This is a simple question asked in an email from Jeff Goins. Actually the email contained his manifesto, “Wrecked for the Ordinary: A Manifesto for Misfits.” In bold print on page two – “MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW WHO THEY ARE.”
So of course I had to continue reading.
If you have been following this blog or stopping by temporarily to catch my latest ramblings you know that I have been writing out who I am. Figuring out who I am and how I relate to the world around me. Trying to figure out how to make a typical existence work for me when everything inside is screaming that I shouldn’t.
I call it my gypsy soul, but I wonder if it is something more.
I am the “I can do that” person that always wants to do more for others and help, but never quite seem to fill the void that makes me want to do these things. I want to join in every charity that my heart wants to help despite my brain saying, “You have no time for this!” I get over run with things to do and never quite do any of them very well because I am always thinking about the next thing that has to be done.
As Jeff writes, “ [I am] struggling to find meaning in [my] everyday life. [I am] floundering, lost in a cloud of insignificance and mediocrity.”
This is hard to admit that I do all of these things trying to fill the void that exists when I try to just live a normal life. I know many, if not most, of you don’t understand this void, or if you do you have learned to control it. I have tried everything from living life on the edge with craziness and an alcoholic spouse to just struggling every day to provide for my family. I haven’t figured it all out, but no matter how much there is TO Do I never quite feel fulfilled.
“They strive. They long for what they can’t have and thus despair, perhaps growing a bit disillusioned.”
To despair is to be hopeless and I am anything but hopeless. I think I have enough for what could be, but living life as I do every day makes the feeling of “hopelessness” exist. I get up, I get dressed, I wake the boys and get them ready, the nanny/babysitter arrives and I leave for work, drive 40 miles one way to my office and proceed to work 9-10 hours and go home. I drive the 40 miles back home, pick the kids up for whatever activity we have that evening OR if I have charity meetings in town I drive to that, do that, and THEN drive the 40 miles home…I get home in time to eat dinner, read a story and lay the boys down to bed. We repeat this 5 five days a week and you have some idea of how much time I spend chasing my wheels.
I know this is not the first time I have lamented this, but it is to make this point again, that there is more to life than this.
There is no amount of time that I spend away from home all day that justifies the void that I feel when I lay down at night. No matter what I have filled the time I was awake doing there is still that voice inside that says I should be doing more.
What? When? It isn’t possible!
It’s impossible to think that there is any way I could do more in present circumstance, so I have to seek a way to change the circumstance.
Hey – It’s not the first time.
Back to line one, “Have [I] been wrecked?”
There is both a resounding yes and a humble no. I have been wrecked by always striving for a life that I don’t think I will ever have. I have been wrecked by homelessness and insecurity. I have been wrecked by the daily struggle of every single mom who may or may not have enough money to make it to her next payday. But I have not seen first-hand how hard life could be. I have not walked into a village of people whose life is put on the line every day just to provide for their families. I have not reached beyond myself to grasp the hand of a dying man because he wanted to connect with life.
I haven’t forced myself to fill the void that exists.
I have tried repeatedly to close my ears to a calling to a higher purpose.
Jeff says, “At first, it’s disorienting – maybe even distracting. It calls out of you the greatest parts of you – the parts you might be afraid to let out.”
“In the end, you’re not who you were before. You’re different. You’re changed. You may even feel like your old values have been, in a sense, ruined by this new worldview.”
So I am seeking answers to where to go from here. Globe school for the boys will be a big part of this, but I think it is evolving from a purely selfish idea into something where I can act compassionately with a group of like-minded individuals. I’ve asked the only friend I know who left his life in pursuit of compassionate action how he knew it was the right choice when he did it. I am hoping he can help me as I have to walk down this path. I am not built for apathy and ignorance is a four-letter word to me.
The void must be filled, the thirst must be quenched.
Life must be meaningful, status quo will never work for me.