Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A sense of purpose

Thank you all so much for your kind and insightful comments on Monday's post.  I truly appreciated them, and I'm so grateful for the community of inspirational people I've met through blogging and the chance it's given me to continue with "real-world" relationships.

As I was reading through them, I thought I should clarify a couple of things:  I'm happy with where I am now.  The opportunity to be a mother has helped (forced?) me to grow in a lot of ways that, say, graduate school didn't--more patience, for one.  A greater sensitivity to spiritual promptings.  An ability to take more joy in the moment.

What I do want to avoid, however, in my journey as a mother of young children, is losing sight of the forest for all the trees.  I want to continue to develop and expand myself--deliberately.  I know that much of my growth as a person will happen without my realization, but I think there also needs to be concious planning and goal-setting so that where I am in ten years is where I actually want to be, not just where I happened to end up.  Don't get me wrong--I have no plans to be like the mother in The Glass Castle, but I also want to continue my own personal development so that I'm an interesting, engaging woman with interests of my own as my children start to move out of the period where they need my intensive attention.  In other words, I want to be the kind of person that my children want to be around when they're at a point where they're choosing whether they'd like my company or not.  I don't want to be boring.  I don't want to feel lost when this time of intensive mothering is at an end. 

On this note, I loved Kristyn's comment where she said "sometimes I just need something new to get excited about" and then went on to talk about her developing passion for photography, and a goal-setting session where she took the time to write down immediate and future goals.  This really resonated with me, since this is what I think I've been feeling:  I know where I want to end up, but I haven't sat down to clearly outline the steps I need to take to get there.  I'm a very list-oriented person, so something like this is vital for me.  And then to go back to grad school--when I was writing my thesis, Abigail was about seven months old.  I knew I had to very carefully plan my writing time so that it was extremely effective, since I couldn't just sit at the computer for four hours waiting for inspiration.  And just as I outlined that thesis, I need to develop an outline for my life.  Where do I want to be in five years?  Ten?  Fifty?  Where do I want my children to be?  Our family as a whole?  What are the yearly, monthly, and daily things that will help us to achieve those goals?   

So that's what I'm planning to do over the next week or so--some serious reflection, goal-setting, and planning. 

And thank you again for your comments on Monday.  They were exactly what I needed.


Neil said...

Let me be the first to say that I think this is a wonderful idea. And I encourage you put down "skier" as a list of attributes you want to have at 5, 10, and 50 years from now.

Anonymous said...

Abagail would probably vote for "maker of brownies with nuts." Our current Stake President encourages making a list of stewardships and the people impacted by them, setting appropriate goals with once-a-week review and planning session to keep it fresh. Probably no surprise that I've not done more than admire the concept; (I do not have list genes), but it is an approach to consider.

Kristyn said...

Rachael, I'm so glad I could pay it forward! You left a comment on my blog what seems like eons ago when I was also having a somewhat loss of identity. You talked about becoming a well-rounded person and getting out and not being so insular. The comment came at the exact time I needed it and changed my direction of how I approach being a stay at home mom. So really, thanks.

When reading this post I kept thinking about a saying I heard in a church talk on tape once: "When you're comfortable you're not growing; when you're uncomfortable you're growing by leaps and bounds." When I come out of my ruts I then see them as real opportunities for growth. With that in mind, way to go with the goal setting and list making!

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