Who are you doing it for?

I had a lot of thinking time on a recent long drive from Missouri to Texas. One of the topics that held my attention for awhile had to do with motivations. I posed the question to myself: If I didn’t know anyone, what would I be doing?

The object was to isolate what I am doing because of other people in my life and what I am doing for myself, in other words, “who is the motivator?”. I thought for some time, and concluded that I’m doing pretty much what I would be doing anyway, but I could see where some other people are doing stuff because of family or friends.

Then I had to laugh because I was right in the middle of something that I wouldn’t have been doing if not for the people I know — I spent the last two weeks taking my mother to Missouri, helping my sister take care of her, and driving her back to Texas mostly to give my brother a vacation.

It’s easy to see when other people are caught up in doing thing “for” others and not quite as obvious when I’m doing it.

When I asked Steve if he’d ever thought about it, he changed the question a bit to: If I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted, what would I be doing? Maybe I didn’t explain it well, but he tends to frame most things in terms of freedom, so this was not a big surprise. But he came up with a much better-sounding life than his current existence, so it was useful.

It made me think of a different twist too. If I didn’t have anything tying me to a place (a job, a house, a school), where would I want to be? I’ve thought of this before and always have trouble with it. It seems like the answer to “What do I want to do?” should come before “Where do I want to be?”. Maybe places don’t motivate me as much as people or events. I’m not one of those people that loves to travel, but then being “just anywhere” is definitely not as good as having a relaxing, comfortable place to be.

If Steve and I can weave our separate answers to these questions into a cohesive composite, we’ll be all set to implement it.