This article – 7 Life Questions to Answer Before You Turn 30 – passed over my social media desk this week. I thought it was a fun, useful read. I also thought it was a good excuse to answer some questions (that can be answered whenever you want, not just when you’re on the cusp of 30). Because I love to answer questions and explore things.
- If I were to die tomorrow, would I feel satisfied with my life?
Yes and no.
My family and friend Self is incredibly fulfilled. My husband and son are amazing, I have so much love, support, and fun from and with them. My friends (my tribe) are amazing. It’s the very same, there’s just so much love, support and fun in those relationships. I’ve learned what real love is, what real support and encouragement looks like, and who I truly want to spend my life with.
My personal Kim-centric life is lacking. I am awful at self-care and I sacrifice myself and my wants (and needs) altogether too often. I put things aside for A Different Day and look longingly on that “different day.” It never comes, because I don’t make it come. Different days aren’t real until you make them real.
My professional life is severely lacking. I have a great job in an amazing institution. I am super thankful for it and I appreciate it and the opportunities that come with it, daily. I do, however, worry that I will always be “stuck” in the Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm world, doing things for other people. Not helping the way I want to help and not impacting the way I want to impact.
So, yes and no.
- What is my unique value proposition?
I care. Does that count? I care about people and I want to get to their core. I want to understand why they think the way they think and act the way they act and speak the way they speak so that I can help them (if/when they need help). I have experience with shitty people and shitty situations and the most important thing it’s taught me is that everyone has a story. It’s that whole book and cover thing, you have to read the text. Sometimes there’s astounding beauty beneath the haggard and sometimes what lies beneath surface beauty is vile.
- Who inspires me most?
AC. She is amazing. She is a gifted teacher, a supportive friend, an enthusiastic encourager, and she loves with every fiber of her being. She lives her life the way she chooses, following her heart and her passion. She has an outstanding support system who is unconditional in their love for and encouragement of her. Seeing her with her family, listening to her speak about them, sharing stories of experience and life, and just watching her interact with the world is inspiring. She makes me want to be a better person, to be a more caring person, to live life less judgmentally, to find stories, to share stories, and to hug often. She is my friend, my sister, my mentor, my heart. (And now I’m crying. Moving right along…. )
- Why do I get up in the morning?
To hear a chipper “hi momma!” and have a toddler cuddle. Because in those moments, the world dissolves and I understand what’s important. I truly do, because here’s a thing about toddlers (and babies): they demand the world. Everything is about them. When they want a hug, you damn well better give them a hug…or else…. I’ve learned a lot about life and how to see the world from my son, but what I’m learning now is the importance of self-care. If now is the time to drop the book and play with the Bruder skid steer, then now’s the damn time. If now’s the time to write, then the dishes/laundry/vacuuming/whatever can wait, because now’s the damn time. I get up in the morning for more lessons for my life, from my life.
- How much did I learn today?
A lot. I find, especially in the last two and a half years, that I learn a lot in my day-to-day. Not a day goes by where there isn’t some valuable experience, or learning opportunity.
- Who do I love, and have I told or showed them lately?
I’ve mentioned my people, I love them. I do tend to tell people that I love them, because I love to tell people I love that I love them. But I like to show them, too. I like to bake for them. I like to buy coffee for them. I like to show up unannounced, not to be a pest or take up their time, but to leave a bag of cookies on their doorstep first thing in the morning. I like to buy a magazine or sour candies (kryptonite) for my husband when I grocery shop. I like to take those forty minutes of time between arriving at home and going in the door of our house because my son loves to scoot along the cul-de-sac on his little “bike.” I like to (try) not rush through life from one “should” to the next.
- What is my definition of success?
Fulfillment. I know I won’t love every day when I find my spot in the world, because that’s unreasonable. Bad days happen and Depression is my albatross from time to time. Some days suck and that’s okay (because there’s coffee in fox mugs for those days). But my definition of success is not having that itchy, crawl-out-of-my-skin feeling. Being able, allowed, and encouraged (by myself) to evolve. Success is making the opportunity to explore my passions and discover my life. Success is passing the value of my life and well-being (physically, mentally and spiritually) to my family. Success is seeing my sons grow into their own beautiful people not because I told them to be themselves, but because I showed them to.
What does this mean? That I’m on the right track, I think. At least in the theoretical. I’m learning what’s important and I’m learning that ignoring that for “The Norm” is useless. I don’t want to be that “when I’m retired” person. I don’t want to save up my dreams and goals and aspirations for A Different Day. I’d really like to learn how to make Today that Different Day and take time for the things that are important. Dust bunnies and grass stained knees be damned.
Have you answered these questions? Will you answer these questions? If you do, I want to read your answers.