A sustaining life...
What am I doing here? It's a question I've asked myself a lot. Since I chose to leave my career as an architect behind 3 years ago I often find myself feeling a little lost. Not that I'm without purpose but more that I'm not entirely sure how to define myself to others. Gone are the days when a simple reply of "I'm an architect" will depict for the listener various facets of my personality, tastes, and beliefs. We all do it right? Make assumptions on the character of a person based solely on the stereotypes of their profession. In a way we have to, how else do we seek a basis of interpersonal understanding from which to delve deeper? Without an easy response, how do we explain our existence to others? Are we to separate our facets so that only one side shows? Perhaps only the side which is most attractive to the audience we are currently with?
I have many things that I love, that I get passionate about. Perhaps too many... Still when I think about my "self" I can't help but rattle off all of my various interests, responsibilities, and hobbies. I've been fortunate enough to experience many things and in the process have cultivated a diverse background of tastes, although I wouldn't ever define myself by just one of them. Not anymore... Things change, life changes, I change, we all change... Change is the only constant.
When I decided to leave behind a 15 year career to focus on raising my daughter I had no idea what I was getting into. Sure, I had this outsiders view of being a mom and the ease with which each day would be lived, it appeared stress-free. Never did I think I would find myself lost in an odyssey of being, of grappling with what I should be next versus where I am today, in this moment. It is a big sacrifice in a way, walking away from a career, a title, prestige, a large pay-check into being "just" a housewife or work/stay-at-home mom. Yet at the same time it is no sacrifice at all. I want to be here. I want to be a housewife, a work-at-home mom. She will never again be where she is today, two years old figuring out language, to spend every day steeped in that experience is priceless. It's a beautiful thing and has taught me more about myself than almost any other endeavor. It's also something I believe our society should revere far more than it does. Yet saying "I'm a work-at-home mom" or "I'm a homemaker" doesn't cover all the other aspects of my daily life.
The whole concept of "I am..." brings so many conundrums. As a way of figuring out what you are it's largely useless. It brings with it entitlements for the ego and constraints of societal projections and stereotypes. It has been the crux of my existential pondering since I began to contemplate self as a teenager... if only because it is typically followed with one noun that supposedly indicates to everyone what to expect from you. Me being one thing just never seemed right. It is somewhat necessary for communication with others, but rubbish for understanding self, which is my life's over-arching quest, my one defining passion. A passion to understand what allows me to be the best version of me possible.
In these past 3 years I've slowed way down. It's what my child needs, it's what I never knew I always needed. It has been a fantastic adventure and has really brought to light the things that truly build me up. It has shown me ever more who I want to be as a person, as well as what things support that person-hood.
Unless you are born wealthy, there is no getting around the fact that you will need to earn money to survive. It is well and good to have a number of hobbies from which to seek respite from the stress of life, but it is equally important to focus in on one or two of these in which you can get lost into the quest for mastery. We could call these things "passions." Yet, I feel, in a way, this leaves some people, perhaps myself included, in a lurch. Perhaps because I can be passionate about anything I believe in, or because often times passions can be like a flash in the pan, or because it simply doesn't instill much reverence for how necessary they may be to your continued existence. You can have many passions right? Many things that you love, that you geek out on... and yet only a handful of those things will be capable of giving sustenance to your spirit each day.
So while many people will talk about "following their passions" or "doing what they love." I prefer to refer to them as my "sustainment." They are non-diminishing daily practices without which I would perish mentally. When it comes right down to it, that's all we are really... a series of perceptions. Anyway, these activities for me are much, much more than simple passions. They have such a strong influence on me that doing them always returns my mind, body, and spirit back to balance. Just 5 minutes practicing my personal version of sustainability leads to a more energized, happier, healthier, more relaxed version of me.
While I once thought my passion was for architecture, I now realize my sustainability is simply in creation, exercise, and meditating upon those and all aspects of humanity.
Thank you for taking the time to read this musing on why I've launched my website and where I'm going in life.