Why am I here?

Parenting isn’t a walk in the park and my kids are constantly keeping me on my toes. Lately, that’s even involved attempting pirouettes!

Well, to sharpen my toes even further, my son asked me this curly question today…“Why am I here?”

‘if your life is cloudy and you’re way off course,

you might have to go on faith for awhile,

but eventually you’ll learn that

every time you trust your internal navigation system,

you’ll end up closer to your right life.”

-Martha Beck.

He was in trouble and he mumbled something about dying being easier than living so why bother? It wasn’t a completely dark question at the time…more of an observation. He’s 12 years old and this kind of question goes with the turf. He’s not unique. Indeed, I remember feeling much the same and my Dad saying: “Life wasn’t meant to be easy”.

However, this was actually part of a longer quote:

“Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage: it can be delightful.”

― George Bernard Shaw

Jonathon Climbing Tree

Mister in the Climbing Tree 2011, Aged 6.

Anyway, in response to my son’s question my immediate response (which I didn’t share with him at the time) was that he wasn’t here to melt Halloween lollies in my new waffle maker, leaving a layer of sticky tar glued to the non-stick base. That he and his sister were not put on this planet to destroy everything within a 365 degree radius. Indeed, they could keep their sticky fingers all to themselves!!

Yet, I said nothing. Rather, I stared scrawling  my frustrations down on paper the way we writers do. While I know that doesn’t achieve anything, at least venting on paper helps me feel better!

“You just can’t sit there and wait for people to give you that golden dream, you’ve got to get out there and make it happen for yourself”

-Diana Ross.

Anyway, when I asked my kids what possessed them to put lollies in my waffle machine, they told me that they’d seen a u tuber melt a Barbie doll in a waffle machine. While I’m no fan of Barbie, melting Barbie in a waffle machine for fun seemed rather sadistic. You also have to wonder what the world is coming to when a video of someone with bad language melting Barbie in a waffle machine gets 2,418,875 views with 94,220 likes. Moreover, unlike some of the crazy stunts your kids might see on TV, there’s no mention of: “kids don’t try this at home”. These U tubers have hero status,  yet no responsibility. No accountability.

So, I am grateful that I didn’t find Barbie stuck to my waffle machine instead of just the lollies. With a bit of boiling water and chipping away, the waffle machine is fine and the kids will need to be dead, before they’re allowed to stay home from school again.

Jonathon sunset

Why am I here?

Meanwhile, I still had to answer my son’s question: why am I here?

I told him that this was a question which philosophers, poets, sing writers, The Bible have all addressed for thousands of years. After all, it is the ultimate quest for each and every one of us to work out why we’re here. To find our purpose, our path, calling, direction…whatever you want to call it.

“There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It’s why you were born. All how you become most truly alive.”

-Oprah Winfrey.

This needn’t be a selfish, navel-gazing process. It can also be about that person who really wants to make a difference, help others, change the world or has spiritual ideas but doesn’t know quite how or where to serve or give. After all, it’s particularly hard for the inspired visionary to live with their vision, without knowing how to execute it. Indeed, this anguish could cause these brightest of flames, to snuff themselves out.

Anyway, to humour myself, I entered: “Why am I here?” into Google. I didn’t expect much, if anything, but Google has surprised me before and has delivered.

That’s was when I was reminded of the power of the personality quiz. These are not only great fun but I swear these quizes know me better than I know myself. Of course, you have to sort the wheat from the chaff too. I found this quiz on Who Are You Mean to Be? from Oprah Magazine http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Who-Are-You-Meant-to-Be-Self-Assessment-Quiz_1 It showed great insight and no surprises one of my top scores was Striving to Be Creative. I’ve pasted it down below because it really made sense to me.

Jonathon Christmas Tree 2

How creative! Mister turned himself into a Christmas Tree 2006 aged 2.

Striving to be Creative

You are an artist: You came out of the womb with a paintbrush in your hand. Or maybe it was a flute or a castanet or a fountain pen to go with your poet’s imagination. The point is, you’re an original, and you know it. Even if you don’t have a singular gift, you’re drawn to the arts—anything creative, for that matter— and you have a unique way of looking at the world. Your need for depth and authenticity in relationships can lead to both great joy and profound sorrow, depending on whether others reciprocate. You don’t care so much about adapting to group or societal expectations; your independence and sharp intuition propel you on your own path.

What to watch out for: When fear of conformity overrides your creativity, you can assume the role of “outsider” or “orphan” and end up feeling alienated. You may even go so far as refusing to vote or pay taxes. This lone-wolf stance might be a defense against feeling vulnerable. Try to be aware that blaming others for your banishment, or pushing away those who want to get close, only makes things worse. Also, dramatizing your emotions can interfere with your creativity.

Looking ahead: As long as you genuinely express yourself, you feel like the person you were meant to be. How you do it is irrelevant. A chef or architect can be as much of an artist as a painter or sculptor. Many advertising and public relations executives are also highly imaginative. Beyond work, there are opportunities everywhere you look to coax out your inner artist: Design your own jewelry line, create an innovative blog, dream up a comic strip. Relationships are another avenue for self-expression.

Google also linked me up with some great quotes, which I’ve scattered throughout.
There’s also this thought provoking post by Mark Manson  Seven Strange Questions to Establish Your Life’s Purpose. I highly recommend you read it!
Meanwhile, it’s time for me to think about fueling his physical body as well as his mind. Neither of my kids have ever been great eaters but we think he’s going through a growth spurt. Not only is he eating four Weetbix for breakfast, he turns up in the kitchen hunting for dinner with that same starved look our poor Border Collie had when he was on 50mg of prednisone. It really was quite cruel to the poor dog and leaving a starving teenager roaming around the kitchen, can be dangerous. You just ask Barbie!
xx Rowena

14 thoughts on “Why am I here?

