It’s the new year, 2023, and if you’re anything like me you just cannot fathom how quickly the years are flying by. On the one hand it seems like a long time we celebrated the last new year, but on the other hand, I am still mentally trying to process 2020. That was a right old year!
Before we start, if you would like to delve into this topic even more, head over to this weeks podcast episode, Living with & finding your purpose.
Living by default or living a life of purpose
The world is full of people telling us how we should live our lives, what we should eat, how we should parent and so much more. It doesn’t matter on which way you turn someone somewhere thinks we should be doing something differently. It’s exhausting.
Over the course of the last year I have thought a lot about the way we choose to live and I think a lot of comes down to living with purpose and with intention. But what does that even mean, because you could be forgiven for thinking it’s just another one of those buzz words.
Firstly, I am going to hazard a guess that it is going to look different for everyone.
But secondly, slow living, living with a little more intentionality, and living with purpose comes from living in a certain way. It’s about being intentional in the way you live, the things you do and it’s choosing not to live by default, and not just go with the status quo of life. It’s about aspiring to something more.
Living with purpose
I’ve done many things through my life and I connect them all to work, all to the career I’ve had; whether that be marketing, running my own social media business or being air cabin crew. At the beginning of 2022 I didn’t really know what I wanted to ‘do’ when my maternity leave finished in May 2022. It was the first time that I didn’t have a thing to do when it came to my career. Instead I was going to stay home with the kids, and arguably that is far harder work than any job or career I’ve had. That being said though, it took a while to get comfortable with that, and that was a me thing, a society thing, a thing where my work as a mother isn’t valued because I don’t go out to work.
I had to have that conversation with myself about what I truly wanted, what my passions and values are, and whether the life I was creating aligned with that.
Like I said, society doesn’t value the work of the stay at home mother,and therefore considers my job as less than if I was to go out to work. We are the product of a society that makes the choices for us, or at least encourages us without us really realising. Go to school, get a good job, work hard, buy a house, then buy a bigger house, a better car, more things. Rinse and repeat. It’s driven by consumerism that of course wants us to be this ever-present cog in the wheel and slowly moves us further away from who we are as humans. Instead we move closer to who society wants us to be.
When we find our purpose, and work on ourselves every day to fulfil what we want, it puts us back in the driving seat and in control of making our own choices again. It shouldn’t even be a thing, but it sadly is. I’ve always explained it as either living on purpose or living by default. The default is easy, the life society has laid out for us, that we’re expected to live. It is so much the norm that we don’t even really realise that we are doing anything other than making our own choices. It’s only when you truly look at it do you realise that we’re all just following a path laid out by someone else. I mean, sure, we have some say in it, but the stops are all the same. Living with purpose is about stopping and measuring those things, and working out what we really want, from the core of our being. It’s deep but it’s also necessary work. Just because a life by default has always been the way it’s been done doesn’t mean you, yes you, can’t break these generational cycles. We can, as humans, either create a life of purpose to step into, or we can go along with the status quo.
Finding my purpose
One of the most important parts of living with purpose is figuring out what you need, and that means figuring it out across all areas of your life. Do you love what you do for a job? Are you happy in your home? Is the way you parent right for you and your children? What are you passionate about and are you following those passions? What are your values and is the life you currently live representing them well?
Like I said, 2022 helped me find my purpose and the funny thing was was that it wasn’t my intention. My only intention, as a person who had worked since I was 16 but also as a business owner for 15 years, was to spend the year getting comfortable without paid work, by getting comfortable with my new role of stay at home mum of two toddlers. I didn’t expect to find my purpose in there and I didn’t expect to find out what I did about myself.
I thought I would be settling into this role as a stay at home mum, and too some extent I did, but I found so much more too. I found even more of a passion for slowing down and living a more intentional life, I found beauty in simplicity, I found a great love in the first year on the allotment. I also found a love in embracing modern homemaking, in diving into some of the lost arts of homemaking, in living a natural, low tox lifestyle, in protecting my family from a chemically based world and living as off grid and we can in our current living situation. I found I continued to embrace living and eating seasonally, in natural medicine and herbalism, in the lost arts of breath work, meditation and mindfulness. I rediscovered my yoga practice the other side of have two children in two years. I found purpose in these things and it became a huge part of my identity. In looking for my purpose in one place, I found it somewhere else.
Creating a life you love
When you find your purpose and live with purpose you suddenly start to be able to create a life around these things. It’s not linear but you start to learn so much about the person you are and the person you want to be. It might not happen straight away, so give yourself grace, but over time you will slowly have a picture of what you might want your life to look like.