Creating Meaning: Advice for Parents
Is This All There Is?
Have you ever been exhausted at the end of the day, but at a loss to explain just why? You know you were busy, but wonder if it was worth the effort. Thoreau once wrote, "It is not enough to be busy...the important question is: 'What are we busy about?'" In our busy-is-better society, we might all benefit from asking that question. Most of us move so quickly through our to-do lists that we don't even stop for a breath when one task is done, before tackling the next one. We often spend so much time doing what we "should," that we are too tired to enjoy ourselves even when we can. We frantically race through our days reacting to requests and putting out fires and then zone out at night. Contrast that to times when you couldn't wait to get up in the morning, had energy for relationships at night, and looked forward to volunteering for a cause you believe in. What happened?
If things seem a bit disappointing and you're wondering if life is passing you by, you may be trapped in a "have-to" mindset. Your thoughts may sound like these: "I have to do this, but I don't enjoy it anymore." " I have to do this, but I'm not using my real talents." "I have to do this, but I'm not making any real difference." "I have to do this, but it's too hard." "I have to do this, but it's not challenging anymore."
Knowing what you want, doing what you love, making a difference, taking care of yourself, and continuing to grow all add meaning to life. If you find yourself wondering, "Is this all there is?" it's probably time to revisit your preferences, fine-tune your priorities, and make more choices that feel right from the inside out.
More on: Dealing With Stress
A series of "quick-lifts" excerpted from Recharge in Minutes, ©2003, by Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D.