It's a process, Kate...
Like so many of his wise sayings, I can hear the words and the tone of my father.
Life's a process. Writing is a process. Marriage is a process. Parenting is a process. Making a home is a process. Discovering your footing on a new career path is a process. Christmas shopping is even a process.
Culturally, we live for the end product. The completed room. The child in a good school and respectable major. The house that is completely decorated. The relationship that is finally perfect. The list completed and checked twice. And we feel like we haven't accomplished much if we don't have that certificate of achievement to show for all our efforts. After all, there is a grade to be earned, a deadline to make, a holiday to celebrate. Maybe this obsession is because I grew up around the most type-A city in the world.
But is that really living? What about today and the messy living room from all the play, the bantering children who have the blessing to even have siblings to squabble with, the tired spouse who got a hug before collapsing, the children who miss you when you've been gone for 2 hours?
At this point in my life, I am in the process of everything, including growing older myself. Nothing is done, nothing finished, except maybe the dishes. Today. But if I wait for that to define me, for that one moment of a final product, I'll be waiting a long time. Each action I've done today, every word I've uttered, defines who I am to myself and to others. And that's what counts. I'm in the process, and that's all that really matters.