Five years ago, I was a senior at Columbia College, frantically searching for a “big girl” job before graduation and terrified that no one would ever give me a chance to prove myself. Come graduation, I still had no job offers. Amidst all the excitement of celebrating my achievement with family and friends, I was burdened with this awful feeling of inadequacy.
Luckily, the commencement speakers for my graduation were famous author Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor, also an author and a CC alum. They challenged us to “find our fire” and pursue our passions instead of a paycheck, and it filled me with such inspiration and buoyant hope! Truly, those words became the mantra that got me through the following six months of job-hunting and unemployment.
Now, just weeks away from my five-year reunion, I am gainfully employed at my alma mater and pretty darn good at my job. In so many ways, my work does kindle my fire but I cannot say for sure that I have met their challenge. Am I pursuing my passion? Or am I settling for a paycheck?
It is exhausting to try and answer these types of black and white philosophical questions. Life is always more complicated, more muddled in shades of gray. Most days, I would say I am floating somewhere in the middle: I am fulfilled by my work, even if my work is not fulfilling my life’s purpose.
I suppose it’s a happy medium, but even as I type that last sentence, the little fire inside of me grumbles with ambition. Already, my personal expectations are mutating into a six-armed wonder mom/wife/daughter/sister/friend/super-successful-professional. How do you even begin to balance the urgency of living with the pursuit of your life’s calling?
Thankfully, Sue Monk Kidd has given me a new mantra for this next stage of my life, via an interview with Oprah:
“We have to acknowledge sometimes that this moment is enough, this place is enough, I am enough … and if I never seek another thing, it’s enough. It grounds us in our own being. It grounds us in home.”
Ain’t it funny how three little words can hit you like a brick wall?
I am enough.