Thursday, May 9, 2013

Why We Need a Purpose....

Okay - lots about clothes this week, so thought maybe today would be about a little soul-searching...


In my own estimation, I have gone through the most startling of transformations this past 5 months.

Five months ago, I worked 60-80 hours per week each week and worked every single day of the week.

Five months ago, I couldn't sleep through the night - I would always wake up stressed and worried about something, everything.

Five months ago, I felt that I missing my life's purpose, and though the work I was doing was important and rewarding, it did not make my heart sing and did not feel like the reason I was put on this world.

Five months ago, I had buried my dad and was feeling rudderless and empty.  I was turning 50 and what was I going to be when I grew up?


Fast forward five months.  I have left my job.  I have searched my soul and have decided that besides being a mother, a wife and a friend, I need to write.  So now I write 3 to 4 hours a day.  I garden.  I see my friends again.  I eat healthy foods, I walk every day and I meditate.  In December I would have described myself as sad.  Now I would describe myself as a happy person.  Many of you have described how great I look since my NARS makeover in NYC.  I also think it has a lot to do with how I feel inside.  Most days, I feel that I radiate, because I feel so darn content.

Of course, this idyll is short-lived.  Right now, I feel like Wendy in Never Never Land; I know I will eventually have to return to the real world of work.


I will have to make a living again, and ideally that living will be through my writing and other work that I love and not in a 9-9 workplace.  I have decided to chase my dreams and assume that it will all work out in the end.

And I will have to give back.  I am a lucky person - Now that I have time, I need to start volunteering and making a difference in my community and helping others.

We all need a purpose, that thing that makes us feel special and express our uniqueness.  I believe my purpose is to write and be funny and make people happy.  I sometimes wish my purpose was to be a singer like Ella Fitzgerald, a painter like Monet or a tall supermodel and ex-wife of Richard Gere like Cindy Crawford.  But those abilities are not my purpose this time around and I feel very fortunate that you have all helped me on the journey to remembering how much I love to write.  To know your purpose and to actually undertake your purpose is a gift to be cherished.  And our purposes need not be grand, they just need to be the thing that makes our heart sing and feel "right".

So right now, I am enjoying this little break and the joy of reconnecting with my inner and outer worlds.  I do not take that for granted and today, when I was up to my armpits in garden compost, I could have cried with happiness.  I was thinking of a plot point for my book in my head and feeling quite joyful.

And I remind myself to look and be really present.  I see beauty everywhere these days.  Reflected in my outdoor mirror



In the rhubarb patch, that will soon make me very happy when I make my favourite rhubarb cornmeal muffins..



And the light in the trees this evening as I walked about my yard


My break has helped me find peace and make choices that support that peace.  Everything I am doing feels right for a change.  I could not have said that five months ago.  Five months is approximately 150 days, which is not so very long a time, I think, to learn to forgive, forget and forge a new world.

So how about you?  Are you thinking about your purpose these days?  Do you find that your purpose is changing over time?  I would love to hear!

And as an update - the skirt is still Chez moi.  I really, really, like it.  It may need to stay, if for no other reason than xoxo thought I looked like a wedding cake and hey, how cool is that?  You know I love me some cake!!!  I will let you know when I finally make the decision!

So thanks for chiming in and helping me along the way.  I feel that you are as much a part of this co-creation of the new Wendy as I am and all help is greatly accepted!  Stay safe out there!




51 comments:

  1. What a lovely post, Wendy. I am glad that you are feeling more centred, and I appreciate you sharing parts of this experience with us.

    I do really like the skirt on you, and I liked the suggestion yesterday to take it in a bit. As for it being white, I would just wear it until you can't anymore. I love white and wear it a lot, and it's pretty unusual for something to become ruined.

    Purpose is something that eludes me a bit at the moment professionally, but hopefully that will come.

