At times, life seems to be an endless treadmill. I get up, go to work, come home, do chores and go to bed so that I can get up and do the same thing over again. Sure I find time to watch TV, or to take the kids somewhere every now and again, but I can't help feeling that I'm just going in circles. It's not that I hate my job either, the work is interesting, the people are nice, but I always want to be doing something else.
In an effort to improve the situation and to try to find out what's missing I've been reading. Lots. From minimalism, to mindfulness, to parenting guides on unschooling and websites such as Zen habits and more. I've also been watching shows such as Chef's Table, where I get a look into the lives of people who are happy and doing what they want to do.
A common thread that I've been able to pull from this research is that what I do on a given day should be consistent with my core values. I've never really given my values a thought, which would explain why I'm not totally satisfied with where I'm at. Of course with me, investigating values is an endless rabbit hole. I ended up spending hours working through a few exercises to try to come up with a list of potential values, I even went through this list of almost 500 values and whittled it down to those that were appropriate for me. The end result is the following list:
- Independence (uniqueness, resilience, freedom, individuality, liberty, self-actualization, adaptability, resourcefulness, ingenuity, financial independence)
- Integrity (honesty, openness, sincerity, ethics, loyalty, dependable, reliability, commitment, responsibility)
- Selflessness (respect, modesty, humility, fairness, open-mindedness, compassion, altruism, stability, consistency)
- Courage (daring, bravery, boldness, confidence)
- Determination (perseverance, enthusiasm, hard work)
- Emotional Well-Being (comfort, happiness, contentment, love, kindness, belonging, calmness, closeness, harmony, intimacy, relationships, parenthood, career fulfilment, consciousness, mindfulness, awareness, balance)
- Physical Well-Being (health, exercise, outdoors, diet, sexual fulfilment)
- Education (learning, betterment, self-improvement, exploration)
- Pleasure (passion, sensuality, wonder, adventure, spontaneity, challenge, tranquility)
- Utility (efficiency, effectiveness, conservation, economy, usefulness, competence)
Each of these values give me a sense of fulfilment when I include them in my life.
The big question out of all of this is how do I apply this to my life? It's not as simple as just learning more, or trying really hard to do something. I think understanding my values is a start, being mindful and making choices to support my values going forward will get me on the road to a deeper satisfaction.