One of my favourite students asked me one day: What drives you in life?
My answer was an incoherent ramble.
So now I have more time to think to structure my thoughts (at this moment I think I explain myself better through writing than verbally).
I think what drives us in life changes through periods. I tend to reevaluate myself from time to time, particularly upon those moments where something, be it personal or professional, happened.
I recall gaining a sense of purpose and determination during my early twenties. Mostly driven by the need for self-actualisation and monetary gain (sad, but it was true at that time). Became head of the student body, straight A student, began assisting lectures, got a job. Afterwards I planned the next five years of my life based on this framework.
Then I met Arya. At the beginning our relationship had to coincide with my personal plans. But then slowly my priorities shifted. Yes, I had my personal objectives but it had to be consistent with our plans as partners. Amsterdam pretty much rearranged my views in almost everything in life. Knowledge was no longer inherited but grasped. I reviewed the things in life that I had taken for granted.
And then I had Malik. For the first time in my life something was absolutely dependent on me. Then I functioned accordingly. I embraced motherhood to the extent that I stopped thinking about myself.
Arya dragged me out of this spell. I had to have my own space and balance it (or juggle it) with the others. Afterwards, life wasn't about one or the other. But about priorities, responsibility, consequence and consistency.
Having said that, there has always been an underlying idea behind all these decision making, which is the framework with which I view life. Values, so to speak. It was molded into me for decades, challenged, reevaluated, restructured, rearticulated along with the trials and tribulations (pun intended, you-know-who) that I had gone through in life.
This is the only consistent thing in my life. The glasses I use to view the world, just with experience, I get a tighter focus. Or a wider range of view.
These set of ideas are fundamental, for me. Without it, I think I wouldn't have been able to make sound decisions and accept the consequences - then not dwell in the costs. Through it I found inner peace. That whatever happens in life, I know I will be alright. Because eventually I will learn how to accept the string of collateral effects and come out a stronger human being.
I'm pretty sure that I will go through more changes and reshifting priorities. And I might look back at this post with deep humiliation over my naivety. But for the moment, this is the most honest answer I can give.