I'm worked up tonight, but in a good way. I have a ball of energy in my belly, and for once, it's not a ball of anxiety. I need to write so that I can actually get some sleep!
As it was raining on Saturday, we had to make a last minute change to our plans to hike Rhododendron State Forest with my sister. Instead, we took a trip down to Mass to visit The Butterfly Place. We let Charlie choose where to have lunch and, of course, ended up at McDonald's. Then, since we were right there, we decided to head to the mall to do a little walking/window shopping. When we walked into Target and I discovered that they had rearranged the store so that the books are now right next to the entrance, Chris and Andrea were on their own with the boys for a bit. I was happy browsing until I saw Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project and had to have it. This book has been been written up in several of my magazines and it was actually on my list of books to request from the library. Now, it's mine!
In The Happiness Project, Rubin chronicles her decision to dedicate a year of her life to what she calls her "Happiness Project." She had come to the conclusion that she wasn't unhappy, but she wasn't as happy as she felt she could be with her life. She felt like she was taking her life for granted and decided it was time to change that. She selected 12 areas of her life that she wanted to improve and dedicated one month to each area (i.e. January - energy, February - marriage, March - work).
I'm now on Chapter 3 (work) and I feel like the author is speaking to me! This book is so what I need to be reading right now. I feel like her personality is similar to mine (she's a list-maker and writes about her need to collect "gold stars") and her thoughts and fears are those that run through my head all the time (Is it selfish to spend so much time and energy on one's own happiness? - Rubin decided that it's not because by making herself happy, it was easier for her to make others happy as well.)
Rubin writes that she had recently made a career shift from law to writing so choosing a profession was not the center of her project. However, because happiness is so directly connected to work, choosing the right career might be the focus of someone's else project.
Now, I, too, have recently made a huge career change, and as much as I love being a mother and relish the fact that I am able to stay home with my children, I know that being a mother is not my sole purpose in life. It is not my passion. Growing up, I wasn't a little girl that played "house." I played "teacher" or "doctor" or "lawyer" and my husband stayed home with the kids. I had huge dreams for myself in which I was the main or sole breadwinner of the family. I know I shocked some friends as well as myself when I made the decision to stay at home with my children.
What I'm feeling about my life right now is very hard to articulate. I don't want to belittle motherhood. It's got to be the hardest and most rewarding position I've had. By no means do I want to give this job up. But at the same time, I'm not growing in this position. There is no room for promotion, there are no "gold stars." There is no reward for "Best Mom." And most days, I would reward myself "Worst Mom"! What I need is something to supplement motherhood. I need to discover what my passion in life is.
Passion has been a recurring theme in my life lately. I first started thinking about it while watching Oprah's finale. She said, "We are all called. Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it. Every time we have seen a person on this stage who is a success in their life, they spoke of the job, and they spoke of the juice that they receive from doing what they knew they were meant to be doing." Oprah
So I suppose that for now my passion in life is to discover what exactly my passion is. I know something is missing. I'm bored, I'm depressed, I'm not as happy in my life as I want to be. I feel like I don't appreciate my family, my house, my opportunities, my life the way I should.
I'm ready to make a change.