A few months ago, I drafted a blog post called “What I Want: A Living Document.” I never had any intention of publishing this post. I started it because I was desperately trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my work and my life.
Becoming a parent really changed the way I think about work. I’ve always known that it’s really important to me to like my job, and to feel inspired and motivated by my work. But my patience level for my work life decreased significantly once I became a mother. My guess is that this happened because I utilize a lot of patience and energy in parenting and now have way less patience for the trials and tribulations of work life.
One of the reasons why I started making a list of What I Want is because what I want has been constantly changing throughout the past year. I’ve really been lacking clarity about my goals, and I find that so unsettling. I like to feel sure about what I want – when I feel indecisive or unsure, I feel lost.
I wrote this little list over a year a go: Things I want to be – A writer. A therapist for children. A farmer. A mommy. A wife. Peaceful. Loving. Kind. Healthy. Strong. Graceful. Faith-full. Mindful. Sometimes I just like to look at these words. There are times when I am all of these things, and there are times when some of them feel so far off from what I am in the moment.
Now that I am getting a fresh start, with a new job as a school social worker at a local public school, I am wondering if I got everything that was on my list. (SPOILER ALERT: I didn’t. But I’m still really excited about everything that I’m getting that was on my list!)
1. I want to learn more about meditation and mindfulness. YES. I can definitely do this at my new job! I’m going to be working with middle school students, who would TOTALLY benefit from this kind of intervention.
2. I want to live closer to where I work. YES! My new job is about 20 minutes from home, which is half my current commute. WINNER.
3. I would like a school job, with summers free. OMG YES. So happy and grateful that this one worked out.
4. I want a job that enables me to love and serve the world in the best way I can. I think so? I hope so. But I’ll have to start to know for sure.
5. I want my WHOLE life to be an honest representation of who I am. I want everything in my life to connect, to be aligned – my job, my writing, the farm, and my family. I don’t know about this one. My fingers are crossed!
6. I want to do crisis intervention work AND/OR grief and loss work with children and young adults. I am pretty sure this will be part of my job, though I guess I’ll have to start to see for sure.
7. I want to feel good about going to work every day, especially on Monday mornings. I REALLY HOPE THAT THIS ONE IS TRUE FOR MY NEW JOB. Usually, the thing that gets me out of bed is feeling useful and connected to the children I am helping, so there is a high likelihood that this one will work out.
8. I want a job that is less mainstream – a little more counterculture. NOPE. Working at a public school is pretty mainstream.
9. I enjoy being a leader, and supervising young social workers. NO. But that’s okay! There will be time for that later.
10. I want to feel free to be my authentic self, at home and at work. Maybe? I think some of this is up to me. I’ll write more on that in the fall!
12. I want to learn more about personality work (Myers Briggs et al). Maybe! I think I can probably incorporate this into my work if I want to, which I definitely do, since I am a major personality type dork.
13. I like helping other people think about what they want to do for work and for life. I think when I wrote this, I was thinking of working with young social workers. But if I apply this to working with young adults, then I am absolutely getting that, too.
Wow – I feel like I got so, so close to exactly what I wanted! And, the bottom line is – what I do for my day job isn’t even the point.
All these months, while I have really thought about what I wanted, what I wanted came down to this: I want time to be with Edgar and Tamara, and I want time to write. If I could snap my fingers right now and make a professional dream come true, it would have nothing to do with a job as a social worker. My professional dream would be about writing fiction and being paid to do it.
And this new job, with summers free and a manageable daily schedule, will give me exactly that. I am so, so grateful.