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  2. Hi Abby - thanks for the nice comment! your purpose may not be tied to your professional life at all - it may be something else entirely. I realized the other day that the reason I could put aside my dream of writing for so long was that I was content as a mother and found a higher calling there. So maybe it evolves or you can have more than a few things that make your heart sing? The reading I have done says to think of the things that, when you do them, make time pass effortlessly. It may be hard work, but you are in the zone and you love it. That's how I feel when I write. I start and then I look up and 3 hours have passed!

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    1. Flow is what you are describing. You have a real voice and imagination--go for it!

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    2. You are right Lane - flow is indeed the word!

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  3. Oh you are not taking a break, you are living a LIFE. It is true that a woman's work is never done...you are just loving your work now :). I have a sense of change coming for me when Em leaves. I do get such joy out of my kids. About the skirt, I went to J Crew yesterday and saw it live and in person. It is lovely. So put the damn thing on and take Barry to lunch.

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    1. BB - you kill me! As my kids would say - you are a brother from another mother!

      It is a change when your kids grow up. even thought right now my two still live at home, my work is basically done - i just throw on some paint around the edges!

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    2. BB, you kill me, best plan I'll hear all day. But we'll keep it on the QT so as not to put George's nose out of joint.

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    3. BB,your answer is the best and i totally agree:)

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    4. I think BB is my southern force of nature!

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    5. Oh darlin' we would be kinfolk here. Somehow our mothers would be related :) Now get your ass to lunch!

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    6. "southern force of nature" BB has the best stock epithet ever!

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    7. BB - are believe southerners are like maritimers - they are always related and they figure out how soon enough!

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  4. Hi Wendy
    I don't chime in too often, but today I felt I might add to your day. For one thing you are most definitely not alone in your feelings and thoughts. I too am going through something similar in that I will be turning 50 this year, unlike you I am still in the thick of my crazy job and no light at the end of that tunnel anytime soon, but I wish there was. I truly suggest you enjoy every minute of your days doing what you love, because you have it right now!! As they say "Carpe Diem".
    As for the white skirt, I love it and I suggest if you like grab yourself some lovely silver metallic flats and rock that skirt. You looked so happy in it!! All the best to you :)

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    1. Thanks MB! I do love it when you chime in! I feel for you about the job; it took something truly awful to be the "pattern interrupt" for me, although to be truthful, I let the job get away from me and lost perspective. But I guess I was supposed to go through that to gt to this, so can't "woulda, shoulda, coulda" about it! Good luck on your journey - I think there is something about 50 that makes us stop and take stock; it is the ultimate midlife "new year"! keep on keeping on - you will get to where you need to be! I do like the skirt and the silver flats are a great idea!!

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  5. It's good that you love to write because I love to read. I look forward to your daily posts and that soon-to-be bestseller. Your writing and pictures reflect your happiness and contentment. I think everyone needs some time to figure everything out. Seven years ago I took a year long sabbatical to spend time with my ailing father. My priorities changed but I realized I was not happy not working. I went back to my old job with a better appreciation for it. Although there are days when I just want to quit, that's life, ebb and flow. P.S. Keep the skirt, it's a lovely piece, suits you and I think it makes you happy.

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    1. Thank you, Marie - what a nice thing to say! I am like you - I need to work! I thought about doing nothing for three or four months, but the writing schedule has given me a purpose. It is amazing how I can lose track of a whole day otherwise; it takes me forever to get dressed now; i fuss and putter and have another cup of coffee and stare out the window and think about random stuff and then suddenly an hour and a half has slipped by completely unnoticed.

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  6. Wonderful post, Wendy. I'm buggered from a shattering day at my job, and I very often think about 'purpose'.... Although I always manage to find joy in my day, even in the thick of it.
    I love your outdoor window and I love reading your blog, but I think tonight I'm too tired to add much else....

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    1. ruth, I hope you get a reasonably quiet, restorative evening and that tomorrow at the job is much better. Hang in!

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    2. Ruth - hang in there! I have had those kind of days many times myself (still do sometimes even at home!) I think if you are still finding joy you are on good footing - that is everything!

