Chapter 8 – What Are You Doing Here?

Day 9

Well, I’ve come to the ZILLION dollar question. What am I doing here? Trying to figure out what I’m doing here. That’s the obvious answer, but the deeper more important answer, is that I am here to figure out what I need to do in and with my life to feel like it actually matters.

It’s easy to see that I matter to my family and friends. I can see, at least sometimes, how my presence in their lives was helpful, inspirational, and supportive, and I am glad of that. But, I’ve never felt that what I did was enough. I loved being a mother, but I did always feel the need to do something else too.

Even when I couldn’t define that “something”, it was out there lurking in the background. I did lots of volunteer work to keep myself busy and validate myself. I even took acting classes and worked on writing projects with friends to feed my creative longings. The truth is. I did a lot of attempting at building a creative life, but I always knew I wasn’t diving off the deep end, or taking real personal risk.

Over time, and the repeated advise of multiple psychics, who all told me I was meant to write and that writing would lead to great success, I have to admit, it seems like the right thing for me. After all, growing up, all I wanted to do was fly off to Paris and write the great American novel. I dreamed of hosting salons with other writers and artists, actors and musicians. My future would make me the modern Anais Nin. I would be brave and crazy and defy convention.

Sadly, none of those things have come to pass, and my life has been pretty conventional. That’s not to say, I haven’t had some wonderful adventures, and even made it to Paris for a few days, but as blessed as I am, and have been, in my life, I still feel like I’m not quite where I am supposed to be.

This chapter pointed out several ways to figure out what that heck I am doing here, so I decided to write each point here and write my first gut reaction.

  1. Be the Alien – Inhabit my body for 24 hours and see with fresh eyes, what I am awesome at, what I have the most fun doing, what connections and resources I have and what opportunities are open to me. With no past to hold me back and no risk. What do I do with this life? I’ll come back to this tomorrow (24 hours)
  2. Take the first right step – This is it. I believe reading a chapter a day and writing about whatever each chapter triggers, is my first right step. In 26 days when I’ve completed this book, I plan to have an idea of what my next right step will be.
  3. Do your best wherever you’re at – I’ve been super-distracted at work, so I am taking a couple of days off next week to refresh. I’m lucky I work for people who understand a good mental health day every now and then is a good thing.
  4. Don’t reinvent the wheel – Who are the people I want to be? Whose life do I most envy (admire)? I love Nina Garcia, she’s strong and yet feminine. She’s tough, but kind. I also would really like to be Samantha Brown. The idea of traveling for a living and getting to experience the world is just idyllic to me. And, let’s face it, her travel life is pretty luxurious. My ultimate idol though, is Anais Nin. She was so brave and open in her writing. What others dared not publish, she did. She made her own rules. And while she faced heartbreak, and loss just like anyone else, she still lived her life wide-open. I need to consider what all these women possess that I do too. Maybe therein lies my path.
  5. Don’t get caught up in the Thunderbolt hype – No chance of that. I’m 55 and if a thunderbolt hasn’t struck me yet, I don’t expect it to. It’s the journey to enlightenment for me, and I am okay with that.
  6. Listen to my intuition – Noted…more quiet time with inner self.
  7. Follow your fantasies – Right now, my fantasy is a farmhouse in Italy. I saw a picture of one while I was searching yoga retreats in Italy, and I literally felt my heart skip a beat and I held back the tears. If that’s not a calling, I don’t know what is.
  8. Love Yourself – Working on it everyday.

I have a lot to think about and reflect upon. If you’re reading this. I hope you do too.

Happy Friday!

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