DAY 4: My Mission Statement In Life


How does one write a personal Mission Statement? Oh, wait. There’s the part that comes before that, developing a life’s mission. This is a one-day task? Maybe. Probably not. In my case it took only a couple of hours. That was 35 years ago. It still works for me today. But I’ve never done the work we’re assigned for today: I’ve never defined my goals as a “mission statement” in a conscious process. So that’s what I’ve done today for DAY 4 of this 30DLBL project (“Live A Better Life in 30 Days”).

Boomer_ang

I’ve lived the last 3.5 decades using 3 themes. Two of them are quotations by other wise philosophers. The third is my own. I’ve carried it close to my heart, but it’s been in thought-form only — I’ve never sat down and written a mission statement from it. So that’s what I’ve done today.

My theme #1

Celes talks about the ways her life has changed since she created her mission statement. She says:

At that point when I identified the statement, it was like there was a compass planted in me. Suddenly, I could see what were the paths that would help me live my best life, and what were the paths that wouldn’t. … On a micro-level, knowing my mission statement enabled me to get the maximum out of my day-to-day life. Suddenly, there was crystal clear clarity on the things I should do or not; and decisions to make. …If I hadn’t identified my mission statement…I would never have the same level of clarity and focus I have today.

This reminds me of my favorite Goethe quotation, which I have strived to live by since I discovered it 3 decades ago. It’s on my fridge, typed out on neon pink paper that’s looking a little tatty after all the years it’s lived there. It is my guide, I suppose like a (rather long) mission statement for me. Certainly the last 3 sentences are a mission statement for me.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness, concerning all acts of initiative (and creation). There is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.

~ Goethe ~

 

My theme #2

Celes points us to another page, Living in Alignment With Your Purpose, where she says:

Every day, I live my purpose to my best abilities. While it is a matter of time before I become a full-fledged life coach, reaching that end goal does not have a big significance to me because I am perfectly happy living my purpose as it is, today. I learnt that it is not about reaching the end, but living in the now. If I were to die now, I can do so with absolutely no regrets because there is no better way I could have been living my life right now.

That reminds me of another of my favorite and life-enhancing quotation that I strive to live by:

Human being, not human doing.

~ Rumi ~ 

My theme #3

This one has a story, a piece of my history. It was 1975. I saw the movie, Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams. It’s a 1973 movie starring Joanne Woodward. I remember very little detail about the movie, except that it had an enormous effect on me, one that determined the path of my life.

The movie is about a discontented woman looking back over her life and having regrets about the way things have gone. She’s thinking about the things she never did when she wanted to, the joys and loves and activities she never experienced, just because she had settled for…. doesn’t matter what. The point is, she settled. I was in my mid-20s. I thought she was an older woman; I’ve been remembering her as about 65. (I’ve just looked IMDB’s movie synopsis and see that she’ s described as “middle aged”. I’m older than middle-aged now! which makes this review kind of weird for me.)

Anyway. I came out of the movie a changed person. Somehow I’d been shown a vision of myself as an older woman, been shown that there were things I wanted to do but wasn’t doing, was putting on the back burner, was thinking I “couldn’t” do for various reasons.

I knew what I needed to do. In the time it takes to watch a movie, my life changed completely. I determined to live my life so that when I was 65 there would be nothing about which I could say “I wish I’d done that.” In short, I would live my life in a way that would ensure there would be no regrets. I’ve lived that way since then.

 

So today, for Day 4’s homework for the 30DLBL project, I’ve worked on creating a written description of this goal, my way of living, my chosen lifestyle, in mission statement form:

To live in the now and to do everything that my future self will wish she’d done.
To live so that I have no regrets.
 

A few days after I saw that movie, I began to take action.

    • I resigned from my job as a day-care supervisor.

 

  • I signed up for art school. That had been a dream since childhood. An expensive luxury. Spend the money on it? Take out student loans for it?! No, because it didn’t lead to a career or to a path of money-making. Art was at the level of hobby, could be nothing more. So I’d believed.
  • After three years of my 4 year art program, I stopped taking birth control pills. I’d been wanting children, but when it came down to it, there was always something that had to come first. Finish university. Pay off my student loans. Develop a career. Travel. Whatever. I gave birth to my first son during my fourth year at art school. No problem! I bundled him up and took him to the art studio every day. He was the perfect baby, never cried, just slept and breast-fed and coo’d and smiled his way through university. 😉 Of course he was perfect — he was one of my really-wanted-to-do-this life events.
  • And so on, since 1975.

