A few months ago, I went and spoke to someone at my church. A free service that many parishioners utilize as a means to have someone unbiased to listen and repeat what they are hearing. Within minutes, I already had tears welling up and the moment she asked “what brings me the most joy in life?” I lost the will to fight back tears.
I was in a slump. a pit. thinking that I didn’t have the tools in my tool belt to get myself out.
Answering a question like that can really bring to things back to reality. We begin to convince ourselves that what we are doing DOES bring the most joy to our lives, when in truth it isn’t.
Well, naturally, my next question to her was “what the heck do I do next if I know that what I currently spend 80% of my week doing isn’t what brings me the most joy in life?” She said, “Time will tell. Start listing every event or activity that you believe has made you who you are or you enjoy doing. It could be small or large, short term or long term. Then start connecting the dots.”
Ew, I thought. Vague. Reflection, lovely. I can be patient with 120 loud teenagers, but be patient with myself? No way. This was November. And mind you, my mind was a jumbled mess – stay in education? stay at my school? go back to school, but for what? hey, you’ve always liked that, maybe..? A bunch of prospects crossed my mind. Some reoccurring, some fleeting.
So, I did what she said. A very hard process, I might say. I started to list that which I enjoy and dedicated time to continually do so. Lots of time reflecting on questions. Lots of time talking with family and my friends. Lots of researching. Soon enough, memories flooded my mind from high school, college, and teaching. Life in New York. Life in California. Traveling. Abroad studies. Classes. Random musings. Spontaneous opportunities. and of course, running…
When I finally made the decision, my mind felt free.
I no longer felt constrained to something that I thought I should do, rather what I wanted to do.
Within the past month, I have felt such a noticeable change in my mental demeanor. Tasks that should feel daunting, don’t. My days fill up with activities that I truly enjoy or are working me towards another goal. I wake up ready to take on the day and make it meaningful – even if it appears as a slow trudge and granted, I have my days!
Suddenly, I’m finding that I do have the “tools in my tool box” (my Statistics teacher uses this expression ALL THE TIME as he explains how to work through a problem) or I know how to go about finding them.
I’m excited about the possibilities and what is to come during this journey.