  1. Rowena Post author

    Thank you very much. Where are you from? I checked out your photos from Japan and they were stunning and had such a strong emotional quality.
    The featured image in my post was taken at Byron Bay, Australia looking up to the lighthouse. My kids are sitting off the path and look like they’re sick of waiting for Mummy to take photos.
    When you look at the photo of my son climbing the tree, there’s a sunflower which was stapled to the tree. This tree is in a park in Byron Bay where a mother lost her son to an overdose of prescription drugs. She knows quite a lot of youth in the area who have taken their lives due to mental health issues and she holds art activities in the park from time to time and tries to reach young people and children. Byron Bay attracts a lot of lost and seeking people, particularly youth and she’s just one of many trying to make a difference. The Church across the road from the park has a soup kitchen.
    As you would appreciate, so many stories behind a simple photograph.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

  2. TanGental

    The answer is easy: why not? There is no great ‘purpose’. The chance of being born is about 1 in 20 (or maybe less) for every attempt, the possibility of pegging out as you go wholly random. So there’s no ‘why are we here?’ answer – it’s a cop out anyway because it puts responsibility onto someone or something else, but rather ‘what are you going to do with what time you have?’

  3. Rowena Post author

    That’s a very good way of looking at it, Geoff and I really like that question: ‘what are you going to do with what time you have?’
    I’m going to stick it on my fridge because it think it really hits you straight between the eyes and you can get overly philosophical about it when action’s what’s required. I suspect that action is a very scary word for many writers. Speaking for myself, I could go and write an entire book about avoiding situation instead of taking the 5 minutes to “Just do it”.
    Many thanks and best wishes.
    xx Ro

  4. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much. It’s interesting that you come from Nepal. I’ve never been there but my husband and I have both heard speakers who have climbed Everest and the mighty mountain resonates with meaning.
    Recently, I was down at the beach with my kids when I spotted a group of monks on the beach with surfboards. As you could imagine, it was really exciting, especially as I had my camera with me. How often do you see something so good to photograph but you don’t have your camera with you?!! Anyway, I posted the photos and story in this post, which I thought you might find interesting: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/gyuto-monks-of-tibet-in-australia/
    xx Rowena

  5. Rowena Post author

    Me too, Kat. It was almost funny the way he threw that question at me. It was like no one else had ever wondered why we’re here and this was an absolutely novel question. Bless him. I sometimes shudder when I think of everything my kids have ahead of them. Of course, there’s the positive but what about the heart ache?!! Wish I could wrap them up in bubble wrap and keep them in the nest but as you would’ve realised, I actually do the opposite. Sorry kids. You have to face the music!! No mercy. xx Ro

  6. New Journey

    As I have learned….as you can do is be there to pick them up and hold them after the heartbreaks or drink with em as the age…LOL as you well know its not about the heartbreak or letdowns its how you handle it….all we can do is help guide them….I am so surprised at how my own children have handled big bombs in there lives..infact my son last January’s marriage come to an end…so young, and he was with, what he thought was is soul mate…she one morning stated she was sorry she ever married him and never really loved him….they were young….I was in the desert by then, they kept it from me, thought I would come unglued…I am pretty sure I surprised them….I told them it was between them and there was nothing I could do but listen, they needed to figure this out….of course I thought my son would be at him home curled up in a fetal position crying himself to sleep..LOL I called my daughter when I couldn’t get him to answer my phone calls…she called and of course he answered her call…he was at the gym…he dropped 50#’s (baggage I think) and was working through the pain in a healthy manner….so proud of how he handled it….man I must be in story mode this morning…sorry to have gone on and on….but I know that you and your husband will help guide your kids through their ups and downs in a gracious way…as I believe its just as important to understand how to handle the happy moments too, or fame….you guys are plugged in to their lives…yourhands on parents and that’s what it takes…..have a great week….xxxxkat

  7. SleepyTown

    Thank you for a great post. It has given me a lot to contemplate and hopefully I will now have an answer prepared for that question if my sons ask me at some point. I do have roughly 10 years before that happens, but I do like to be prepared!

  8. Rowena Post author

    I am the same. The thing is that it’s very hard to be prepared for your kids’ questions. That’s where Google can step in. When my daughter was four, she asked me how the leaves fall from the tree. I’d never even thought of that so Goggle was a definite salvation. I have been dreading some curly questions about the birds and the bees as my son is almost 13 but I wonder if he is also getting his info from Google and whether I should be concerned.
    Hope you have a great week!
    xx Rowena

  9. SleepyTown

    Hmm sex is a tricky one. I’ve always thought that I can answer questions briefly as they come up, then I might never have to have one long awkward sex talk. Being 3 I haven’t stopped changing in front of him yet, and the other day he pointed to my “lady garden” and asked me “what’s that?” He had only just clued onto the fact that I don’t have a penis haha.
    Also he has started asking me what things are for. Like “what are whales for?” That’s a tricky one to answer

  10. Rowena Post author

    You’re in for it. I have a fabulous quote from my daughter when she was about his age and she has an older brother: “I get penis when I go to big school”…priceless!
    Friends have put me onto a couple of books so I’m going to go the tradition method but I will read them first to make sure I know what’s in there!

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