“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of others” – Charles Dickens
Puzzling recently about my purpose in life, established in the mid two oughts.
[I still don’t know how to address the first decade of our century. The 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s in writing but what about when one is speaking? Find myself writing like I’m talking to you so 00’s sounds to me, “zero zero’s” which doesn’t sounds right at all. I like two oughts but it may be less desirable in verbal communication. Speaking of verbal, I heard a witness in a trial on TV say, “What did you just say? I’m more orbital, so I don’t always catch stuff from listening. I had to giggle.]
Okay, back to my life purpose. For about 15 years, weaving love and compassion into the fabric of life, wherever I was, whoever I was with, and whatever I was doing was the daily, literal purpose of my life. When I felt “squiggly” (my personal word for uncomfortably struggling), I’d remind myself that all I needed to do was weave love and compassion. Whether I was subbing high school gym or scanning and bagging a cart of groceries, the highest purpose of the day was weaving.
For a while now, I’ve felt at sea without opportunities to load the loom with love and compassion or to weave into the lives of others. How to weave love and compassion into the lives of others when I so rarely interact with folks? Communication on twitter and some texting makeup my regular exchanges with people. I’ve flailed a bit, knowing I have a purpose but not how to serve it at this time in my life.
Last week, seeing the Charles Dickens quote above, I realized I can have a new purpose. Whatever I can do to lighten the loads of others makes me useful. How can I assist people in this way? I suppose keeping my symptoms and difficulties to myself may lighten the burden of my mom, husband and kids. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that holding details of my condition completely to myself increases my stress and pain.
Blogging is a great way for me to express my thoughts, ideas, difficulties, and symptoms, which helps lighten my load, so you guys are useful! Thank you for following, reading, commenting, etc. Perhaps I can focus on my writing here as an outlet instead of unloading on my loved ones.
One area where I know I’m contributing to someone’s burden is with my husband’s redo project of our basement in preparation for my mother-in-law moving in with us. We began with the remodel of my en suite and the downstairs bathrooms. The intention was that my bathroom would be completed first. Instead, the downstairs bathroom is completely tiled, painted, etc., just needs fixtures installed. The bedroom in which she’ll stay has been painted and carpeted by my husband. Tiling has been completed in the mud room section of the family room, it’s painted, and carpet goes in on the other side of the rec room tonight. My bathroom is still stripped down to the studs.
I know it’s immature and unreasonable but, although the basement projects have long been discussed, I find myself unable to appreciate his progress. When he shows me a new completion downstairs, it makes me angry. The tile guy who has finished all of the other work has decided he won’t be able to do my bathroom. My husband is “working on” scheduling another tile setter. As per an earlier post, I could spit nails. The anger and disappointment feel like a solid chunk iniside me. It seems to me that accomodating his mother is much more important to him than addressing my project. That is exactly what I did not want to happen.
Obviously, I could lighten the burden for my husband but why am I always the one who has to compromise? I already feel some things about MIL coming to live with us. Those emotions drive the frustration that seethes inside me regarding no plan for my bathroom and completed updating of the family room, bathroom, and bedroom in the basement. Everyone says to just wait and see, maybe she’ll be pleasant, even appreciative and maybe helpful. In the past, this house guest has fully expected to be treated as a guest. I’m very skeptical.
It wasn’t until I pondered the Charles Dickens’ quote at the start of this post that I considered my identified purpose did not have to be lifelong. I can decide to have a new one. I’m reluctant to choose ‘lightening the burden of others’ for my new purpose at this exact time in my life because it’s almost impossible for me to withhold my snarkiness when my husband and I discuss the basement projects, my bathroom, or the imminent arrival of my MIL I have no self-control over my bitchiness. This is not my typical m.o. I’ve spent decades holding things inside or dismissing them in order to relieve troubles.
In less than two weeks, my MIL will be moved in and my bathroom will still be completely unfinished. My birthday is mid October; that’s become my mental deadline; my bathroom better be finished by then or I’m going to be beyond angry. There’s no telling what will come out of my mouth if that’s the case.
Being without a satisfactory purpose and the ability to implement causes me to feel like my moorings are loose. Despite that, I don’t feel competent to develop or identify a life purpose currently. And so, I’m relying on the following quote for the present:
Do you have a definitive life purpose for yourself? Do you have a different sense of duty to various roles in your life? Have you changed your purpose?