Today we are going to explore something I never thought I would even consider.
The possibility that family is my purpose. That being a parent is what I am meant to do. Perhaps it is what every human is meant to do. Procreate. But that can’t be because there are plenty of people who can’t or won’t have children. There’s nothing wrong with them. And I am sure that roughly the same percentage of them feel fulfilled as you would find in the general child rearing population.
My father’s ambition in life basically boiled down to wanting to be a father. That’s what his life’s goal was from an early age. Have a nice little family. A house. I can’t promise that’s what he got, the nice family part, but he got a family at least.
Eventually he found himself a career as a meat cutter and meat department manager. He enjoyed the work for the most part. He liked cutting meat. He felt he did good work and he worked hard. He tells me he has no regrets and I have no reason to doubt him.
I have this thing where I am obsessed about what I might feel on my death bed. Which assumes a few things but one of them is that I will live to an old enough age to die slowly and of old age. Or I will die of an illness that forces me to die in a hospital. Either way I have a feeling that I may not be in the frame of mind to really ponder big life questions like “do I have regrets?” or “if I could do it all again what would I change?”
Also, probably not a lot of value in those moments. Because you can’t go back and you can’t do it again. It might make more sense to spend those final moments telling people how much they mean/meant to me when I was, you know, alive. Like a living person.
But as an exercise to help me figure this thing out, namely what’s driving me and what is my purpose, this is a question worth pondering. What will I regret if I don’t do it? If I had a chance to live my life again what would I do? Which is a cool question to ask since I can still do it.
I keep circling back to a few thoughts. I want to help people. Somehow I want my life to have been impactful in a positive way. On how? And in what way? If I knew that you wouldn’t be forced to read this stream of consciousness blog post.
I know that I want to have a really great relationship with my partner. I want us to grow together and as separate people. To inspire and challenge each other. I want to see things and have lots of experiences. So many amazing memories I can’t keep track.
This much is guaranteed. I will value time more than money. And experiences more than things.
But back to the topic at hand. A family.
So far in my life I think I have been in either camp “ewww kids” or camp “yay kids” roughly 3,789 times. Each. Back and forth. Sometimes within the same conversation. Moment to moment it can change. But lately my girlfriend and I have talked a lot about the future and what it might look like in terms of family. And I have to say it’s been a few months of being in camp “yay kids”.
I am as surprised as you.
It got to the point that I figured I would never have kids. It was too late in my life. I was single. It wasn’t happening. So I quickly convinced myself that I didn’t want kids. The old “I can’t have it? Good I didn’t even want it anyway” self defense technique.
I can’t have ice cream? I didn’t even really want ice cream cause it’s so bad for you.
Except we all know I want ice cream. All the time. What was I talking about? Oh yeah. Family.
It’s taken me a while since I started dating my girlfriend but I am realizing now what happened. And that I can, and currently am, undoing that. It turns out having children is a real possibility for me and as time goes on I realize that it is something that I want out of life. But…..what about purpose?
Would a family be enough to satisfy my quest for fulfillment and purpose? Probably. But there’s no really way to know until it happens. And I don’t want to leave it to chance.
Let’s say I am on my death bed looking back at a life spent working hard with my partner to provide (not just financially but emotionally, spiritually etc) a decent life for my family. We did some travelling. We raised good people. (The order I wrote that may be descriptive) We had more good times than bad ones. We laughed a lot. We created great memories. We created a home together as a family.
Could anyone look back on that and feel like it wasn’t enough? It’s doubtful.
So now I come back to a question I asked the other day about work. But I add in family. Is it enough to work, have the family life and then find even more meaning in spare time like writing, volunteering, and other pursuits?
That is starting to sound like an equation I could get on board with.
(Equations. Math. A theme developing?)
Yet even when I think about that I am left feeling a little but like I still want to find a way to make money in a slightly more meaningful way. I do still think I want to work from home. There are still things I like the sound of other than just a job to make some money.
When you read about the death bed dilemma you tend to hear about people that wish they had spent more time with family and friends. That’s the theme I’ve discovered. Prioritize the really important things in life and spend time with them. That’s something I won’t lose site of while I am working on this journey.
Anyway. I am starting to go a little bit in circles here and I do want to get to other things today. Like finishing my great book. And chatting with a few interesting looking people that are floating around Starbucks this afternoon.
So in closing. Meaning we know can come from a lot of different places. Fulfillment, purpose, passion, drive etc? Same. Lots of place. So It doesn’t have to be from work. And I know when I look back on my life from the perspective of the death bed that I want to have valued time and experiences. Family and friends. And not work and money.
But even with all that said? Right now I still feel like I want to find a way to get some meaning and purpose from my work as well as the other great aspects of my wonderful life.