 

What’s crazy right now is realizing that I set this goal when I thought being 65 was old! My 1975 self thought that when I was 65 I’d be finished doing stuff and starting to look back over my life. Now I’m 61, and I think that’s hilarious. I’m definitely not old, and I’m sure not sitting around reviewing my past to see if there are any regrets.

No, I’m still working the mission. Still making sure I’m living in the now and doing what I want to do and enjoying every minute of my life. If something isn’t enjoyable, I just stop doing it. Over time, that has included various activities, events, processes, jobs, relationships. No time for things that don’t create joy. As they say, Life’s Too Short!

Summary

 

My Mission Statement and its accompanying snippets of wisdom are….

To live in the now and to do everything that my future self will wish she’d done.
To live so that I have no regrets.

~ Kate ~ 

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Begin it now.

~ Goethe ~ 

 

Human being, not human doing.

~ Rumi ~

 

Here’s a digital image I created a couple of years ago to celebrate me being me.

Kate_celebrate_me_now
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2 thoughts on “DAY 4: My Mission Statement In Life

  1. I came from Celes’ blog and I’m also doing my 30-day challenge. I love the Goethe quote and I’d like to say thank you for sharing it. I especially like the part that says, "that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too…" I’d like to be all courageous enough to pursue my dreams, but "responsibilities" and "commitments" often hold me back. I’m always afraid of its impacts on my family whom I fiercely love. As someone who have acted boldly and lived your dream, do you have any advice on how I can negotiate this seemingly unanswerable question? Thank you… and I love all your posts. I hope that when I am at the same stage in my life, I would look back at my life and feel nothing but joy like you are doing…

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  2. Hi Miss Guimba. Thanks for reading my posts and thanks for the compliments about them. It means a lot to me. Thansk for leaving the link to your blog, because I’ve just read a bunch of entries and REALLY enjoyed them. You write so well and so honestly. That photo of you and a daughter is beautiful!I’m having to write my reply all over again, because I wrote a long one to you and then my blog froze when I clicked to post it. ACK! I’m annoyed! Ok, calm down, Kate….I don’t have any magic answers or advice, because each of us has to carve our own path within and through our own forest of "stuff". Some suggestions about ways to look at this though…Take time to examine each of your responsibilities and commitments (R&C), one by one. How did you get there? How and why did you take them on in your life? If you are doing an R&C by choice, is it part of your dreams you want to pursue? If not, how can you transform it so that it does fit within your dreams and goals? You may need to make a few minor shifts in how you approach it or do it, how you think about it, how you perform it. For example, can you tranform the feeling of "guilt" about wanting to travel (saw that in your blog) to excitement about the challenge of finding ways to do that within your other dream of raising children. Each R&C can present a way to grow, and opportunity for self-development.It sounds like your family is a priority. Are they part of your mission statement? I read your mission statement on your blog and it’s beautiful. It sounds to me like you are "sharing that beauty" with your family and so they do fit with your life’s mission. But I know, some days it sucks that the family-raising dream is so Forever!I know what you’re asking, I think. It’s the conundrum we moms all have. It often feels like the choice of whether to put our dreams on hold, which doesn’t feel true-to-self, or to forge ahead with them, which doesn’t feel true-to-children. Is there a place you can happily reside between those choices? Can you include your children in your journey toward fulfilling your dreams? Can you see that as enhancing their lives rather than detracting from them?I like your blog post about going to live in Tuscany for a couple of years. That would definitely be a way you can combine self-fulfillment while maintaining your other dream of raising a family with love, of being completely "present" for them. I’m suggesting it doesn’t need to be an either-or thing. Look at your mission statement … it seems to say exactly that, in the context of your wanderlust! Share the beauty with them…(Coincidentally, I’ve been researching Tuscany too, because some friends have proposed renting a villa together for a while — it’s their dream, but it might be fun to participate in it.) I don’t mind if you’d like to talk more by email? skyhome at telus dot net.

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