Yesterday I took a cardio walk with my son in the stroller, showered and put on a clean outfit, went to the library and wrote for two hours, picked up my daughter and ran to the Target, came home and blogged for a bit, then hosted a friend and her daughter for dinner.
Most days are not like that. Most days aren't even half of that.
But, as I was loading groceries and diapers and paper towels into my SUV while wearing suede booties and keeping an eye on my preschooler buckling herself into the car seat, I felt deeply happy with where this day was going. I felt, dare I say it, fulfilled.
I know it's become very uncool to say that. I know that I'm supposed to feel valued and secure just by BEING and not tying my worth to something like productivity. Productivity itself is looked at as some relic from the 90's. These days it's all the rage to JUST BE and not DO. The internet is bloated with advice to throw away your To Do lists. And I know that for some people who've been running the treadmill of life, they need to hear this BE message, that their heart is relieved not to be judged by achievements great or small.
And then there are people like me who read JUST BE posts and think I don't get it. I like my lists and I like pulling off a great task. I don't like failing (which happens), but it seems to come with succeeding (which happens, too), so I'll take my lumps. I feel exhilerated by a day that includes time with my family, time to write, errands done, and good friends over to visit. Okay, that almost never happens in one day like yesterday, but it usually happens over the space of a week and when that rhythm is chugging along, I'm most fulfilled.
So I got to thinking about these things that make one's cup runeth over. I'm surrounded by friends who look at it differently. Barring family (which most people have in common as a "fulfilling" category), people I know are fed by many things:
- I know women who work because they have to, not because they find anything life-giving about their job.
- I know women who work because it is the single most fulfilling part of their life, the place where, when all else fails, they shine.
- I know women who volunteer only because they believe it's the right thing to do.
- I know women who volunteer because they are called to it, because when they are serving a purpose bigger than themselves the world is better.
- I know women who feel the most alive when they're knocking out tasks right and left.
- I know women who simply emanate love and happiness when they're at home in sweatpants, baking cookies, a novel upturned on the table.
We are all complicated. Everyone likes to be lazy, everyone likes to feel good about an accomplishment. So hear what I'm asking, because I'm really interested: What makes you feel most fulfilled?
For me, I'm most fulfilled when I'm completing tasks and writing. Not to be confused with the things in life I most enjoy, which includes cuddling, reading, and eating chocolate. It's Doing and Writing. Those things fulfill me.