I'm currently reading this book...
I'm totally taking my time with it because I want to really READ it...not just skim it and half pay attention, like I occasionally do with books. It's one of those inspiring ones where it forces you to take some kind of action after you've read it...which is another reason I'm reading it slowly. I'm not sure what kind of action will need to happen after I'm finished. Hopefully, after reading the book, I'll at least have a general idea in which direction to move.
The whole book is about the dreams that move us forward...specifically WOMEN. There are personal stories from amazing women who dared to dream, sprinkled throughout the book. Not all of them are CEOs or jumped out of planes or played the piano in Carnegie Hall, although those women are in this book, too. Some of them had simpler dreams...like raising a family...which led to holding a summer children's theater group in the front yard...which led to opening a SCHOOL!! That's the thing I'm loving most about this book...it doesn't advocate doing something just because you've never done it before. It doesn't suggest that achieving your dreams looks the same for everyone. What it does, instead, is help remind you of the things that make you happy and complete from the inside and encourages you to just do more of those things...and they will lead you toward fulfillment. I love that!
I have spent a lot of time in the last 42 years seeking for that complete feeling through pleasing other people. I was a good daughter who tried hard never to disappoint my parents. I got good grades, went to college, earned a degree, and then totally disappointed them when I decided to stay at home and raise my four children. Of course they loved my family, but they were heartbroken that I never "used my degree."
For the past 15 years, I have spent my days feeding, changing, teaching, and caring for four little people, who are now pretty self sufficient. I realize none of them can drive yet, and they still need me, but their needs are different, and they are all rapidly moving into that space where they will take care of their own needs more than I do.
Quite a few times recently, I have met people who have asked me what I spend my days doing. And I'm disappointed that I don't have a good answer. (It's not that my answer isn't good enough for THEM. It's not good enough for ME.) I do plenty of things during a typical day. My house is clean and organized. There is food in the pantry and healthy meals on the table. I try new crafts and hairstyles and recipes. I use coupons. I walk and read and talk to friends. I fulfill and try to magnify my calling at church. I have become very good at managing a home front and supporting the other 5 people who live here so that they can excel at the things they do in a typical day. Those are all exceptional and worthwhile things to have spent my time doing. And the product of years and years of doing this same thing, is four children who are happy, healthy, smart, and socially acceptable (on most days.) And that is a source of great satisfaction for me.
We're moving into a different phase of life right now, though...high school, driving, iPhones, friends who are more influential than parents. It's a good phase. It's what we're supposed to do as mothers, right?...work ourselves out of a job. I have never wanted to be one of those women who has adult, married children still living at home or closely glued to me for the rest of my life. I want them to be independent and functional without me. And they are becoming that. (And it's very possible that I may have a totally different attitude about the whole "leaving the nest" thing, when they actually start to leave...)
But right now, what do I do so that I can answer that question with satisfaction? What do I spend my days doing? I'm not sure yet. I'm going to keep reading this book, though, and maybe after I finish, I'll have a better answer. Hopefully, you're doing what brings you the greatest satisfaction and fulfillment in your life. If you are, I'd love to hear what it is and how you found it.