I’ve been a little bit of a lost or wandering soul most of my life. I felt pushed into the conventional path of life and every now and then I even bought into the line that “if you do this in a certain way, you will reap these rewards”. Go to college=get a great job you love. But there has always been the niggling inner voice inside me yelling false! Don’t buy it! Put the kool-aide down for God’s Sake woman! And it is that inner voice that is responsible for my lack luster meandering thru life as I tried to “find myself” or “my path” and it is that inner voice that has lead me to this place where I sit today. (not literally, but figuratively. I mean I’m literally sitting in a chair, there is nothing remarkable about that) I have been and done so many different things since leaving college that my resume would simply take to long to write if I included it all. I will however give you a taste of the various hats I have tried on and discarded for various reasons just so you have some clear idea what a struggle it has really been.
- candy maker
- radio personality
- personal trainer
- vet assistant
- dog trainer
- dog walker
- pet sitter
- supply salesman
- technical writer
- business owner
- fiction writer
- happy housewife
- meter reader
- executive assistant
- lab technician
- toy salesperson
It wasn’t that all of those hats didn’t fit, as a matter of fact many of them fit well and gave me a feeling of accomplishment and self-esteem I wouldn’t otherwise have. But the reason I kept trying on hats is what’s important here. I was searching for who I am, what my identity should be, and how to capitalize on that identity to live a more intentional life. Thus the idea for The Intentional Identity was born.
All to often we are more a product of our society, culture or family than we are our true selves. We allow society to pigeon hole us into strict classifications instead of defining ourselves and attaching our own self-worth. Think about it for a moment. When you left high school what did you do? Did you go to college? get a job? back pack across Europe? Did you pursue what truly moved you and excited you, or did you take the route that society said is the surest, safest route to satisfaction and the “good life”? (which, by the way, I am constantly disappointed in) Did you define who you were and then build a life around that intentionally chosen identity? Probably not, I don’t think many people do. Is it any wonder that we suffer from so many health and emotional problems when we have been stifling our true self for decades? Is it any wonder that the mid-life crisis is a common occurrence? I don’t think so. I think they are directly related. What do people do in a crisis? They buy a frivolous item(usually a car), they start making friends with new people they wouldn’t normally have in their inner circle, they try on lots of hats looking for just the right one. Hm… perhaps if they had done this in the first place, or had been doing it all along, we wouldn’t call it a midlife crisis, we’d call it intentional living.
I have done a little bit of both as my intentional side often gets sidetracked by my scared and more practical side, but I will tell you that the only times I have felt alive, honest, happy, and content have been while I was pursing my intentional life, NOT when I was being careful or smart or taking the path well traveled. In addition to that little factoid, I have also been far more successful both professionally and personally when I am living the way I intend as opposed to the way society says I should. Don’t get me wrong, society and the standard way of life is great; for many people it fits like a glove and is a warm and cozy place they feel right at home in. There is a reason the vast majority of folks take that path. It is often easier, its track record is well documented, and all your friends are doing it. Many people find contentment, happiness and other benefits to going along to get along. I do not, and never have. Every time my fearful side yells, go get a real job! I cringe. As a matter of fact I cringe right now because as I write this I must admit that I have been doing the real job for 5 years now. And what has it brought me other than good health insurance? (Which I won’t lie is a nice perk)Misery. I am totally reliant on someone else to determine my worth, someone else to define me and my role in the company, someone else to determine my hours, my wage, my perks, my possible termination. Everyday is like living in a tiny prison hoping you make just enough of a mark to get you noticed, but not so much noise that you get fired. It is quite possibly my version of a living hell. But when I got married and had children I felt like it was what I had to do, what the responsible person would do, what a mother would do to ensure her children had a good life.
I stopped living my intentional life and I started living the life scripted by others. And guess what happened? I lost myself, I lost a huge part of what makes me happy, and I lost sight of who I want to be and how I identify myself.
When I re-read my about me the other day I was taken aback that the first identifier in my short autobiography was technical writer. What?!? When did that happen? When did I start actually defining myself to the outside world as the corporate identifier I was given when I started my “Real job” five years ago? Yikes! I won’t lie to you, it was like being slapped in the face by a younger Wendy who was yelling at me to wake up, smell the over priced coffee and start over bitch! Its like the old Bugs Bunny cartoons used to say “I must have made a wrong turn at Albuquerque” because while I do have a husband I adore and children I love, I am just a shadow of who I used to be and I am totally lost and confused trying to turn this boat around. So what is wrong with the real job? If you haven’t figured it out already let me tell you. It isn’t me. I wasn’t a little girl dreaming of working for a government contractor editing requirements and documents that no one will ever read. I didn’t draw pictures of a woman sitting in a cubicle and say that will be me one day! Hell no, I didn’t. Did you? So while maybe I don’t get to be the female version of the Crocodile Hunter, I can still be living a more intentional life than I am. I think I deserve it. I think my husband and kids deserve it too. I think they deserve to share their lives with a woman who knows who she is, lives intentionally toward that ideal, and helps them build their own intentional life.
My husband never complains. He is either a very smart man or a very tolerant one, possibly a mix of both. He is supportive and kind and capable of change and those are traits I have personally found lacking in many people and the main reasons I hitched my star to his wagon-so to speak. He would never say to me “Gee honey, you used to be so much more fun.” or “Gosh, when did you get so stressed out and bitchy.” Nah, anyone who knows him will agree, that just isn’t his style. He just tells me I’m amazing, I’m a great mom, he loves me etc. (all things you will find one day in my as yet published non-fiction book entitled How to Woo a Woman Handbook). I’m not complaining, but in reality I don’t think I have been, and I don’t think I am those things, so it feels like a lie when he says them and I roll my eyes, not out of false modesty but because I can’t even fashion a response that makes sense. I haven’t been myself for a long time.
I started this blog as a way of finding a better life. Of discovering what it meant to find Zen in a life full of outside pressures. I called it Driving Under the Influence of Kids, because that is the main influencer in my life, and I think it should be for anyone who chose to bring life into this world. The journey has just begun, truly it has, but I am already having daily epiphanies about where this will go. I am so filled with renewed excitement and determination to get back to what I already knew to be true, if I live an Intentional Life by creating and staying true to my Intentional Identity, I can’t go wrong. If I put my identifiers in place, create a plan, live up to that plan, then there is nothing I can’t do. I can stop identifying myself as a Technical Writer. I can stop living paycheck to paycheck. I can stop waiting for life to magically change course with no one at the wheel. Its time I actually started driving this rig instead of riding shotgun (how many metaphors can I plug in related to driving… hm…)
I would love love love for you to join me. I would love to be the reason or inspiration that drives anyone to live a more intentional life. I would love to know that my journey meant more than just my own happiness. Please subscribe to the blog. I am hoping to create a step by step guide to living the Intentional Life. I will use myself as the guinea pig. Anyone who subscribes BEFORE this project is complete will get the project for free. Think ebook, videos, workbooks, actual research. Real life examples of success and how to apply it to your own life. Like I said, we can do this together. I know how to get there, I’ve been there before. But this time it will be with purpose and forethought. Just imagine the power in that. Just imagine the power you could find and create in your own life. Stop just getting by. Stop just being alive and actually LIVE. Others are doing it. I’m going to do it. You can do it with me.