On finding the meaning

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I have a need to feel useful, to feel productive. I define the success of my days by how much I have achieved. Tasks completed, homework done, laundry folded, emails answered, kids fed. It’s a simple yes or no. Is it done or not? It’s all about the what.

This is why I love my lists. They bring order to the chaotic nature of life, they give me a sense of control. They help me feel less overwhelmed.

But, somewhere along the way I seem to have forgotten the why.

I may be productive, but do I have purpose?

And, I think that’s an important distinction. Because if we don’t have purpose, how can we know that we’re doing the right things. That all our busyness has context and meaning. Not just to ourselves, but to those around us.

It can help us make sure that while we’re ticking things off those endless to-do lists, we’re not forgetting to take a moment and breathe. Refocus.

Homework is done, but is it understood and applied? Emails are answered, but have you dropped a note to the friend you’ve haven’t spoken to in months? The kids are fed, but are they happy?

Are you happy?

When I begin to think (worry) about the why, I can very quickly become overwhelmed. What am I doing with my life?!

It’s easy to feel that grand gestures are required in order to make a difference. Especially in our current political climate: I can’t imagine I’m alone in feeling powerless and inadequate in the face of such global turmoil.

How can I ever do enough, be enough?

But, really, the simplest of actions can have a huge impact.

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Discuss that Social Studies project. Send that email. Laugh with your kids.

Read a book, write a story, help a friend.

Model kindness, teach tolerance, add your voice.


Do what you can: something is always better than nothing. Great things can come from small beginnings.

Months ago I was tagged by a wonderful writer, who blogs over at My Degrees of Separation, in the three day quote challenge. I am monumentally bad at responding to tags – add them to the deadline-hanging list! – but I generally get round to them eventually, especially if it’s one that has sparked my interest and inspired me to think. This is Day Two in that challenge.

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3 thoughts on “On finding the meaning”

  1. Yes purpose can easily get lost in lists can’t it!? I think we have to make that time for assessing our goals regularly to make sure we aren’t lost in the forest of actions. Also we know so much about so many people achieving ‘great’ things we mustn’t forget that there are plenty of other people who are just living a ‘great’ life, out of the spotlight. Xx

  2. I can relate to all of this! The list making, the desire for meaning and purpose and the sense of overwhelm. It’s the little things that keep me grounded. Time with friends and family, drawing, writing, sitting in the sunshine… Xxx

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