Picture taken by my friend Cyndi Leos....thank you Cyndi.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The stop and starts of a purposeful life...

I have always been one who takes time to contemplate my life. What direction my life is taking, where my life is and if my direction is on course...  But, some times, like now, with everything going on with my Father's Alzheimer's, and him living in a nursing home, it kind of puts most things on hold.  It's a kind of grieving process I think.  There is a definite sense of loss whirling around me.

I feel most invigorated when I have a plan and a goal. When I feel like my life's train has slowed down and is stalled in the station, I find myself feeling very disorientated.  I recognize I am in a pause.  During a pause, we generally reflect, grow or redirect.  My husband will be retiring soon and we thought we would retire here in Nevada, but now we are not as sure.  So where do we go from here?

Retrospect is a wonderful teacher, if we take the time to look back and learn from the past. I know now, my strong calling to be a Hospice volunteer, and my past experience working in dental and medical offices helped me become a better advocate for my Father.  I am grateful, I followed my instincts, as it prepared me well for my Mother-in-law's Alzheimer's and now Dad's.

Since being a child, I have always had a strong drive to seek. It is definitely what motivates me to get out of bed in the morning and begin a new day.  To seek to learn, to seek to find, to seek to answer. Since I was a teenager, I would write down my thoughts, and at 18 began putting them in notebooks. 

My Father used to tell me, "Donna always listen to the voice inside is God telling you what is right to do."  At the time, we were Catholic, and I was very disillusioned with the Catholic church, so I set out to seek more answers regarding religion.  I do have faith in God,a higher power and much of my life I have taken a more mystical approach.  I sense a force greater than myself and have always surrendered to it and in the process, felt stronger. I do listen to my inner voice.

At this particular time in my life, it is important to feel proud of my life thus far. Since the age of 18, my dream was to have children.  It is no easy task to raise children and I am most proud of my two daughters. My divorce made raising children a true challenge as I did it alone and without much money, often working two jobs.  My biggest fear was not living long enough to see them to adulthood.  Now, my daughters are both in their 30's and my eldest has given me the joy of two grandsons.  If I look back on my life's desire to have children, that is one dream that has been more than full filled.

I remember my Mother telling me one day, raising children was one of the most difficult jobs I would ever have.  I would not get much recognition, or praise or gratitude along the way, but when I had raised my children, it would be a feeling of accomplishment that no amount of money could ever compensate.  She was right.  I feel like climbing Mt. Everest or the Himalayas would not have given me more gradification.

Another milestone for me, was buying my own house, with my own money, with no help from anyone, ten years after I lost my home in the divorce. I was totally independent, providing for my children and myself.  That was glorious!

These past four years, since moving to Nevada, have been uncharted territory for me.  Having the time to do as I please, not having to work, but being 250 miles from those I love. I have always been a writer who also likes to paint, but never had the time.  Now I have the time, but am finding a huge lack of concentration, because I miss the ones I love and who have shared the majority of my life.

I told myself, this is my time, time for me to full fill my dream of making a living with my writing and painting. This is what I have always wanted...or is it? I can truthfully admit, I have written far more than I have put paint on canvas, but I have been the most consistent with my painting. This past June, I started my first blog.

Do I really want a career in painting or writing?  Or is it a hobby?  Do I want to live four hours away from my daughters, grandchildren, family and friends? Being married, I have another life to is not just all about me. I met my husband as my girls were out of school and beginning lives on their own... Did I transfer all that energy from them to him?  These past four years have been a sabbatical from responsibility in some ways...not having to work, to pay bills, even to grocery shop.  My husband does all that.  Despite my efforts to share the load, he keeps telling me, I deserve the time...I have earned it.

Is that what I really want?  I like responsibility.  It makes me feel connected and alive.  I still find it difficult to ride in the passenger seat, after living forty plus years, blazing my own trails.  Granted, this time has allowed me to be far more creative, but it is beginning to dawn on me that writing is a lonely profession...

I spend the majority of my day, including when my husband gets home, on the computer. Spending so much time on the computer keeps me from those I love, and where is the good in that?  I have that tendency to devote all my focus on whatever it is I am focused upon, and since I don't have much else to do, besides clean house and walk the dog, I have become best friends with a machine! 

It is important to stop and start again, reflecting on one's purpose in life, to make certain one is still headed in the right direction.  Everything is relative.  When I was working and raising my kids, I dreamed of having the free time to write and paint, having to put it on the proverbial back burner... Now, with all the time in the world to pursue my dreams, it only serves to remind me how much I miss being around those I love.

My advice to anyone reading this, is to listen to your heart, your soul. Know what is important to you in your life. Build on it. Follow your dreams.  Listen to your inner voice. I truely believe, if there is a dream out there, that you dream and know you really want... don't allow anyone or anything to stop you from reaching that dream.  If you never give up on yourself, you WILL achieve your dreams.

I am discovering, despite the many things I enjoy doing, nothing is more important to me than my family and friends.  Having a strong, solid family IS my dream and goal in life.  No house, amount of money, security, job, career, or hobby is worth being further away from them.


JeannetteLS said...

A new blog! Different emphasis... I love it. I will be starting a different one, too, but this is YOUR space so let me say that I agree with you. My dad once said, "Jetty, the sooner you learn that you were never cut out for a nine to five life, the happier you will be. I know you'll try and that's okay, but, honey, it isn't you."

BOY was he right! But this is something I've been thinking about a lot, too. Giving myself PERMISSION to simply go after the dream and let myself discover my purpose through writing and art--perhaps those are my purpose or they are part of it. I don't know. I NEVER let myself really work on it... my family, my sister, my friends, my health. I WILL NOT call them "excuses" to keep me from things because I to this day believe that I paid attention to what I needed to at those times.

And my health MUST be my number one priority so that I can actually stay on the planet and DO whatever it is I am meant to.

But, anyway, I hope you post a lot here. I'm following it anyway. Thank you for reminding me of some things in this.

Donna B said...

Glad this blog speaks to you... apparently, it has touched a cord in several readers lives... we'll have to have a discussion on what prompted me to do this particular subject some time.. I am sending healing thoughts your way with no pain....hugs to you!

Shaz said...

Donna B, this has touched me too! Having felt, all my life, that I was kicked off a space ship, its nice to know that there are a few other 'deep thinkers and feelers' in this world. I enjoy your meditative reasoning and your deep sence validation and purpose through your family and your obvious spiritual connection to all that is good and important in life. I love your blog