Some pretty atypical events this week, but I think I’m learning that all weeks include atypical events. I don’t think I entertain like this more then a couple times a year (dinner, with wine for 6) and insurance isn’t due every week. But this week it was.
A conversation at work about “What is your purpose in life?” led to several days of thinking, and after considering 4 or 5 very different answers to the question, I realized that this goal is a major part of my purpose in life. I thought about what I’d want to be remembered for when I was dead. I thought about what brings me reliable happiness and what really matters most, and the “purpose statement” I came up with is: “Create joy around the family table”.
I want family and food to be the materials I work with to create a meaningful life. At our house, food takes in lots of topics: ecology, health, culture, history. I want the table to be a platform for all those topics, as well as a time to reflect, to be generous and thankful. I want it to welcome new friends and reunite family. I want the table to spread that joy through all who eat there.
When I was younger, I was keenly interested in politics. I was ambitious. I thought I’d mark the world through words and laws and policies. As I’ve gotten older the ambition abated. I find myself more occupied with domestic matters, but not as a distraction, but rather as a more meaningful way for me to influence the world. I don’t want to dictate goodness with law, I want to spread joy, and I’d rather do it with food than with politics.
I typed out this goal “make family dinner a priority” not really knowing what I even meant when I wrote it. I just knew I had a longing for something and that I wasn’t already doing all I could to meet it. Out of the ignorant beginning, I think I found my purpose in life.
The last step I think I’ll take on this goal before I mark it done is to change my hours at work so I make it home by 4:30 to help plan and prepare our meal. When my work is more aligned with my real goals in life, I know I will have done what I needed to do to make family dinner the real priority it ought to be.