So let’s talk about fulfillment. There are so many things we want in this world and it’s always different things for different people. Health seems to be the driving, motivating first choice, but then comes the other more basic fundamentals, like happiness, money, personal achievement, a good relationship, among a host of other things.
Little kids, my own included, see “things and possessions” as the objects that will make them happy. “Oh, if I only had that iTouch, video game, scooter, cool toy.” I try to tell them that happiness is not about what you own, but what you do. Because how many times do they get that one game they were begging for and then a day later they are bored by it and want something else? Or, I heard this example from a buddhist who said “people think that if they just went on that one amazing vacation and got away from work, they’d be happy” but then once they are on that vacation they spend their time thinking about work and all the other things that made them crazy in the first place. You must be internally happy with yourself, in my mind, because without that you can fill your life with objects and you’ll never be truly happy.
So I ask, what makes you happy? For me, yes, when my kids are happy, I am happy. I guess that’s a given and as a parent you’d be remiss if you didn’t automatically say that. But, once that is met, for me it’s about fulfilling my time in a way where I don’t feel like I’m wasting my life. I know, a very type “A” mentality and it’s quite hard on myself. But if work is slow, I feel frustrated. Like I could be doing so much more with my day. So I’ve been filling my outside life with things to help me grow and push myself and I realize it’s because I’m trying to find this even playing field in my life where I feel fulfilled. So, I write, I take boot camp (I will get to this), I am taking sign language classes and even on the side I do a crazy little private food blog with a friend that mimics the Chopped TV show and we have to cook a meal each weekend and our family has to judge it. It’s a lot, but it keeps my mind busy.
Now, let’s talk about this boot camp because folks have asked me if I’ve gone insane. I am doing this because I’ve been hurting myself in Tae Kwon Do (and I want to go back) and this program is supposed to completely build up my core and back muscles and they are monitoring me so that if I feel any real pain, the exercises change. But, most of the time I can do everything except jumping down from this one six foot wall which is quite jarring for the back. It is fun and it is challenging but I’ll be honest – it’s ridiculous. I mean, it’s one full hour of me and 10 – 20 other “recruits” in green camoflauge working out non-stop for an hour. We will do everything from running outside in the rain and dropping and doing pushups on the rough, wet blacktop to running with tires, to doing obstacle courses, climbing walls, rope walks, slides – anything the marine orders us to do and not just once or for a count of ten times – it could be 20 times, thirty. One girl dropped the weights she was holding and she had to go do a lap and back HOLDING said weights that had dropped because she was sweating like a dog. But, it was done nicely. They are not “breaking you down to build you up” but it’s all simply “building you up to do your best.” Still, they’ll make you do things if you screw up and the first day they didn’t like how I (and a few other women) shouted out one of the ten principals (apparently it wasn’t loud enough?) so they made me drop and do 50 push-ups! I was doing them and thinking “I seriously can’t believe I’m doing pushups in the rain and I’m paying for this.” Thankfully they stopped me to do another exercise before I got past twenty, and it’s all in good fun, but it’s hard. Really, really hard. I guess I push myself because I have adamently refused to grow old gracefully. I think I’m a kid and I just expect my body to act like it and so I just continually push myself as if I won’t be crippled the next day.
The sign language classes are something that I’m doing because there is a deaf character in a book I wrote and now I can talk to folks in the deaf community better if I can speak their language. And, I love to learn new things. I also do a crazy little weekly food blog with a friend because I like to cook. I write because I love it. So, I’m trying to fit as much “life experiences” in as I can. I want to travel – am super excited to go away with some girlfriends soon and I’ve got plans to visit family at the end of the summer. I guess I just am cramming everything in so that nothing escapes me. (and I guess, maybe it keeps my mind off things that I can’t control, like work, or family if they’re sick or other things where no matter what I want to do, I simply have no say). So, hence, I keep busy to keep my “mind” fulfilled.
So now tell me please, what are you all doing to find a sense of balance and fulfillment in your life? Am I the only one that pushes themselves to this extreme? Come tell me. I’d love to hear!