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  7. I also look forward to your thoughtful posts every day! It is amazing the changes you've made. Six months ago you would have been shocked to see where you are today. It's wonderful!

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    1. Thanks Dani! You are so right! Then I imagine life in 6 to 12 months and I can't, and that is very exciting to me!

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  8. RE-PURPOSED WMM, I think it's wonderful you're finding or rediscovering a purpose that is truly internal and your own. I also really appreciate that you've touched on service, giving back and something larger than ourselves (community in whatever individual sense we interpret that from household to planet).

    Sometimes over the past year I have felt like a bit of a nihilist on this one (a new phase for me.) Maybe everyone else has a current purpose and I don't ;-) Somehow Bono's plaintive, "I still haven't found..." resonates a lot more with me now. But I do try to keep reminding myself it is important to separate job/ career, daily responsibilities and even long-term goals from inner purpose, even though maybe they mesh or reflect each other. And also that sometimes it's enough to invest each task or day with purpose and mindfulness and not get too wound up about the big picture.

    I've always liked this quote from Emerson, well since college anyway. At different stages and places it has resonated with me in different ways.
    "Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage."

    For now, big thanks you for sharing your journey with all of us. Write on!

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    1. GF - I think you are like me, going through a period of transition and like me, it was a bit forced upon us! I think it all unfolds the way it is supposed to. I think it was maya angelou who said: wouldn't take nothing for my journey now"? Good quote - we all get there - and I do think it reveals itself to us if we listen!

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    2. Maya, now that's a many challenges and purposes life!

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    3. You can say that again!

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  9. I'm somewhat new to reading your blog. I admit, sometimes I look more than read, to get my new clothes fix and to get inspiration from your outfits. I wonder what kind of work you did. That many hours a week is no way to live, so I'm happy you're molting. My mother died 3 years ago and it does indeed change you. I needed to switch gears at work after that. I learned that I need to know how to rely on good people to help me and stop being such a control freak. Taking care of yourself is the most important thing, Wendy. Thanks for reminding us of that. Your blog is an inspiration.

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    1. Oh Elizabeth - thank you! I sometimes feel I natter on here and maybe share too much, so I appreciate that. I am stumbling around like everyone else. I was the CEO of a large organization with a massive budget and thousands of staff. Hard to have balance in that job! And I think that I was a bit of a control freak and I am definitely trying hard to relinquish that control now. I like the term molting - I am so stealing it!!!

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    2. Elizabeth, with WMM, "moulting" excellent way to describe that lightening up, simplifying change.

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  10. This is a wonderful change in life you are having; exciting to have possibilities. Right now, you are experiencing the meaning of your life.

    I joke with my kids that I have way too much meaning in my life, in the same tone I tell them I don't drink nearly enough.

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    1. Lane - I think I suffer from the same (as do my kids!!)

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  11. Wonderful post. I think last year was a trying year for many people, I was in your boat too with work... Work was the busiest it had ever been and I worked so much overtime and had to put in extra hours to get all the work done. I was stressed to the max. A firm merge didn't help matters either and the partners picked the busiest time of the year to do it. Poor Hubs had to put up with me! I'd come home stressed and angry every day and didn't know when the madness would end.

    The winter was better for me, things slowed down and some changes were made at work (finally!) to ease my workload and I only work for two people now instead of 5 or 6, so this year has been much better and more enjoyable so far. We'll see how the spring/summer goes as that's our busy time but so far I've only had to come in once last Saturday for a couple of hours to finish some work. I consider that a little victory as last year I was already starting overtime in February and it didn't let up until September or October! Yuck.

    Very glad to hear your life is becoming more well-rounded! Always enjoy reading your posts.

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    1. LR - it is so hard when there is just so much work isn't it?? Just miserable! I am so glad things are better for you at work!!!

