Thursday, October 27, 2011

Finding Our True Calling (Inspired by Oprah)

Yep, this is me (on left) in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way
to the Forum.  I played a twin courtesan.  (And did
lots of dieting, considering my costume!)

I want to piggy-back a bit off of my sister’s blog about fear and following our dreams. 

This past weekend, as I lay sniffling with a cold on the couch, I watched an episode of Oprah’s Life Class.  I have never watched the show before.  I am not a regular Oprah follower.  It just happened to be on and I liked the show’s theme:  “Finding your true calling.” 

Now, while I’m not an avid fan, every time I watch her, she always, always makes me think or gives me inspiration.  Talk about a phenomenal woman.  But this is because, as she said, she’s found her true calling.  Reaching out to people, helping people is what she was meant to do.  (Obviously!)  And she made the point that each and every own of us has a true calling.  Even if she hadn’t ended up on television, she believes that she would have found a way to serve people. 

This, of course, made me think of my own life and my true calling.  My sister gives me far too much credit for being fearless and following my dreams.  It hasn’t always been that way.  In fact, for much of my life, I felt something essential was missing, but I was the oldest, the perfectionist, the girl who followed the rules and so I’ve always made the choices that most follow society’s expectations – or at least, what I perceived were the expectations.  Go to college, get a degree (or two), get a good job, etc.  I did all of those things.  But something was missing. 

I’ve found that the only times I’ve ever truly been happy in my job is when I’m doing something for myself – my true calling, you might say – outside of work.  Now, I do believe that part of my calling is working with kids.  I love them.  But that isn’t the extent of what and who I think I’m meant to be.  It’s just taken me a really long time to figure that out.  And, honestly, a lot of stress and tears.

When I think of my happiest times, they involve creativity and, well, stories. 

For a number of years, I became involved in the community theatre.  It was exhausting working a full-time job and attending rehearsals until 11 p.m. at night, but man, I was happy.  It made everything worth it.  Because for a few hours every night, I got to become someone else.  I got to forget the problems of “Brei” and live someone else’s story.  I loved it.  When I moved from that town, I lost a huge part of myself.  I haven’t been involved in acting since.  Somehow, I haven’t found the time and the fear has snuck up on me.  Maybe I’m not good enough.  Besides, when would I have time for my husband (who I hadn’t known during my acting years)?

Last year was a difficult year for me.  I moved twice due to my husband’s job and therefore, was unable to work until we settled here.  It is hard to get out of bed when you feel you don’t have a purpose.  It was a rock-bottom time for me.  But sometimes, we need to hit rock bottom in order to rediscover ourselves. 

I began to do what I had done for the majority of my teen and college years.  I began to write again.  I began to create and lose myself in a story.  And it has made all of the difference.  (Even if my husband calls me obsessive about it!)

Now, I’m settled in a new town, where I plan to stay for a few years at least.  I’ve found a job that I love.  But I haven’t given up on the writing.  In fact, it makes the rest of my life bearable, because it gives me purpose.  I feel fulfilled. 

Our true calling doesn’t have to be the thing that pays the bills.  It doesn’t even have to be one specific thing.  It can be something small – a hobby – or if we’re lucky, it can become our livelihood.  But what’s important is that we face our fears and make the time to do it. 

I hope my sister finds her true calling during this transitional time in her life.  I suspect she already knows what it is, but is afraid to face “her light.” 

I hope each of us finds it.


Anonymous said...

"Who you're meant to be evolves from where you are at right now. So learning to appreciate your best lessons, mistakes, and setbacks as stepping stones to the future is a clear sign you're moving in the right direction and letting in the light." - Oprah

I just read this yesterday in the Oprah magazine and I thought of you:)

BreiW said...

Ha ha! I swear she said the exact same thing on the show. That Oprah, she's so awesome!