I’ve been waking up with that question a lot lately. I’m 28 years old, it’s been 10 years since I graduated high school, 5 years since I graduated college and a whole series of failed “big-hope” dreams along the way. What do I have to show for my 28 years? What meaningful things have I accomplished?
This isn’t about a career. What is a career anyway except a way to pay for things? It’s also not about earning more money. What can I do with more money except find more ways to spend it now or later? For me, every time I wake up and lie there staring up at the ceiling and wondering whether or not to get out of bed, it’s about wanting to do more, give more, be more.
When I was 7 or 8, I would dream up pretend lives for the plastic “Little People” farms, bringing whole sagas to life for hours at a time. In high school, I started writing fiction because I wanted to escape into stories I couldn’t live. Four years ago, I started cooking because I was really unhappy with my career and really lost in who I was. And now I've started this blog to do something more yet again: I don't want to just wake up, go to work, come home, do chores, go to sleep and wait for the alarm to remind me to start all over again. I want more.
But what would “doing more” or “giving more” or “being more” actually involve? What am I missing?
- Volunteer Work: I could get involved somewhere, maybe even with something food related. I could be making a difference in someone else’s life and it wouldn’t be about me or my life. That would be a healthy and welcome change. And it would take me out of my comfort zone.
- Giving Back: I guess this could be the same as volunteering, but it wouldn’t have to be. I could give back monetarily to charitable organizations, buy items to contribute to drives or even contribute needed skills for worthy causes. But I too frequently want to find the easy way out instead of leaving my comfort zone, so rather than sending a check, I should probably stick with volunteering.
- Interest Groups: I could join a fiction writing group, a reading group (although I’d never be able to keep up), a cooking group or a Bible group (if I could find one I meshed well with). In general, I hate networking - it’s like diving into a pack of hungry, self-interested pariahs circling the career drain. But joining a group with common interests might not be so bad. Hopefully I could make a friend or two so it’s not just about the writing or cooking or reading.
- Honesty: I find it really hard to open up to other people honestly. I get embarrassed about things that make me different, I get afraid that people might not like the person they end up discovering, or I don’t know what to talk about so I keep silent entirely. But honest communication is something that could let me “be more” than what I’ve been.
- Faith: I know this post is starting to morph into a beast ENTIRELY unrelated to food, but I say that all of this stuff does relate back because it’s all related to love. And if I can’t get love right (i.e. how to love myself and love others) then I really can’t get food right. So it’s all connected so if you’re getting bored, skip down to the part where I talk about food. But right now, I want to talk about faith.
Everyone has their own personal drama with faith at some point. Mine has been building for years and I doubt I’ve reached the crescendo, but yesterday was certainly a full orchestral moment. Anyone who knows me well knows there is one area of my faith that is in stark opposition to the moral foundations of most established religions/faiths. I’ve gone round and round trying to sort out my faith, trying to make sense of what I believe and trying to make it fit with my life - all while trying not to. Confused? So was (am) I.
But I’m not as confused now. I haven’t been granted an answer to my great dilemma, but in the end, it doesn’t make a difference anyway. Love is still love, God is still God, and faith is still faith. Sacrifice all, give up my life and take my cross - whatever I am given along the way is just a temporary pleasantry. So while I still want to know the answer, I do not have to try to find a specific answer.
I’m very open about my faith, so if you’re confused and think I might be in need to a sanity check, Tweet or Facebook or comment me.
- Love More: Love could cover almost anything, but I guess what I really mean is finding more opportunities to show love. Actually, I think that sums up the whole “do more, be more, give more” pretty well. Finding opportunities might be sharing more food-related blogs, volunteering, joining a group (to contribute), working on honesty, building my faith, etc. Ok, just scrap this whole post and let's start with this paragraph: Love More sums it all up. It’s not naive or simplistic or idealistic - I genuinely believe my desire to do more, give more and be more would be satisfied by finding opportunities to love more.
When I first started writing this blog, I admitted I sometimes don’t know where I’m going with a post until I get there. I want to blog unfiltered. So that’s what happened today - just an outpouring that eventually worked it’s way here. But I think it’s valuable: the words “love more” wouldn’t mean much even to me if I hadn’t gone through stuff like volunteering, honesty and faith.
But getting around to finding time to seek out opportunities to demonstrate love is a big challenge. A lot of days, I’m burned out and frustrated by the time I get home and just getting dinner together is a miracle. Other days I feel sorry for myself and do even less. And then there are the power days when I’m out to conquer life - hi, that’s today.
But power days are really “love” days. Those are the days when I’m focused, checked-in and locked-on to love. Love creates more energy, more time, more patience, more pleasure. Love compels action. So on “love” days, I feel invigorated, empowered, excited and happy. On love days, I seek out opportunities to do more, give more, be more.
If I sound like a simplistic hippie, answer me this: what, besides love, motivates you to do anything?
So that means more cooking (with love), more volunteering (with love), more writing (with love), more honesty (...), more faith (...) - I’m fired up today and that’s good because today I didn’t wake up and ask myself “What am I doing with my life?” The answer is revealing itself...