People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the chest X ray and it doesn’t look so good, or when the doctor writes “prognosis, poor.”
Here is my resume. It’s not what my professional bio says, proud as I am of all that:
I am a good mother to three good children. I have tried never to let my profession stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the center of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make my marriage vows mean what they say. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh.
So I suppose the best piece of advice I could give anyone is pretty simple: get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you’d care so very much about those things if you developed an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast while in the shower?
These words are written by Anna Quindlen in her book A Short Guide to a Happy Life (affiliate link).
I was given this book as a birthday gift about two years ago. But I rediscovered my love for it just this week.
Given that my birthday is tomorrow, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite excerpts.
As for you, I hope these excerpts brighten your day; helps change your perspective about some aspect of your life that you’re not exactly pleased about right now; or gives you the motivation to step outside your comfort zone with confidence knowing that the growth you’ll achieve as a result is exactly what you need right now.
In fact, if it feels uncomfortable then that’s probably a sign you need to just go for it. That’s something I was reminded of this week, as well.
In the last couple of months, I’ve had a series of breakthroughs. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and a bit wiser. I’m realizing it’s time to put to bed my childish ways and step into my own unique greatness and be consistently grateful for the life I have. It could always be much worse, and yet it’s not.
These are some of the conversations I’ve had with myself in the last couple of weeks. It feels like an evolution is happening on the inside, and I like it. In fact, I need such transformation. It’s validation that I’m reaping some return on the many years I’ve spent on earth so far.
As I enter into this new year of life…
I’ve vowed to discover and embrace the parts of me that aren’t so polished and put together. I’m giving myself credit for my accomplishments thus far, instead of downplaying them. And I’m promising to give myself a chance and to believe that I can do it, rather than throw in the towel way too prematurely.
Additionally, and this is an ongoing battle, I’m committed to stop over analyzing everything and to step out on faith more often.
To put it simply, I’m enjoying living life and all of its many facets.
Like Anna Quindlen so intelligently suggested in her book, I am not my profession. I am not my accomplishments. And neither are you.
To drive that point home, she writes the following:
Don’t ever forget what a friend once wrote to Senator Paul Tsongas when the senator had decided not to run for reelection because he’d been diagnosed with cancer: “No man ever said on his deathbed I wish I had spent more time at the office.”
Don’t ever forget the words on a postcard that my father sent me last year: “If you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.”
Discover your why, your soul
That said, no matter what your career is, I’m a strong believer in discovering your “why.”
- Why do you get up, get dressed and go to work everyday?
- Why have you chosen to be a stay at home mom?
- Why do you work as hard and as diligently as you do?
- Why do you spend your time the way in which you do?
At the center of those answers should lie what fulfills you and what drives you. What are you trying to achieve, and are you passionate about your “why”?
My simple advice: discover the soul in everything you do.
I don’t know about you, but I know it’s time to craft a better life resume filled with the things, and people, and activities, and professional pursuits that matter most to me.
I’ve been on this journey of self-discovery for some time now, if not my entire life. But it’s only recently that I feel as if I’m taking the necessary steps to determine what the journey looks like over time because, for one, I’ve chosen to enjoy the ride no matter what happens. And by the grace of God, my destination will be one that brings the most fulfillment, peace and joy.
I’d like to encourage you to do the same. That is, make the decision to find your soul in everything you do. Discover your “why.” And craft a life resume that you can be proud of.
What would yours say?