What is your WHY?
For life, for doing the things you do, for spending your time the way you spend it, for every decision you make.
Mine is simple: My family.
Is that a cop-out answer? Has it almost become cliche to say we do everything we do for the sacred, no-one-can-question-this-answer answer?
Yes. But it’s OK because it’s true, and truth is what I hope we all end up finding, someday, sooner rather than later.
My answer explained:
I go to work every day to earn a paycheck. At other times in my life, work has been more to me personally. It’s been fulfilling, rewarding, challenging. At this point in my life, I go to work at a very good job in a very nice office with very nice people, for one major reason: to pay our bills.
To pay for our house and our food and our car with three rows of seats because yes, our family is that big now. But also to live our lives with some freedom to buy a new shirt at Target if I want to, to get my hair done, to pay for my daughter’s gymnastics and my son’s football and trips and occasional dinners out and Netflix and, yes, a thrift-store couch that really none of us like but we can’t afford $1,000 to buy a brand new one.
That is why I leave my babies every morning and walk out with pieces of my heart clutched in their hands. That is why I rush each morning in the shower to get done, hurry, go, before the littlest baby wakes up.
Because it’s just easier to leave without her seeing me at all.
That, when I let myself really think about, makes me sick to my stomach.
So I have this good job that provides for my family and allows my husband to work on his work while also shouldering most of the parenting load.
And we are so thankful for that.
Yet my babies at home asleep and awake and at school and not and me not there. It’s too much to bear. Sometimes.
Yet, unless we make a change, unless we are brave enough to start taking steps, even tiny ones, to make a change, this great big life will keep spinning largely out of our control exactly as it is.
So here’s my real why for waking up each day: My family.
It does go back to that.
Here’s how I would spend my time, for my family, if I could:
1. I’d be home when my babies a.) wake up and b.) get home from school.
2. I would devote two hours every day to writing. That is the work, the soul-searching, gut-wrenching, never-easy, fulfilling work I crave. I can be a successful writer. I believe in myself and my ability in that realm.
3. I would practice yoga daily.
That’s it. I don’t need a luxury car (in fact, if I had my choice, I’d drive a used Hyundai Santa Fe with a sunroof for the rest of my life and be oh-so-happy!). I don’t want an expensive wardrobe (see number three above). I don’t even want an expensive house (though I would happily take one with a bedroom for each child and a pantry in the kitchen and a linen closet to store our sheets and towels).
So I’m taking a chance. I’m leaping with my arms wide and believing in myself. Brave boots are on, and I’ve committed to being excited about becoming my greatest possibility. Our greatest possibility. For my family. For me. For my friends and loved ones and people I haven’t even met yet, who are willing to leap with me. Because we believe in ourselves. Because we believe we can have better tomorrows with more freedom, with more time to be there for our families, to write best-sellers, to wear yoga pants and mean it.
These next several months are going to be challenging. Between the kids’ activities and school starting and the baby who will walk any day now, I have the very good full-time job that pays the bills, a part-time job with work I truly believe in and a business opportunity that I’m so excited about I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. This fall, my husband will be an integral part of a poetry bookstore/creative space opening up in the heart of downtown where we live, he’ll continue as a City Councilman and I’ll finally realize my dream of becoming yoga teacher certified.
It is a hill we are climbing, but it is the hill of our lifetime. And it is worth it.