One of my favorite radio shows is Stand Up! with Pete Dominick. I started listening to this show several years ago when we bought our van and had our 3 month free trial of Sirius XM. I soon became addicted and couldn’t wait to get in my car for my evening commute so I could listen to him.
Pete is special. He is a Comedian with a love for politics and social issues. He talks about things that matter, topics that people should care about in the world. Every show leaves me contemplating issues and viewpoints I had never considered, and every show challenges me.
Pete is well read and is constantly sharing books and articles that everyone should read to broaden their knowledge and understanding. He is open to all view points, but simply insists if you are going to make a case for something, it needs to be based on facts, not on gibberish or opinion.
No generalizations. Bring the facts, and you will be heard, regardless of your side of an argument.
I love it. In the two years I’ve been listening to Pete Dominick, my world has been opened up to issues and topics I never considered. I have learned about health care policy, veterans affairs issues, the war in Afghanistan and current issues, gun control, legalization of pot (or not?) the LGBT issues, spirituality and religion, hunger issues, humanitarian issues, and so on and so forth. He brings in incredible guest speakers and experts on the topics and has a real two way conversation.
I can honestly say that I am changed because of this radio program.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Pete each day as he closes his program: “Be the Change you want to see in the world.” Is there any better advice out there??
So what does this have to do with happiness?
This morning on the show he quoted one of his previous guests. The guest was a holocaust survivor who said something along the lines of “Happiness comes from a sense of purpose and meaning in life.” (This is very loosely quoted, because I cannot remember his exact quote… but something like this!)
The quote struck me because over the last few weeks I have been re-examining many personal issues and this quote sums up what I have been trying to make sense of in my own life. I believe that, like this quote states, in order to be happy, I must have a sense of purpose and I must have meaning in my life. I need to be doing something meaningful. And for some reason, I didn’t realize that being a mother in the here and now, being a good wife, friend, sister, daughter, etc are some of the most meaningful and purposeful roles out there.
I haven’t been able to come to that conclusion until very recently.
Since Kathryn died I have thrown myself from one big project into another… with no real direction or even purpose, other than my work with the March of Dimes, which gives me both direction and purpose. But in my attempts to find happiness and to feel fulfilled, I have done some silly things.
I didn’t think that being “just a stay at home mom” was enough. I needed a project, a business, a “something” more. For example, I bought a whole crap ton of jewelry making supplies (never having made a piece of jewelry in my life) thinking that I would start making and selling jewelry. I have yet to touch any of the supplies, except the wire cutters, which I used when I cut the flowers for my lovely fall wreath.
More recently, I decided I was going to make cloth diapers. Thank God I stopped myself short of buying the embroidery machine that I thought I could learn how to use to embroider cute patterns on my diapers. Of course I would set up an Etsy shop and just have immediate success. The package of materials for the diapers is in a pile on my desk. Hopefully I will make at least one cloth diaper before Tiny is potty trained!
On the other hand, I have avoided more important elements, such as organizing, cleaning, getting rid of the clutter (things that are important to my husband)… and most importantly, being a PRESENT mother.
Then last weekend my husband and I had a big blow out. And although he has been telling me the same things for months, I finally heard him. But it took a phone call to my best friend in the world, who knows me better than anyone and also knows my husband, before I truly GOT what he was saying.
Although I’ve been searching for my own sense of purpose and meaning to find happiness, I have been neglecting the most important purpose in my life right now – my role as wife and mother. In the most ironic twist of all, I, the mommy blogger, have been having a more intimate relationship with my computer than I have been with my children and husband. I have been so self absorbed that I have been missing what is right in front of me.
So over the last week I avoided the computer. I didn’t post regularly, I didn’t get on Facebook or Twitter, I didn’t check my email.
Instead I played in the yard with my children. I caught up on yard work. I sorted through some of the clutter (ok, there is a lot left to be done there!!) I sold some things, donated some things, and am trying to simplify my life. I went on a field trip with my son and didn’t take out my phone, other than to check the time. (Thank you Chris for that suggestion of being in the moment!)
And life has been GOOD. We have been happy.
Ironically, while I was “being in the moment” Tiny managed to face plant in the dirt from her swing that was four feet off the ground and I had to take her to the doctor – but she is ok! (She was strapped in! I swear!)
I spent time with my daughter and enjoyed her very first dance recital. And I wasn’t worried about what I hadn’t posted or how many blog posts I needed to read and comment on.
I felt happy.
This by no means is a post to let you know I am ending my blog or my writing. Writing is also a way in which I find a sense of purpose and happiness, and I still have a lot of work to be done in bringing awareness to TTTS and other important issues for mothers, babies, and children.
However, I am going to take a step back. The world will not end if I do not post every day.
Rather, I am going to focus on my real purpose… my time as mom to little ones who need me. My time as a wife, to a husband who needs me.
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
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