The impending New Year for most is fuelled with anticipation, excitement and possibility – the reality in truth, is that it can often be riddled with quashed expectations, questions of self-worth, and the desire to find purpose and fulfilment. Why do we always seem to be seeking at this time of year instead of being satisfied with who we are and what we have? Have we become a community at large addicted to perfecting oneself even when healthy, content and happy? Do we have to be more, earn more and achieve more in order to resolve personal guilt and undertake exercises in self-betterment? I have always set goals, revelled in reaching them and celebrated when they were executed well – so I am not saying there isn’t a need to dream big – I am merely suggesting that resolutions would serve us better if they catered for matters of the heart and soul as well.
Growing up, we were often asked at school what we wanted to ‘be’ when we got older. Some of my classmates were quick to suggest iconic titles in a phone book; Doctors, Vets, Teachers, Fire fighters etc. etc. Never once did I hear; ‘a healthy and happy person’, ‘a Mum’, ‘a Dad’, ‘a loving wife or husband’… I wonder now if our reasoning was due to a lack of awareness around the fundamentals of adulthood, or could it have been because we didn’t think we would be adequately recognised and defined without a socially-identifiable title?
Last week I stared up at a beaming display of glittering fireworks and farewelled the last seconds of 2015. I had two distinct thoughts at this moment which was a muddled experience of gratefulness and insecurity. I knew that I wanted to continue to love and be loved by my treasured family, always do the best I could for them and ultimately create my own happiness – in the same breath I was already fearful of how I might fulfil it. It is a human response to balance inferior thoughts with powerful affirmation, and it’s often a fine line when believing in ourselves enough to tackle a new challenge or change direction. Looking down at my beautiful son and standing beside my loving husband when the final moment from the past dissolved into a new year; I gathered semblance, patience and energy from the experience of being in what I deemed to be a fortunate position (that if unimproved), would still package up to be something to behold.
Motherhood is still by far, the most disarming, wonderful, trying, frustrating, joyous experience I have ever been afforded in my lifetime, and I take my hat off to other Mums (and Dads) that are juggling this giant role with work, study, and other mounting pressures and commitments. Yes I have dreams that I hope to one day entertain, and of course I want to continue to improve and learn for myself and those I love most; but at no cost am I going to compare my state of being or beat myself up if a resolution made in an idyllic moment is wilfully demoted by the need to be present or digest new ventures at my own unique pace. Contentment exists in the soul, and your personal experience is yours to master.
Perfectly depicted in a quote from The Buddha (c. 563 – c. 483 BCE India), “if your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete”.