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I was surprised when purposefulness was drawn as our virtue of the week. I don't think I would have ever named it as a virtue before. Usually one thinks of kindness, generosity, love, obedience, truthfulness...etc., etc. Anyway, purposefulness was a surprise to us.

So, as usual, we did a little research and found out a bit more about purposefulness. I also realized that although I can be purposeful, I don't particularly always like to be purposeful. Sure, put a trip to Spain in front of me and I will delight in being purposeful. However, put a 90 page thesis in front of me and my zeal for purposefulness wains. Considerably. But that's not all, it points to a large source of my stress and anxiety, I believe. Ah, how amazingly interconnected everything is. I may eventually get to my ideas of success and failure, too.

So sorry if this is boring for you. More for my benefit than yours, I suppose. Feel free to stop here.

Anyway, if you're still around - stress and anxiety. Tasks which loom over me, threatening to crush me, are those with vague, extended deadlines, not to mention those which take an intricate amount of organization. And yet, I know that in the past these very projects have brought me much satisfaction - my thesis, organizing conventions, marriage.... Somehow the idea is much scarier than the reality. Why is that? Why don't I seem to have the self-confidence to convince myself that I will succeed? After I received the revision of my first chapter, I cried. For an entire day, I cried. I felt those revisions were literally stating "This is impossible." I seriously thought of walking away. Thank goodness I had a supportive group of people around me, including one very, very understanding advisor. May God bless the entire line of that woman.

This also means that anything vague about my future is also disconcerting to me. I tend to consult anyone and everyone. Looking inside, consulting myself - I'm working on that. I have trouble finding a voice inside that wishes to express itself to me.... On the other hand, I'm also realizing that to some extent, in certain things, I truly do not care. Our trip to Spain? Mark and our friend, Krisia totally planned it. It was probably somewhat unhelpful to hear me repeatedly say "really, I don't care, you decide", but I really wanted to just follow. I had no expectations about where we were going, what we were seeing, or anything. I just wanted to relax. Not in Israel.

So, a current issue I'm struggling with is what do I want out of life? What is my purpose? Wow, biggies, eh? I know, in broad strokes, but the devil's in the details. Do I want to get a PhD? Will I survive it? When? In what? If I don't go back to school, what work will I do? For how long? Would it be more productive for me to find a job to support us while Mark is working on the restaurant, or for me to work at the restaurant? Things I probably won't know until we actually get to that point, I suppose.... Would I go back to school after that? How does one fit children and anything else in at the same time? [Char, how do you do it? You are one amazing woman, if you didn't already know that.]

These struggles produce anxiety. Why do they produce anxiety? Ahhh...because of my concepts of success and failure. What if the restaurant isn't a hit? How do people survive when their financial endeavor goes south? How do they manage for their children? I so don't have entrepreneurial blood in me. I'm much too worried about the concept of failure. What do I have to do to succeed? Nobel laureate in literature? And yet, looking over my past, I can't spot too many failures. I failed to get my Gold Award in Girl Scouts. I've survived, obviously, but I do regret it. Hmm...let's see...see, that's the thing, with time, my failures get redefined. I never got a deer when hunting with my father, but I have some sacred memories of delicious time alone with my father counselling me. And he's never gotten a deer ... and he's still going. Clearly, it's not all about the hunting. :-) I really can't think of many things I have seriously failed at [just a note: you don't need to remind me].

What is success for me? A sense of accomplishment? How tied in to success is praise? Ahhh... I won't answer that one. Not here. Honestly, though, I think I have lived a pretty successful life. I have all the basic necessities, including, to a large degree, my health. And I have love - in family and friends. What am I searching for? What is me?

Some other time. Maybe.

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I wrote a cute comment but I hit some key and whoosh, off to never never land it went...
So a restaurant, eh? Cool. Does that mean that architecture is out? Come to Oldtown...set up a restauraunt here! Seriously!

Hey Mara... your post got me thinking on the meaning of achievements and failure. I am trying to tie it to my personal and limited knowledge of the Faith... and somehow the only thing that comes to me is that we never fail... we just grow in faster or slower pace. A test, lets say that opening up a restaurant doesnt work out financially, could be a material failure.. but it is the means to a spiritual achievement. I think everything we do in life is done by choice. With failure, we choose to make it a failure instead of looking at it as a means to a victory, to growth...
anyway.. hope you are doing fantastic with your service and everything else!

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This page contains a single entry by Mara published on December 14, 2004 4:33 PM.

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