I’ve had a version of this post drafted for several years. It’s about flow – a concept I also refer to as life alignment. The idea is this: it’s possible to have all the aspects of my life aligned with who I am and what I value most.
For example, I have a friend who has always loved softball. She watches sports, coaches teams, and teaches P.E. I have another friend who loves the environment and nature; she lives in a gorgeous, wild place, and she’s studying to become an herbalist.
This post has been unfinished because I don’t feel like I have that kind of flow connecting the different aspects of my life. For the past few years, I’ve really been wishing for that kind of connection between all the things I do and am, but it continues to elude me. I’ve continued to update this post and save the draft, hoping that eventually I would be writing a post about how I suddenly, miraculously, had achieved this kind of life alignment.
Sadly, such is not the case. If I publish this post today, it will talk about how my life does not feel aligned in the ways I’d like it to be. My job doesn’t match my hobbies. What I read for pleasure doesn’t mesh with what I pursue professionally. The ways I spend my time aren’t always in sync with who I am and what I’m passionate about.
I don’t think I’ve ever had this kind of life alignment. The closest I’ve gotten might have been during the times when I lived where I was working – when I served with AmeriCorps or when I worked at an outdoor learning center. I was living in a community of like-minded people with similar hobbies; there were lots of friends around to engage in my passions alongside, and my work life had a strong and simple focus. Even then, I don’t think my life had quite the kind of flow I am wishing for – but I think my life was more aligned during those years than it feels now.
For me, one of the challenges of getting my life aligned is that I have a lot of different interests. This is true for many people, though there are some people who have one passion that is stronger than any of their other interests. When I was young, writing was my thing. I studied journalism in college and my plan was to be a newspaper writer. Things shifted at a certain point, and while I continued to journal and write in my free time, a second passion emerged – helping children with special needs. I decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in Social Work and I’ve been working as a clinical social worker with children and families for the last eight years.
Now, as I’ve entered my thirties, started a family, and started to reflect on how my career is aligning with the way I want to live my life, I’ve realized that I don’t have the kind of flow I’ve seen in the lives of others. And I’d like to have that kind of flow someday. I don’t know exactly what that kind of flow would look like for me! Would it be writing children’s books about kids with special needs? Would it be starting a private therapy practice that includes mindfulness, journaling, and creativity as strong components? Would it be starting an outdoor ed center for children with special needs? Would it be working with children and families with a focus on adoption and parenting?
I don’t know.
If I knew, I probably wouldn’t be writing this post.
This playful + peaceful blog is often a way for me to explore things like this – a way for me to think about and write about the ways I want my life to be. A few months ago, I started a post by writing these words at the top: What would my life look like if it were a genuine reflection of who I am? The result was this rambling list:
- Mindful. I’d be fully present in all of the moments of my life. I would WANT to be fully present in all of the moments of my life.
- Writing. I’d be writing a LOT, either for work or for pleasure or for a little bit of both. And my home and my life would be FULL of books and reading!
- LOTS OF PLAY! At work and at home.
- BALANCE. I’d have a rich and fulfilling work life that did not interfere with my rich and fulfilling family life.
- Being MYSELF all day every day!
- Feeling like my everyday choices lined up with what I believe and how I feel about the world.
- The OUTDOORS! I would not spend my entire work day in an office with no windows. (Which, sadly, is the case right now.)
- Lots of laughter, fun, and joy.
- Passionate about what I do – to the point that it’s fun to talk about.
- Service to others, in day-to-day life and in my leisure time, too.
- MOVEMENT and EXERCISE – I love it when my work has a physical component, when I spend all or part of the day moving or running or walking.
- Activities that support a peaceful mind, heart, soul, and body. (A friend is very nourished by yoga, and she’s now a full-time yoga instructor. I’d love it if I spent my WHOLE day doing something that nourished me like that!)
The blog is often a way for me to explore who I am, what I want, and how I want my life to be. The kind of flow I am seeking is out there in the universe, and this time in my life feels important – like this is a time when different things will come together and help me to actually find the flow. We shall see.