Gretchen Rubin maintains that the most important rule of happiness is to know yourself (Be Gretchen is her direct rule). This has become my latest mission because I feel that so many of my previous labels and definitions are fading … I’ll soon be an empty-nester (no more “working mom” “band parent” or “pit crew” … and I’m working my way toward retiring from my day job “manager” and I find myself really questioning what I like. What do I like to do? How do I want to spend my time? Who do I want to spend my time with?
And because there are no obvious answers to those questions (other than spending time with my husband when he’s not traveling), I find myself in the process of redesigning my life.
I am (almost) not sad about this. I LOVE the process of designing my life when it’s my choice. And I WILL get to the point where I fully embrace the fact that my children growing up and leaving is good. And when that time comes, I’ll be ready.
Here’s what I know about myself so far:
- I am an introvert. This means that although I love public speaking (only-child who likes to be the center of attention), I don’t network or make small-talk. And I realized last night that having people unexpectedly knock on my door is unpleasant for me. This knowledge will help me determine what will work best for work, housing, social networks, etc.
- I am a rebel. I resist both inner and outer expectations. I like this about myself, but it means I have to get sneaky to move forward in areas that are important but not urgent.
- I am a minimalist. Not yet in practice, but in my heart I am weighed down by the consumption and maintenance of stuff.
- I am an environmentalist. Again, not always in practice, but I am saddened by the unnecessary waste of natural resources.
- I am a geek. This is one area where accumulation of stuff is not an unwanted weight. I also justify because this is my work as well.
- I am a creator. This is one I struggle with because as I mentioned here I’ve tried many ways to create and haven’t found “my thing” yet … but I’m not giving up.
And as Gretchen points out, knowing yourself includes knowing what you are not. As she says, this is the more painful part … deciding when to let go of previous aspirations or beliefs and embracing yourself fully.
- I am not outdoorsy. Although I loved going to and working at a summer camp growing up, the allergies I’ve developed as an adult (trees with leaves and grass) make it far less enjoyable. If I move back to the ocean or into the pine tree forests, I can re-evaluate but for now, I prefer my walks in downtown.
- I am not athletic. This one is really tough to let go of because I played so many sports growing up — softball, volleyball, tennis, soccer. If I come across an “old sucky sports” league, I can re-evaluate.
So that leaves a lot left in the unknown category … good for me because I also like to try new things!