As I approached my mid thirties, I remember wondering, “is this it?” My life began feeling like it had reached its full potential. I had become a mother, finished my formal education, settled into my dream job, moved across the country, divorced my first husband, and was overwhelmingly busy maintaining the life I had built. Just like most other mothers in their mid thirties, I was so consumed with the foundations of my family and work life, there was nothing else to consider. I had a glass of bourbon every night after I put my girls to bed, coffee in the morning as I read my Bible, and I worked out for about an hour or two a day. That was my life. Meaningful relationships outside my household were a thing of the past. Although I was single, I wasn’t even dating. There was no time to build anything like that.
I became overwhelmed with depression. Was this it? Had I seriously been created to have children, fail in my marriage, and just work endlessly until it was time for me to die? Really?
Years later, as I approach my 40th birthday, I see a clear truth:
Reaching beyond day to day responsibilities has to be deliberate.
The desire to reach has to come from a place of purpose and a place of gratitude. The purpose is to learn. To learn is to live. Seneca said, “This is what you have to teach me, how to be like Odysseus- how to love my country, wife and father, and how, even after suffering shipwreck, I might keep sailing on course to those honorable ends.”
We have the opportunity to love and to rebound after failure. The moral of the Odyssey, and so many other classics, is perseverance, humility, and living. We are created to learn, to charge on, to weather storms and become more beautiful after it all.
The wisdom we gain as we experience our lives will position us at the precipice of beginnings which take all that experience and put it towards something bigger than ourselves, our families, our personal foundations. We are called to continue on with our journeys, walking paths that are new to us. To continue to learn is to have self-respect. It’s to honor our heartbeats and our breaths and acknowledge that our purpose isn’t fulfilled when we hit adulthood.
How do we learn as adults? We indulge curiosity. Curiosity is the beginning of your path. That thought, that wondering, THAT is where your path begins. That is where you have the opportunity to become extraordinary.
There’s always something there beneath the surface that tugs, whispering, “I wish I could... ,” ”I bet if I had time I would...”, “I wonder what it would like to...”, “I bet I could... .”
That is the beautiful business of being human; the excitement of being a Learner and living a life with purpose. The acknowledgement of the soul is what keeps our hearts beating strong. Feeling a purpose in the things we do every single day is how we keep our lives meaningful.
All things and all moments lead to THIS moment; this curiosity which leads to this chance which leads to this path.
We must start with a decision to learn, to reach beyond our foundations, and to take the gratitude for what we already have and use it to inspire ourselves to new beginnings.