I just finished reading an inspiring post by Agapi Stassinopoulos on taking time to find out who you really are. One part, in particular, stood out to me:
“In one of his dialogues, Plato talks about the "divine design" for each of us -- the idea that every person is destined for a task that no one else can accomplish, a path that no one else can take.”
I struggle sometimes, wondering what my own divine design is supposed to be. I have always known that motherhood was part of that design. I’m sure I make my share of mistakes-and I definitely have those moments that make me want to pull out my hair--but I feel incredibly enriched by my experience as a mother. It is, I think, the only thing I always knew I wanted and had no doubts about.
I have said many times that becoming a mother is the only truly life-changing event I have ever experienced. When I was young, I had this notion that I would somehow be a different person once I accomplished something or hit a life milestone. I was always somehow disappointed to find out that it was still me, just a 21 year old me, or me with a job. That changed as I gained a self-acceptance over the years and came to see being "just me" as okay. Then just when I thought I had it all figured out, I became a parent. Wow-talk about seismic shift! It was as if my world had been flipped upside down. Those first months after our daughter was born were filled with so many new experiences, fears, joys, and responsibility that I felt as if I had, myself, been reborn. It took a lot of time to get my bearings and figure out just who this new Jennifer was. I found myself on a completely new and unexpected detour on my "path".
Now that our daughter is getting older and gaining more independence, I find myself needing to build on that “divine design”. What else do I want to accomplish? What other routes do I want to explore?
I have always had such great admiration for people who are doing what they love to do. I”m not necessarily talking about as a career-sometimes life’s responsibilities or other factors keep us from that. Maybe it’s a deep commitment to a charitable cause or a love of woodworking...anything that brings a sense of joy and fulfillment.
I sometimes beat myself up because I don’t stick to one endeavor for long (In recent years, I have been really into -at different times-acting classes, photography, and yoga, to name a few). I get incredibly wrapped up in a pursuit and, then one day it’s just not as interesting as it once was. I’ll still dabble in it, but the intensity is gone. Maybe it's wrong to see this as a bad thing-a fickleness that should somehow be squelched. I wonder if I should just go with this impulse, rather than fight it. Maybe it's part of my path to be a dabbler!
I think more about these things now that I am a parent. It’s important for me to be a good role-model for our daughter. I want her to be inspired by me in some way. I consider it one of my biggest challenges as a parent. I realize her path will be different, and she will likely find her joy in completely different ways than I have. That's the way it should be. The important thing is that she has an enthusiasm for life, for learning new things and a desire to forge her own, unique path, based on her strengths and interests.
I hope to still be doing the same.
Jennifer also writes for her blog, momopins.com