMay 7, 2016 at 9:43 am
Thank you!! Means a lot to hear that.
Ronnie JonesMay 7, 2016 at 11:44 am
Your right on Shanisty
ShanistyMay 9, 2016 at 7:22 am
Ben BMay 7, 2016 at 12:13 pm
My purpose has become fitness. It has not always been my purpose or even a thought. I burn for the soreness/pain I’m feeling after completing my first 5k today. AND I realize some people think this is a stupid or shallow “purpose” to have, BUT I’ve figured out that my purpose is MY PURPOSE & I don’t give a damn about anybody else’s opinion on what “my purpose” should be, neither should you. If you find happiness and your family supports you, then you’re there. I know you and soon you will realize your purpose. Love and miss you Shan. Keep writing (I love reading it)
ShanistyMay 9, 2016 at 7:22 am
We are really proud of you, Ben…as is all of your family and friends. Keep at it! I know it’s not easy everyday…but it’s so inspiring that you’ve found something that makes you so happy! We miss you. I think Jeff is going to take a trip down soon.
melissacrabtree1212May 8, 2016 at 7:16 am
Shanisty, I’m blown away by your talent! Your writing is Sincere, Honest and Inspiring.
ShanistyMay 9, 2016 at 7:21 am
Thanks a lot, Melissa! I hope you are doing well these days. It’s been a long time! 🙂