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  12. In quiet moments, I'll think about what's next, what purpose, etc, but mostly I don't like to reflect, I feel like I've done it enough during some harder times. I am taking a break from the heavy stuff and enjoying every moment of my ordinary life. Hopefully a plan will evolve when the time is right. I am glad you have found purpose and happiness :)

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    1. Cate - i think you are doing the right thing - I am pretty sure it comes to you - maybe in a whisper at first, then a yell and finally it smacks you on the side of the head. I was between a yell and a smack!!!

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    2. Ha that's a good way of describing it!

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  13. Such a thoughtful post, it's clear your spirit has evolved over the past few months. Taking your leave from the workforce was the right thing to do. Sometimes when we go through a painful loss or major change we are reborn with a gratitude and a renewed spirit. It is the best possible outcome.

    The skirt is very pretty but if you return it you can just pretend that you ate the wedding cake and there were zero calories to boot.

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    1. too funny! I could model for one of those cake toppers!!! Yup - a rest is a good thing sometimes!!!!!!!!

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  14. This is my favourite post ever. WMM, I want to be you, you sound so content, what beautiful place to have reached; I feel like a mad paddling swan. All of my life I have been searching for my purpose and I just cannot find it, every day I hope for the mothership to come in.

    Oh and I loved the white skirt on you, keep it.

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    1. My two cents - You are a very glamorous, beautiful, fashionable, and witty mad, paddling swan! I can't recall who's blog I found first, yours or WMM's (one linked to the other) but I enjoy you both immensely!

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    2. Tabs - we are putting Elizabeth right at the top of christmas cake list! Of course, we must first learn how to make those cakes, Elizabeth, and if you know how, by all means chime in as i for sure will need help!

      Tabs - you are finding your way, Odette - hang in there - it is coming!

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    3. Please keep writing Tabitha - I have learned so many new words and gems from you, Tatler should be contacting you to write guest columns. Seriously.

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    4. LR - you are right! I think Hello Canada could benefit from her bons mots as well!

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    5. WMM, I'm afraid I cannot make Christmas cake, but I can buy them! Sadly, I mail order them. I know. So wrong. And don't ask where I mail order them from, because I'm too embarrassed to tell you.

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  15. I was reminded of travelling, well, almost everything reminds me of travelling or planning to travel. But it sounded to me like right now, you're a tourist in your own life, checking maps that may or may not be out of date, avoiding roadblocks, waiting for the next big adventure, wondering whether your return ticket can be changed without agonizing cost... committed and not yet committed at the same time. I'm enjoying reading about your voyages, and wondering where we'll hear from you next.

    Um, it's just me, but I'm not sure I'd pack that white skirt for a long trip.

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    1. Fred - that is a great analogy - many thanks! You made me laugh out loud about not packing the skirt for a long trip! Maybe for a pub crawl???

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  16. I know we are not in the same circumstances, but I often have this "Yes! Right!" feeling when I read your posts. I'm now nine months out from my dad's death, and I really felt that I turned a corner at the five month mark. Of course, grief isn't linear, and there have been dark moments since then. But after five months, I knew that I was going to be okay.

    I just told my boss a week ago that my husband and I are going to move to Boston in September or October. I love the people I work with, but I've been here for 10 years. I don't have the same passion for the job I once did. I would not be doing myself any favor by staying much longer. It's time for a change, and a drastic one at that.

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    1. Yay for you! Boston!!! What a great city for you and a great time of year to move! And we will be able to meet someday - i'll hit you and Lane en route to Ema and those other cosmopolitan gals in NYC! congratulations!!!

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    2. oh and ps - I really appreciate your thoughts about losing your dad - it is very hard, isn't it? I find now that having no parents often leaves me feeling a bit rudderless, so I appreciate the kind words!

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    3. Wendy, I would be honored to meet you in person. Drinks on me. :)

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    4. You will really love it there!

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    5. Merry Wife, seconding your Boston choice, you will find much to put down new roots there, great jaunts just beyond the city, and fall is gorgeous in New England. Glad to read you are on mend and tackling the work thing.

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Kindness is a virtue...