Where do you derive your meaning?
My parents were immigrants to the United States in 1959. They came to this country looking for the land of opportunity. My siblings and I were born in Los Angeles. My parents had great expectations for us. They wanted us to be somebody important…a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. They would tell us that we needed to work hard to be somebody important here. That’s why they came to this country. They also talked about not being “un Don Nadie” which translates from Spanish to English as “Mr. Nobody.” I was the youngest of three boys and I was terrified of becoming “Don Nadie.” I could not imagine being nobody.
I’m 57 years old and that scared child is still within me. Being labeled as the person who is going to become a doctor or a lawyer is a heavy weight to carry when it is not your own dream or path. I have spent 30 years in education and it is pretty clear that I am not going to ever be that guy who has a six-figure salary and a grandiose title. I’m the guy that people ask “so what do you do for a living?” and the answer is that I have been juggling several jobs that I actually like. I like mentoring teachers, being a life coach, and teaching psychology. That’s what I do. However, if I break it down into one sentence it would be, “I like helping others on their journey through life.” That is what I enjoy and where I derive meaning for myself. I still struggle at times with it, but this is me.
So, my question to you is where do you derive your sense of meaning? Additionally, are you happy with it? Meaning in our lives helps us to understand ourselves. I still struggle talking about what I do for a living when I should really be happy that I know what I like and I’m doing it. “Don Nadie” can go to hell. I know who I am and what I like. We need to take off the façade and just be our authentic selves. Don’t waste your time trying to be something you aren’t comfortable with. You do you better than anybody else in the world. Focus on your life and meaning.
One life is all we get.