What is your Why?
What is it that makes you get up in the morning?
Other than your alarm clock?
Other than your obligations; running kids to school, work, email, laundry, buying groceries, cooking dinner, etc…
What is that drives you?
The answer lies in a question.
It’s funny. I have been told that my first word was why. Well, maybe my second, my first may have been cookie, but why was definitely in the top two.
I asked so many questions when I was a kid that my mother invested in a set of Encyclopedia Brittanicas. See, there was no Google in the eighties, no Youtube, no Wikipedia and definitely no mommy bloggers to share information. So when my parents didn’t have an answer I found logical or were too tired to explain (I had a special gift for wearing them out) I was told to go look it up. I wore those encyclopedias out, too.
I was not a defiant child. Like most, I was curious, in search of the logic behind the rules. In search of a deeper understanding…of everything. I consider myself blessed because no one ever made me feel like I had to stop asking Why.
See, if you think about it, we stop using this three letter word right around middle school, and we carry this habit into adulthood. Maybe it’s because of peer pressure. We don’t want to look or feel dumb. Perhaps we are supposed to have all of the answers in Jr. High-which is ridiculous, but if you take a stroll down memory lane, you’ll probably recall that kid who teased others for raising her hand and for asking a “stupid” question. We don’t want anyone to think we sound dumb. At any rate, this time in our life marks the death of Why. For most of us, anyway. By the way, it’s much harder for girls, but that’s another blog post entirely.
The problem is, when you stop asking questions, stop asking why-you stop learning. And you stop growing as a person.
My mother in law never stopped asking Why. She was always looking for ways to learn and improve herself, which I always found odd because she was one of the best women I have ever known.
She went back to college in her thirties and earned her Bachelor’s in Interior Design. Shortly after she decorated Morgan Freeman’s home. Yep. That Morgan Freeman. Most women would have hung up their mink coats right then and there, but she had this ambition about her that kept her going.
When her husband of 40 years passed away, she stepped outside of her comfort zone once again and fulfilled her life long dream of moving from small town Mississippi to Colorado.
She was following her Why.
On her last visit to Mississippi, she told me something I will never forget.
I am not old, Heather. My body may be old, but my heart is young, and I have a lot of life to live.
She passed away a few months later after suffering a rare aortic aneurysm.
I will always admire her, for thousands of reasons, but most of all for her tenacity and ambition for living a life with meaning.
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.
What is your why?
Your why is what invigorates you.
Makes you keep going after you feel like you can’t take another step-not because you’re obligated to, or everyone expects you to, but because you have a purpose and that purpose keeps you going when times are tough.
Is it your children?
Is it your job?
If you haven’t given it much thought, then you need to take a break and do it now.
Life is too short to live without a Why.
Think about it this way. When you wake-up every day, are you using your time in the same way you would as if it was your last day on earth? If the answer is no, then you need to find your Why, and you need to find it now.
My son Nathan, who has autism, is part of my why.
This blog is part of it too.
See, when I decided to change my life, I took action in every area to improve it. I knew that if I didn’t help myself, I wouldn’t be able to help my kids. I changed my lifestyle, lost close to 80 pounds, started taking care of my skin, and I swear I have started to age backward, but that’s not all.
I decided to stop caring about what people thought of me.
The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what others think.
Since letting go of that fear, my confidence level has grown and I’ve been able to speak more openly and advocate on behalf of Nathan-which is something I will do for the rest of my life.
For the rest of my life, y’all. I need all of the strength I can get to do that job.
Which brings me to my why.
Often I get agitated.
As in, I curse a little.
See, I am teaching myself the tech stuff as I go and well, it’s hard to learn when your teacher is a moron.
One of those frustrated, long nights I was sitting in bed typing away on my laptop when my husband looked at me like I was crazy and asked me an all too familiar question.
Why are you doing this to yourself? This seems nuts…
Let me tell ya it feels different to be on the other end of that Why?
I took a deep breath, and I thought about it. Then I answered him. I gave him my Why.
I need to help people.
I need to let other moms know that nobody is perfect.
That we are all struggling with something-it may be depression, weight, autism-or, a super gassy husband-whatever- we are all going through something.
I can’t pretend to be someone I’m not.
I need to let people know they aren’t alone.
Maybe making someone laugh is my contribution or maybe a list of all the damn SPED acronyms is.
What if there’s a teenager out there that needs to know that it’s ok to feel less than someone else?
What if there’s a mom out there that needs to know that?
I know I’m not Mother Teresa or Mother Goose, but I am a mother and maybe by writing about my unique experiences I can help someone through theirs? You ask me why?
At this point, my voice began to quiver. I couldn’t help myself.
I gain strength-strength for our family and our son and our daughters through helping.
That is why. I finally know why!
I looked over at him, and he was asleep.
But I hope you’re awake.
I hope you’re wide awake and listening.
Well, reading and paying attention.
Life isn’t about keeping up with the Jones’s or the Kardashians or trying to be perfect on Facebook. It’s about discovering your Why and living each day to the fullest knowing that you have a purpose.
If you don’t know what that is yet, keep asking.
Don’t stop asking because you graduated kindergarten or you’re afraid to look dumb.
We’re all dumb on some level, ok?
Nobody has all of the answers.
Just do me a favor-while you’re out there trying to find your Why, be kind to everyone. Especially those who have their hand raised.