On Friday night, I went to see Janet Jackson and had a blast. In the middle of the show, I thought to myself, "this is why I work." For the past few months I've been contemplating my career. I enjoy my job. But the concert reminded me that I want to be a person who works to live and not one who lives to work. I don't want to be defined by my job title.
Ever since my parents died 3 years ago, I've been on this internal journey, asking myself why am I here... What's the point of it all? I've gone through months of feeling simultaneously unanchored and directionless. I've questioned my faith - or lack thereof. I've been overwhelmed by my smallness relative to the enormity of the planet and universe. I've been overwhelmed by the bigness of the potential impact of my words and actions on the lives of others. I've stressed out about what it means to be 40 and how much time has passed, while stressing about what to do with what could possibly be the next 40 years. This is the definition of a grief inspired mid-life crisis.
So while dancing to Janet's greatest hits, I decided that THIS is why I work. The ability to dance, sing and laugh with 2 wonderful women is why I work. The ability to walk/run a 5K with a dear friend next weekend is why I work. While I don't have the luxury to do all of the things I want, I definitely have a variety of great opportunities available to me.
When I think about what I want for my life, my job is simply a means to get those things. A healthy life. Sharing time with family and friends. My students are important to me, but they are not my life. They are my job. I've been trying to convince myself that I want to climb to a higher title, you know... live up to "my potential." Once I get over the idea that everything short of the top is not worthy, I will be able to live in the space that I'm in and not think of it as settling. As I get out of my head and let my heart guide the way, I am getting more and more comfortable with my decision. No more wondering about what's on the other side of the fence. My grass is just fine.