This week someone asked me how I would characterize myself. What a question!?! Not something that you ask a person like me lightly. What it caused me to do was to reflect on what is now almost a 39 year old life, a 17 year career, an almost 13 year marriage and the last 5 years as a mother.
Is it possible to characterize what I am known for with a phrase or a statement? I wonder if it can be that simple. How can I package this life I have lived into a statement without being trite or oversimplifying the wonderful complexity that has been my life. After a few moments of skepticism and frustration, it came to me.
I am a builder.
A builder of things: kiddos, relationships (including the longest, best one with Jon), teams, businesses, marketing programs, friendships and most recently a house. You name it, I like building it. One of the profound things you realize when you are building a house is that through a series of micro-choices (the floor plan, the materials selection, the fixtures, the lighting) a house is formed. It is amazing how relevant this is to life!! A series of small (and some big choices) help to create the life that you want. Sometimes those choices feel big – like whether to have kids – and sometimes they feel small – like getting out of bed to go to the gym in the morning. Either way, they help to determine who you are as a person.
So, as a builder, what is the next thing that I will build? Our house wraps up this summer, my team at work is in great shape, my kids appear to be normal, well-adjusted, kind little beings (at least most of the time), and Jon and I have met a number of the goals that we set out to accomplish. Enter the problem! I can’t seem to sit in this new so-called house (otherwise known as my life) that I have buit, and enjoy things. I am always on the look out for the next thing to build…something to harness my creativtity and the perspective I have learned from all of the other building projects I have completed.
This creates mental disonance. A feeling like I am not living in the moment, but instead, always looking toward the next project. This evening, as I sit contemplating that next project, I have decided instead of being frustrated by being a builder, I will embrace my pursuit of the next thing. It is just a matter of picking it wisely.