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There is this inner fear that all the universe except for me has figured out the answers to the questions I have—that my readers think as they read my pontifications on whatnot, “Wow, that’s pretty obvious—wonder why she isn’t getting that?” You know: that fear of looking foolish before the committee…
My puzzle-solving brain has taken these existential questions of identity, purpose, belonging, and alignment and used them to create a theory that helps explain the sense of tension that many of us feel in our meta-cognation about our lives. We have silos. A number of them which we try our best to manage: work / profession / financial / contribution; relationships / belonging / connecting / family / romance; logistics / errands / laundry; growth / reflection/ meditation / intention/ discovery / risk; intellectual / skill building / conversation / education; health / recreation / sleep / food; identity / strengths / expression / choices. Not definitive categories but a general idea of how I’m shaping things.
And this is what I’ve found: very few of us have figured out how balance them all well at once. The word I use to broadly describe what I am trying to get at is alignment.
I, for example, am having a great year for discovery, experimentation, and friendship building. I have taken steps to force myself outside of my comfort zone with improv, life’s classroom on how to work and play well with others. My therapy and this class are getting me in touch with an emotional side that long lay dormant. I’m identifying what does and doesn’t work for me, but I have done so at the cost of my faith community and I could really use some income. Yet I am peaceful. I’ve had seasons of great investment in kids, financial security, and professional skills development during which time my marriage was imploding and I had very few if any well-tended soul connections; but the feeling of productivity was satisfying.
As I’ve been spending time intentionally meeting new people I find I’ve been applying their stories to my newly forming rubric, and the commonality appears to stand. For all of us: some things are clicking right along and some things are sucking wind. A female academic who loves the challenge of her work but wishes she had kids and could find work closer to family. A male academic who loves his discipline but because of his non-political support of open intellectual inquiry (a story embedded), cannot find a position—considering giving it his very specialized life’s work and what comes next? A former business woman turned educator with a passion for prepping kids for the work world smashing up against minimal funding and bureaucracy that prevents her from using real time IT tools; had to leave her home to find work—loves it theoretically though frustrated by being hamstrung and having to rebuild friendships in the new land. An artist who has figured out how to marry his love for performance with his academic bent, his work is gaining a buzz, but he’s still required to hodgepodge work together to pay the bills and may need to relocate overseas to take advantage of a really amazing opportunity. A married couple displaced by the lack of construction given opportunity to relocate and establish in another state; excited by the opportunity but it requires them to leave grandbabies behind. I’m gingerly avoiding the crazy relationship nuances that I’m aware of.
I might be telling your tale, and email me if you want me to remove you, but the point here is that the perfect blend of having emotional connection, satisfying work, and financial resources all at the same time seems somewhat elusive. Not for everyone, clearly, and part of this is our transformative economy, but I am batting around in my mind whether this tension most of us feel is just part of the human condition which requires us to be missing a piece or two at every turn, or if we are products of cultural steeping in some existential scarcity thinking that doesn’t really have to apply but more generally does.
The people I currently know who do have this worked out are from my online marketing academy. They have figured out how to leverage the internet for money and this allows them the time to pursue their other interests. Possibly I romanticize them because they have walked in the path I am taking and are leaps ahead, but there some commonalities on their lives’ outlooks which include clearly identified goals, reverse engineering of the action required to attaining those goals, the personal habits which support that action, and then the action itself.
They are entrepreneurial and because of their limber skillsets, they have figured out how to get resources coming in passively by providing great (largely automated) value to a large audience. They have mastered branding and value engineering and have scaled their efforts using IT. This frees them up to explore areas of passion while they build wealth. I think what is happening here is that I have written a justification to myself for why I really want to figure out how to do the same. The time flexibility, the opportunity to choose projects of interest independent of my need to exchange hours for fixed dollars appeals to me very much.
This post is about as organized as my head. No real conclusion. Just some noticing while I’m sitting here figuring out how to juggle life’s balls. Would be interested in YOUR thoughts…