the vocation of being the best me and choosing joy

vocation, noun

1a: a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vocation

Happy almost Halloween! 🎃

The plan of the blog when I started in January was to personally encourage me to to complete more projects, as well as take the time to think about my makes, work toward finding some tried-and-true patterns, and come up with a list of adjustments that will need to be made on most patterns and work toward understanding them and completing them successfully. I also wanted to work toward being more intentional in many areas (read my first post here).

Unfortunately, much of this plan hasn’t happened at all. I have still done some sewing, but minimal blog writing, and I have really struggled with being intentional in my life, with the ultimate goal of health, happiness, and positive self-esteem. Problems have come up with the job I was loving becoming a stressor that has actually pushed me further into what is probably depression. A few good friends have encouraged me to see a therapist, and she has helped me move in a more positive direction, but ultimately I am not going to be able to stay in this job.

My husband and I have a plan for me to go back to “stay-at-home” wife/mom/volunteer. It has brought up more feelings of self-doubt about whether I can be a good role model for my daughter if I take on the “antiquated” role of homemaker rather than being a woman with a career, but when it comes down to it, I am a better human being when when I am focusing on the things in my life that I am passionate about. Those things just happen to be sewing, gardening, cooking and baking, and enjoying my family.

I went to a Montessori-themed continuing education class about a month ago, titled “The Spiritual Transformation of the Adult.” Part of the lecture was on the concept of a job vs. work. The lecturer, Patricia Oriti, mentioned that work is whole, and involves the full participation of body, mind, and spirit, while a job tends to lose this because it is frequently focused only on technique. She used the example of the phrase we use that is “artwork” or “a work of art” to indicate this wholeness that has been applied to the product. Work always has an end product, even if that product is not tangible, but conceptual.

Ms. Oriti next went on to discuss blame and complaining, and this is where things started to come together for me. She mentioned that blame (either self or toward others) is not productive, and actually puts a halt to growth. She says that complaining is a release valve that only allows us to stay in situations that are really not good for us. She said that inside every complaint is a wish or need that is not being met, and that if a true solution cannot be found, that an acknowledgement needs to be made that it is time to move on. This was the big eye-opener about my current job situation. I have found myself constantly complaining about things, and trying to solve problems, but the solutions don’t stick. Every night I will come home to complain about the day to my husband, and when he is out of town, I tend to whine through text messages to various friends.

Ms. Oriti summarized author Brené Brown by saying that becoming a better person is a vocation, and worthy of pursuit. In order to be good human beings, we need to work daily to have the best qualities that make people humane. She emphasized that this is a choice that each of us makes every day, and that we reveal to the world who we truly are through our words, actions, and inactions. She explained that joy is the evidence of internal growth that comes when our whole being is engaged in an activity that requires our attention, discipline, and passion, and that it can be created by determining what causes us to be joyful, and then doing more of that. IT SOUNDS SO SIMPLE! Just make joy a choice by deciding it will be a driving force in my life.

So, after some discussion with my husband, my therapist, and a few close friends, I am choosing to accept that what makes me joyful is to not have a paid job (or at least not this one). I am going to instead devote my time to caring for my family, volunteering (specifically through the local Master Gardener program), and doing the activities I really have a passion for, like sewing, gardening, cooking/baking, even though those things have a social/cultural label of being not worthy. I would rather be a model to my daughter of the best qualities of a good human being, like love, compassion, empathy, respect, patience, gratitude, creativity, generosity, and curiosity, rather than a model of someone who is a “working woman” in a job that makes it very difficult to display any of those qualities.

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2 thoughts on “the vocation of being the best me and choosing joy

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  1. I wish you all the best, but I would submit that these things that bring you joy are also vocations, and getting paid should not be the measure of what work is valuable. Perhaps at some point some of these things can bring in some money. You’re an excellent writer and I’ve enjoyed this blog so far. Taking time off from paid work might help you to find a way to be paid for what you love to do (and if not, it’s not less valuable anyway). I have found value in what you have done so far — I didn’t know anything about Kibbe at all and found the guidance very helpful. So please don’t dismiss the unpaid work that you do. And your daughter will be fine — she’ll see that she has choices available to her.

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    1. Hi Michelle, that is definitely where my brain is heading. It has just been hard to combat the mentality that in order to have value as a person, I must have a job, and not just any job, but one that makes a certain amount of money and has a certain status. I am not sure where I got this idea, though probably my mom constantly mentioning that I “didn’t want to be like her.”

      I am excited to take time off from paid work to refocus on things that bring me joy, and if I happen to stumble into something where I can truly do what I love and get paid for it, I will take a long look at the people involved first, because that is honestly where my problems have started. I did joke that I could just open a sewing/gardening/book/tea shop, but I am very much aware how much work that would be!

      I appreciate your kind words – I love to write as well, and I definitely feel like once I have written things out I am better able to see the direction I want/need to go. It is a good way to collect and organize my thoughts. A friend suggested I might keep at it better if it is a blog vs. a paper journal, and I love to be able to mix in pattern reviews, play with I am so glad that you have been able to find value in my blog.

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