It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write. Sometimes I go through phases when I barely write at all, which is hard when so much of my identity is in being a writer. I envy the kinds of writers who go up to their lovely writing lofts every day and write for hours and hours. I’m just not that kind of writer, I guess. I thrive on creative bursts, so when creativity is lacking, I have a hard time forcing it. I’m not very disciplined. But today I’m finally sitting down to get words on the page.
So what have I been up to?
I’m not working right now. For a while, this was a struggle for me. I felt a sense of purposeless, of failure. Jobs I applied for didn’t work out, which was impactful on my self-esteem. I struggled with questions like: Am I not good enough? Why doesn’t anyone want me? What am I even good at? And then I got pregnant. Since I’m planning to stay home with the baby, I didn’t want to start a job that I’d be leaving in a few months. So I decided to stop the job search and to just wait for the baby. But here’s the thing: waiting turned out to be very hard. I felt the purposelessness very keenly, very acutely. I began to wonder: What is my purpose? How do I bring meaning into my life?
A couple weeks ago, I decided to read through some of my past journals. I went back to the start of 2015 and read up until last month. I saw themes running through the past four years that seemed to resurface again and again. Over and over again, I have searched for “my calling.” Over and over again, I have sought purpose and have struggled to find it. Over and over again, I have yearned for fulfillment, but never seemed to discover it.
In 2015, I’d just suffered a mental breakdown that crippled me. I was newly married. I was unable to hold a job because of my unstable mental state, which led me into a state of floundering. I struggled with the idea of grad school…would that finally make me feel better and more fulfilled? What was I supposed to do next with my life?
In 2016 and 2017, I still felt empty, even with grad school. I was writing again, which was great, but it didn’t satisfy me. “Being a writer” just wasn’t “it.” I still wanted more.
For the latter part of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, I decided that all I needed was a job that would give me purpose. If only I had a job, then I would be happy. So I got the job for the sake of having a job…and it didn’t work out. I applied for other jobs…and didn’t get them, much to my embarrassment. So then I thought: okay, I’ll really be a writer. But I learned that that wasn’t necessarily the life I wanted either. My skillset didn’t match that lifestyle, which was hard to swallow.
And now, in the later part of 2018? I am looking forward to having a baby, to being a full-time mom, and have desperately been wondering if that will finally give me the purpose I’ve been looking for.
Seeing this theme of searching for purpose, fulfillment, and satisfaction in my journals has made me pause. Am I searching for something that I’ll never find? What if I become a mom and I find out that it’s not what I hoped it would be—that it doesn’t satisfy me after all? I know I’ll love my baby, but I’m worried that I’ll still have that nagging thought in the back of my head that being a mom is not enough.
I don’t want to feel like this the rest of my life. I think back to when I was back in college, not-so- coincidentally before the breakdowns, when I felt like I was just where I was supposed to be. I want to feel that way again. Did the breakdowns and bipolar diagnosis so rock my world that I lost sight of who I was? Maybe.
I’m a Christian, and I’ve been taught that we need to find our value in God alone. It’s probably the same with our fulfillment. We need to have identity with Christ; our purpose is to live for Him.
But why hasn’t that “clicked” with me? Sure, it sounds nice, but what does that actually look like day-to-day? It’s amazing how we can know something in our brains but not in our hearts. I know the truth, yet I struggle to live it out. I want practical answers! I want an easy fix!
As I near 2019, I’ve begun to think about my word for the year. (My family started a tradition where we pick a single word as inspiration for the new year.) I know that I’ll have to pick a word that relates to all of this. I need to sort things out in my head…and in my heart. I want fulfillment. I want purpose. I want meaning. Which word will I choose?