I was sitting in my beloved Costco this week, noshing on pizza with 5 of 8.
Costco pizza. Heaven wrapped in cheese and grease and dough.
The good news is, you can walk off a lot of the calories in that pizza just walking to the back of the store to pick up milk. So I figure it’s a win-win.
As 5 of 8 and I were finishing up our food court luncheon, a guy about my age made his way to the table next to us, chatting on his cell phone and juggling his drink and salad. He was one of those phone talkers who’s a little loud, his voice carrying to everyone in a ten foot radius.
I wasn’t engaging in gratuitous eavesdropping. Much.
But he was going on and on about his daughter’s college plans and how he was hoping that she would get more serious about her education and how this was her shot and how he certainly was willing to put money toward her education because, you know, he really wanted her to have purpose in life and not end up as like, say, a housewife.
Did he really say that? That having purpose in life and being a housewife are diametrically opposed?
Why, yes, he did.
Fer realz, as my kids would text.
He said that. Out loud. And loud.
Here’s the thing. My most important work, one of my greatest purposes in life, is the housewife thing.
And, yeah, I work from the home. I’ve almost always had some gig going, whether it be putting stickers on medical folders or being a voice-over artist for advertising or running a photography business or writing or teaching or speaking or running a non-profit. I love doing those things. I’m blessed I’ve been able to arrange to work primarily from my home office. But even if I didn’t have opportunity to do those things, it would in no way diminish my true purpose.
At the end of the day, my most important work is how well I’m serving the people who live in this house. And, yes, that does include how well I’m keeping them in clean laundry and training them in the kitchen and teaching them how to run effective lives by keeping up with the upkeep that comes with effective lives, dusty baseboards and all. Strange perhaps to my cell-shouting friend, but I always have equated purpose with how well people feel they have been cared for and loved by me, whether family or friends or neighbors. And that’s not a gender role. It’s Mike’s greatest purpose too. And my kids. How we care for each other and how we communicate that to our worlds, in the home, on the street, in the workplace.
So Mr. Costco Food Court Cell Phone Philosopher, I just want you to know. It’s awesome you want to encourage your daughter in her education. I hope she takes advantage of your generosity to fund her education. But while there are numerous amazing things that come with schooling and preparation and career direction, there’s something higher education cannot provide.
Because purpose, my friend, is not a vocation. It’s the heartbeat of your life. And if you desire relevance, it’s going to have to involve serving people around you, regardless of the letters and degrees that come after your name.
Even if those letters are h-o-u-s-e-w-i-f-e.
The hand that rocks the cradle can shape the generations of the world.