“Well, yes. You are where you hoped to be.” I responded not quite understanding her inquiry.
“I mean is this all I’ve worked for?” Jess had successfully completed high school as an honor graduate amidst a difficult family life and struggle with depression. She worked her way through a prestigious university. Now she was three months into employment in her field. “Is this all there is?”
“Your focus is different now. You no longer have the short-term goals of test scores and grades. Your GPA is not your measure of success. Now, Jessica, as an educator you are impacting young lives!” And, thus, began our conversation on changing focus but not her passions or her core.
What is central in life…the core of my being? We allow so many influences into our lives. They all vie for our undivided attention. Employers, professors and teachers, coaches, families, friends, faith leaders … even advertisers. When an influence becomes the driving force, it has now gained the title of “core.”
What is your core?
Examine the possibilities….
Is it GPA or SAT score? School does end. There will be a final day of tests and classes.
Is it children? That works for about 14 years, then they grow up and want space. But then, isn’t that actually the goal?? We want our children to become independent. So, parents, let them go.
Is it childrens’ activities? An even more precarious subset of the above core. What happens when they get cut from the team? Or the cost is too much? Who can really pay for four dance classes a week? Or four out-of-town sports tournaments a month? Or (horrors) they lose interest in the sport/art/activity?
Is it physical appearance? The growing industries of personal trainers, botox treatments, plastic surgery, Rogaine sales suggest this is quite the emerging 21st century core.
Is it physical stuff? Consumerism is alive and well. Exactly how many pairs of shoes are in my closet? Drive around any suburban area to see the “stuff”. It’s all in the rolling acres of rental storage units. There are even storage unit auctions because people have soooo much stuff that they walk away from their rental storage stuff!
Is it the dog? Luxury kennel suites, doggie daycare, whole aisles dedicated to canine clothing in PetSmart … really?
Is it work? How many hours does work consume each week? We do indeed need income for food, shelter and clothing. We do indeed spend significant amounts of time at work. We truly want to be doing something significant and meaningful during these hours. But is this your core…where you find meaning? Not many work colleagues will visit you in the nursing home, pay bills for long-term disability, or bring meals beyond a month or two.
Is it faith? THIS is the only constant. My core. It is my faith that I have built my life around.