Two Truths and One Lie

I’m assuming most of us have heard of or have played the game of “Two Truths and One Lie” at one point or another in our lives. In case you haven’t yet, it’s a game usually played with friends, though not a requirement, where a person tells the audience two truths and one lie about themselves and the audience then has the task of identifying which are the truths, and which is the lie. Over the last two months, this game has come up not once, not twice, but three times in my life. Since for me the fourth time is the charm, I figured I would ask you to indulge me in a game of “Two Truths and One Lie”, only this time instead of making you guess I will speak my truth.

Truth #01

I’m a fifty-four-year-old woman who has lost her purpose in life. There was a time when I knew exactly what I was here for and what I was supposed to be doing every day, every minute and every second of my life. I had a career, it was stressful, but I enjoyed what I did, and I was good at it. I worked hard, and I made a good living doing it. I cared for my kids, performed my wifely duties, tended to my home, and still managed to fit in some quality time of leisure. Today, and for five years now I have found myself without a career and my needs at home are not as urgent since my sons have grown from boys to men. Now on most days when I wake up, I have absolutely nothing pressing to do. The things in my life are optional, and voluntary, some feel frivolous even, and on some days the most important decision I have to make is whether to leave the house or stay home. Despite the fact that deep down I know I have value, I know I am enough, sometimes it’s hard shaking the feeling I should be doing more. The truth is, after being out of work for over five years, I’m not sure whether my biggest fear is that I may have been rendered redundant and disqualified, at least in my previous profession, or if it’s my lack of desire to return to work.

Truth #02

Yes, there I said it and that’s my second truth. I have no desire to return to work, but sans the consideration of whether I can afford to or not, there is something ingrained in me that dictates that my primary value or worth is the sum of what I earn in a career outside of the home. It’s no wonder feelings of guilt persist, and questions of my employment status make me cringe whenever they do come up. My change in status is never more real than when the question comes up at the doctor’s office or on a form or questionnaire somewhere and I’m forced to respond “no” or “not applicable”. Not applicable, when and how did I fall into this category? The truth is, I know how I fell into this category, but it all feels so distant and irrelevant at this point.

The Lie

The lie is one I tell myself that I am irrelevant, disqualified or not applicable. It’s the lie I tell myself that I have to do what most normal people my age are going. There goes those damn norms and timelines again! What is not a lie though is that I do have a purpose; I did then, I always did, and I still do now. Sure, the look and feel of that purpose has changed, but yes, I do have one, in fact many and I’m living and loving them. That’s the beauty of life and its changes and I would like to think that life has brought about a reimagining of my purpose. We have to break ourselves out of these lies we tell ourselves that our worth or value is primarily wrapped up in our means of income and our tangible contributions to our families and society. Sure, that might be true for some and maybe that’s okay, but at this point in my life that is not my truth, and I’m still learning to be at peace with that.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” – Mark 8:36

27 thoughts on “Two Truths and One Lie

  1. As Alan Watts said: “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” If you haven’t “discovered” him yet he was a brilliant thinker as well as an alcoholic living on a houseboat in Sausalito. The houseboat is still there. Plenty of books and recordings of his to enrich your life with. See this and other quotes of his here https://bigthink.com/thinking/alan-watts-quotes-that-will-change-your-perspective-on-life/

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  2. I totally understand. I was lost for several years listening to the lie about my worth being connected to an income. During this stage, I started working on my thinking associated with my anxieties and the lack of self-worth. I am thankful for the time to be able to better know myself. I first stepped back in with volunteer work. I found I really enjoyed the volunteer work, as there was nothing but the joy of helping that brought me there and kept me there, nothing associated with income or money. Perhaps it is time to take a different path than previously traveled, with less stress. I do enjoy what you write, I look forward to your posts and your photography. Thank you for sharing words and pictures.

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  3. Whoo! I struggle with this one as well…I have to talk myself into going to work every day…some aspects of it I absolutely love and others, well…I just don’t think it “fits” the “who” I have evolved to be. But I struggle with next steps.

    I am grateful for your vulnerability.

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  4. I medically retired a few years ago. I agree with you there is almost like an itch that doesn’t get scratched cause you’re at home. You don’t rub shoulders with work colleagues and the like. Took me a bit to get my head around it. That’s why blogging and the like is great. Some great writers.

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  5. I relate to this so much. I, too, haven’t worked for some time, and my kids are also grown. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that we’ve built a world that ties our value to our ability to not just produce, but to produce correctly. To live correctly. I struggle to believe my life has value without the societally-approved external validation. It’s easier with other people now – I simply say “retired.” Convincing my brain that I’m still vital is harder.

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  6. Unadulterated and simple truth. I have had some of these realizations now that I am an empty nester and am working from home full time. I am gently releasing myself from norms and expectations and allowing myself to experience life in its truest and simplest forms. I can’t say miss the colleagues😌. I look forward to the experiences of each new day, and have made much more time for volunteering which is fulfilling. My daughter asked me today, “what is your word for 2023?” My quick response was ‘self-care’. That would not have been my response 3 years ago. Now look at me nurturing and enjoying the simple joys of life. Enjoy your journey and continue to make each day count Janice.🌺

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    1. Thanks Dianne, “self-care” sounds like a very good word to me. We learn these things as we mature, you’re so right there is a certain peace and nurturing of self that comes with getting older, we just have to embrace it.

      Like

  7. Great blog. I believe life comes in seasons. This season is for what you are doing now. Who knows what the next season may bring, but I am sure you will be be great at whatever that may be.

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  8. Omg are you me? Ever since I decided to go the fiction route, I’d been struggling to find meaning in any of my pursuits. Like, what good can I do by telling fairy tales that people aren’t even interested in reading? Yet when it comes to going back to the 9–5, I still find myself preferring my current struggle than to return to the office.

    Thanks so much for sharing your truth, and for making me feel not so alone.

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  9. I haven’t played the game, and that’s the truth, no lies here. My sister, the truth has set you free, to be who, your heart desires to be. Why, should I lie, when the truth is; “you’re blessed, and highly favoured!”

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