Craving Purpose


What’s My purpose?

Steering this chapter of my life.

Recently I began a quest. After coming down from the simply unsustainable euphoria of moving to Japan, I started craving something more.  I went deep into myself to figure out what would bring glitter bomb magic back to each and every day again. 

What I came up with is a quest for purpose.  

Right or wrong, in my heart of hearts, I was hungry for purpose beyond holding the ever so important title of Team Bertling CEO.

Running our family is a job that I don’t do textbook well, but I do Melissa well.  I plan shitloads of travel, I have burping contests with my kids while dancing to 90’s hip hop on top of the kitchen table and I snuggle with my husband every night.  But of course I do.  I did that when I was working too.  So now that this was my job, I was putting pressure on myself to be extraordinary.  But I hate to cook, don’t have my kids do educational activities after school and find zero joy in cleaning. 

So I dug even deeper.

Thanks to the universe, a friend/ex-client gifted me her time, coaching me through a personal values exercise.  I had so many ah-ha moments as I worked through putting my values on paper, including how often I say “should” as a way of placing expectations on myself.  As I look at the fished product they are a mirror of myself with a focus on bringing sunshine, making authentic connections, the need for high highs and feeling valued.  They are an incredible filter for decision making.  But the marketer in me knew it was time for them to ladder up to something more. 

I wanted to unearth my purpose during this chapter, so my actions could fall out of this personal strategic framework I was creating. I wanted to steer my life story.

And then just like that, the other night, while I was pouring my heart out to Steve he said something to me that really clicked.  

(I know you want me to tell you that Steve explained the value I bring to the house and I finally understood that it WAS in fact my purpose - and he did try.  That it changed my perspective and I can finally be fulfilled with raising great kids and taking care of our lives.  That is part of me, but it isn’t all of me.  I wish with all my heart it was enough - but it’s. just. not.)

This is what really happened:

Steve: “What is your purpose when you are on vacation?”

Me: “To have fun.”

Steve: “That is your purpose for the next year.  To have fun.”  

In that instant, I let go of the guilt, the need for more, the need to push to something better.  Of course my purpose will evolve when we leave this expat world, but for now, in this moment, I get to roll around in the luxury and true privilege of this life.  I get permission to squeeze the best out of each day.

Now I always thought Steve valued me for being his equal and a career girl.  For being a put-together hard worker who was on her A+ game.  And I wanted to impress him, cause I like him and I felt that I wasn’t providing much value to the world, so I was somehow letting him down.

It was so incredibly freeing to hear him say all the work stuff I had done in the past few weeks meant nothing to him other than it made me happy.  I was frustrated he didn’t care more at the time, but it was because he honestly didn’t.  I thought it would make him proud, when in reality,  he couldn’t care less.

All he wants from me, is to be happy.  So my happiness can rub off on our boys and rub off on him.  That provides value to his world.  And creating a house of sunshine is something I can do with gusto.  I can be exceptional at that.  

So instead of the overthink, my plan this summer is to ask myself, “Is this fun?”  If it is, I am going to do it.  If it is not, I won’t.  How freaking lucky is that?  Cause as Steve said, a year from now, I will be back at work, so it’s time to squeeze every last glitter bomb, joy sparking, happiness bringing, smile inducing, magical drop out of this experience.