Thursday, August 27, 2015

Short, Mostly Unedited: To Fulfill or not to Fulfill

After just over two weeks at home in this house most of the day by my lonesome, I have come to a slightly greater understanding of myself and what I need as a person.

I need purpose, and I need fulfillment, whatever the heck that really means.

All I really know thus far is that housework is not fulfilling for me. I really thought it could be. I have wanted a clean, orderly house for so long. But, nah. It really does nothing for me to do, fold and put away loads of laundry all in ONE day. It really does nothing for me to trash a bunch of old receipts, recycle papers and get all of the trash out of the house on trash day. I have yet to get a high from really mopping my floors for the first time in months or maintaining an orderly, clean kitchen.

Housework is not fulfillment.

Yesterday, I spent the day folding laundry while listening to a self-help podcast. That is not fulfillment. That is desperation. Dangerous desperation. In fact, no one should ever read, listen to or watch self-help media unless they have a good friend or selfless family member sitting next to them who can hit them up side the head every few minutes while warding off their own desire to doze. Yes, I got my laundry all taken care of while in the throes of other people's problems, but I also got a severe case of soap-opera head during which I imagined I had, have had or will have all the problems discussed by the expert and his woeful guests.

That is not fulfillment. That whiffs of paranoia.

But I don't just want to abandon this house. I do not believe a job would necessarily be fulfillment. Working outside the home just so we can have extra money has never appealed to me. I am not money-driven, and a job just to pass the time would not be fulfillment for me or my family.

My husband - good, steady man that he is - says he wants me to do what will make me happy. My dad suggested I write a book. My big sister Vinca advocated volunteering more and catching up on my sewing.

I don't sew (well), but I would love to write a mystery novel. Though I have read dozens of them, for some reason I still feel ill equipped to write one. But I need a challenge. I need a new adventure, and that would be a great escape, something to test my mettle, my fortitude as a writer.

Volunteering? Absolutely, I should give some of my hours to helping others. I did in fact volunteer at my kids' school this week, and I was struck by just how important the work is that is done at the side of a little student who needs more attention, more assistance. I was impressed by the idea that such kind and patient intervention could make a huge difference in the life of a child who may be struggling in more ways than one.

Fulfillment. Defined as satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one's abilities or character.

Don't we spend our entire lives chasing it? People start gardens, embark on new careers, simplify, volunteer, bake compulsively, have a mid-life crisis, buy time-shares, push their children to succeed, travel, and, yes, write novels or take up painting to seek fulfillment.

I want to fully develop my abilities and my character. As Dad would remind me, it's such hard work, though. Persistent work. Continuous work. I have to work really hard for my fulfillment in becoming a better writer and a better person. (Perhaps being a conflicted person would help with my writing, but being a calmer, humbler person would certainly help far more with life.)

Do I have a point? Yes, I know. All my posts seem to be circling like vultures over this one idea of, Where do I go and what do I do now? But, you see, I received a blow when my baby left me for kindergarten. Part of my purpose and fulfillment evaporated; my identity changed, and I felt a little deflated. Top that with the fact that I did not work as hard as I should have on my writing this week and that I felt trapped inside my own head in an empty world throbbing with anxiety, and you'll understand why I have gone on and on. I need fulfillment in a brand new way now. The time has come for something new.

And I can't just stay here. My world, the one that feels like it shrunk, freeze-drying over my stagnant goals this week, needs to expand again. I need to join a writer's group or at least hang out at a book/coffee shop while I write sometimes. Staying here every day, all alone, all day could drive me batty if I never see another friendly, creative face.

I'll figure it out. I'll seek my fulfillment like all my fellow humans.

I'll start my mystery novel.


  1. Great post, Hillary. I can't wait to read your novel! (Camille)

    1. Thank you, Camille. I need to take a big breath....and take the plunge.

  2. Replies
    1. No. Don't be too disappointed, Papa. I'll get there. Love, Hoodoo


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