What is fulfillment?

Cupcake love

Love in the form of a cupcake, a gift from my awesome friend Ms. Maggie Sylva.

Yesterday I celebrated my 26th birthday. I was inundated with love and warmth from people I’ve known all my life as well as new friends. On my 25th birthday this type of love did not surround me. My job was not a source of fulfillment, so I gave that excuse permission to infect the rest of my life. I’ve spent the last year correcting this by nurturing relationships that are important to me and committing to giving back to my community all the time, not just when it’s convenient or the mood strikes. This endeavor includes encouraging the people I love, sharing my positivity abundantly, picking up trash everywhere I go, volunteering, and smiling at strangers—to name a few.

Right around this time last year inspirational seedlings were growing, the result of which was this blog! MamaQuest is one of the most fulfilling, enjoyable activities in my life. I’m not sure if that makes me sound like a nerd or a smartypants or a dumdum. However it may seem I mean it with sincerity. Writing MamaQuest allowed me to confront the loss of my mother while building the courage to build a truly satisfying and happy life. Those moments of intense loss where I would give anything to bring her back are the fuel source for this labor of love, Trauma to Art, and the enthusiastic smiles for strangers.

Starting MamaQuest felt really easy. Building it into something of value and substance is a different story. First I had to accept that part of this process includes making mistakes. Knowing I can’t do everything I want to do with it right away is the most difficult feat but also accounts for why it is such a source of fulfillment.

Fulfillment, a word I toss around liberally, is such a strange beast. Let’s crack open the etymology of it.

fulfill +‎ -ment (This word dates back to 1775.)

Fulfill is a verb meaning:

1.             to bring about the completion or achievement of (a desire, promise, etc)
2.             to carry out or execute (a request, etc)
3.             fulfill oneself  to achieve one’s potential or desires

-ment is a suffix of nouns, often concrete, denoting an action or resulting state.

I like this word but this definition makes it seem like fulfillment comes from completing something. Based on my experience with MamaQuest and now with starting Trauma to Art, I disagree emphatically. Conversely I would like to keep this word in my vocabulary so I’ll have to make one small adjustment to its definition.

Fulfillment: n. A lifelong commitment to consummate a desire or promise by keeping your creation in a state of consistent evolution.

Striving for fulfillment onto itself is the big picture and for some reason last year I saw fulfillment as something to be achieved, placed on my mantle and forgotten. Viewing fulfillment as a catalyst for action instead of an elusive final destination has helped me frame my approach to everything and has kept my neuroses at bay. I think my friend Ariel said it best, “Get out of your head, it’s going to play games with you.”

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3 Comments

Filed under for fun, giving thanks, gratitude, grief, Lauren Muscarella, loss, mother, Volunteer

3 responses to “What is fulfillment?

  1. Kori

    Nothing feels better than finding your “mission.” Happy Birthday! Cheers to many more fulfilling years 🙂

  2. Ariel Boxman

    That friend Ariel is a smart cookie…
    So happy you are feeling fulfilled! And you are correct, it is an ongoing process. Keep on it!

    Love you!

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