I'm preoccupied with purpose. You might even say I'm consumed. It's been brewing for quite some time (likely around the time I decided to leave academia and stay home with Yogi), but it has really launched into fever pitch since the new year began.
At 25 days into 2012, I have spent the bulk (maybe ALL?) of my non-Yogi, non-wife, non-task driven time thinking about this question of purpose.
What am I here to do?
How should I prepare myself for what comes next?
How am I using what I've got to contribute to something meaningful?
Being home with Yogi and nurturing my family was and is a decision that's all about purpose. I spent years (and I do mean YEARS) preparing for the career I left to stay home and the decision wasn't an easy one. It was scary to take such a risk (what if I couldn't get back in the game?), but at a certain point it was clear. There is no other way to say it. I thought and thought and prayed and meditated and prayed and talked endlessly with my wife and then there it was. The answer.
I would hop off the career track and stay home with the baby.
It was right for my family.
It was right for me.
I'm not sure who it was that said it, but I love the idea of living life on purpose. It is a kind of inner-directed purpose that has driven every major decision in my life. Again and again I have followed this pattern of being faced with the question of what to do next, turning it over and over and over in my mind and then suddenly (poof!) the answer just comes.
It doesn't come when I call it, but it does come and when it does, everything is clear. Just like that. I know what I'm meant to do and I move forward trusting deeply in the rightness of it. I'm telling you this because I haven't gotten to the clarity with this one yet . I'm probably not even close. Here's what I know for sure so far:
I won't be home forever. Yogi and Monkey will go to pre-school and then onto regular school and I will have increasingly empty spaces in my day.
Bringing actual money into this house would (in spite of all I know about the value I am bringing now) feel fabulous. I like to pitch in and do my part and making a financial contribution is very safe space for me. The fact that I am emotionally capable of allowing my wife to shoulder the financial burden for our family is one of the most significant statements of the degree of trust and safety I have in this relationship. It's a big deal. I'm totally weird about money.
I want to find (create?) work that will allow me significant flexibility. Not only am I impossibly independent and off the charts on “need for autonomy”, but I have kids. I would love to be home after school and available for meetings and field trips and whatever it is that happens at school.
I want to write something that lots of people will read. Something that is meaningful and maybe even useful. Something that has to do with families like ours.
STRANGE REAL-TIME INTERRUPTION
I am writing this in a coffee shop and was pausing after that last sentence when I started tuning into the conversation at the next table. Beside me is a maybe 8 year old girl with her father. They have been working on what looks like some kind of school assignment for the last little bit. I just realized that the little girl is reading a passage over and over and this is what it is:
Ask, and it shall be given you
Seek, and ye shall find
Knock, and it shall be opened unto you
Now they are discussing it. How crazy is that?!!!
BACK TO THE ACTUAL POST
The trouble is that I'm not sure what that looks like yet. What form it might take. I'm wrestling with it and although whatever change comes will be a few years off, I want to be ready for it. I like to be prepared, to have the ground work all laid out.
But.... I'm not there yet. For now, I'm just making myself available for what comes. I guess what I'm doing is asking and seeking and knocking. That sounds pretty zen, doesn't it? Only because you can't hear my fingers tapping on the table beside the keyboard.