“If you achieve all your goals, you will be happy!”
That’s what I was told as I grew up. I achieved all the goals: became a college athlete, graduated college with honors, moved out of state, obtained a Master’s degree, got a good job, got married, had a child, owned two dogs, and bought a home of my own. The traditional good girl goals were all mine!
From the outside looking in I had it going on. I could hit cruise control and sail on through this life journey, right?
I was far from cruising though.
From the inside out it felt off. Why was I not happy when I’d achieved the goals I had created? Why was I not happy about the journey to motherhood? It was challenging, but it happened.
That line of questioning led me to feeling wrong, because how could I have achieved all that and not felt grateful?
Wait–I was cruising, just not on the plane of happiness. Instead, it was like I was cruising in a downward spiral.
I tried all the usual things…well at least the external things:
Reading self-help books.
Practicing my faith and spirituality.
Going to therapy to fix me.
Checking out if my marriage had gone wrong.
Looking for a different job.
Joining an adult women’s basketball league.
Joining/leading networking groups.
Thinking about moving the family.
Still was not happy…
Then I was asked THE question that opened me up so much that light could not help but enter what had become a dark place. That dark place crowded out the light that used to exude from me no matter what!
A friend asked, “Beyond your family and work, what brings you joy?”
I sat there in silence running through my mind to get an answer, and the silence grew longer. To break the silence, I stuttered, “Ummm…good question.” Then I realized that I did not have an answer. I was 33 and could not identify what brought me joy beyond being a mother, wife, and employee!
That was NOT okay.
That released the ship of self-discovery, letting it turn loose to navigate the waters of darkness inside me and search for that light, my light!
The search and rescue included wading through lots of layers! There had been a lot of cover-up over the years as I had put my blinders on to be what I thought it meant to be a good mother, employee, and citizen.
The journey took work, but I was so ready to do it because, again, not knowing my own joy was not okay! I mean how could I spread joy if my own was indescribable?
Oh, the numerous journal pages, the tears, the art, the stint in network marketing, the walking, the business start, the social media relationships as I explored how to use the light I was finding. That light uncovered the personal goals intended to bring me joy.
Eventually I realized what I had done…I had put the light of Kaira off until someday!
I lived from an “either/or” paradigm. I focused on motherhood and being a good employee to support my family goals and left the rest of me for that elusive someday.
With the help of life coaches, mentors and journaling, I learned the possibility of living “with/and” instead of “either/or”! Ah, the light kept getting brighter at this point!
Approaching life from the “and” perspective meant I could eradicate someday and start living a whole, creative, and resourceful life today! It still gives me chills to remember coming into this enlightenment.
In doing my art and motherhood or running my business and being an employee, I became better at both because I felt the full in fulfillment. Ah, the sweet relief in figuring out the combination that brings me light and lets me share it with others.
Turns out I wasn’t really looking for happiness after all but for the fulfillment found in shining bright for all those I see, no matter which goal I am working towards.
Cheers to you, mama, who may have forgotten the possibility of “and” and the power of living fully today. It’s your turn to embrace both!