Thoughts On: Knowing Your Why

There’s nothing like a big life event to make you rethink your entire life purpose.

Having a five and a half centimetre tumour removed from your body, well that gets you thinking about your why a bit more.

I was recently listening to The Slow Home Podcast, and their series on finding your Why, and reassessing your values, and I came to a realisation.

I lost my focus.

Over the last year and a half things have been crazy. My Granddad got sick and died. My dad had a cycling accident which left him really beaten up. Connor’s dad passed away unexpectedly. I ended up unwell and in and out of hospital, and ended up having a giant tumour removed from my intestines. And then my doctor told me there’s no guarantee it won’t grow back, and if it does I’ll be needing a bit more than just a few colonoscopies and a quick lumpectomy. And because of that, I’m going to be in and out of the hospital for the foreseeable, being tested and checked and tested again. And really, that sucks, and it’s taking me a lot to get my head around. Because I’ve gone from being treated for anaemia, to being on cancer watch, and it all happened so fast that it feels like it came out of nowhere.

So with everything that’s been going on, I guess it’s understandable that I lost my way somewhat. I was so concentrated on getting through what was happening, that I forgot what I was getting through it for.

Things are a little different now though. I’ve got the all clear from the hospital (for now), so other than regular tests I should be on the road to recovery. Which means there’s nothing stopping me getting back to my why. But in trying to define my why over the last few weeks, I realised I haven’t been serving it at all. And that’s scary too, realising you’re not on the right path at all.

To me, knowing your why is so important. It gives you the perspective to make clear the things in life worth worrying about, and the things that aren’t. It helps you keep your focus on your goals and your end game. It helps you know how to make tough decisions, because if you know your why, you know what you’re aiming for.

Figuring out your why is the hard bit. Figuring out what drives you, what you’re passionate about, what will matter to you in five, ten, fifteen years time. It’s not the easiest thing to put down on paper.

Except, when you stop overthinking it, it kinda is.

Writing is what drives me. It’s what makes me excited to be alive, and what makes me excited. Writing never feels like work to me, and that’s exactly why I want to make it my work. I want to take more steps towards making that a reality.

I’ve also realised over the past year, just how important my health is to me, and how that needs to be a priority. Not least so I wake up in the mornings feeling happy, energised + ready to tackle the day, but also to help in any way I can to make sure this tumour doesn’t come back.

I want to spend more time with my family and friends without pressure. This last year has been fraught with stresses, anxieties, hospital appointments and funerals. I want to cherish the time I have with my loved ones, and make them a priority.

And so I’ve realised I need to change my daily habits in order to better serve my why. I need to get writing more, working on my novel, contributing articles to magazines and sites I love, journalling again. I need to eat healthier, and embrace yoga back into my daily practice. I need to take better care of myself, and take time to spend with my family.

And put like that it seems simple again.

Wish me luck.