Sunday, August 30, 2009

Purpose - an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal

It's always weird when something is said in casual conversation and it actually happens soon after. I'm no psychic, but I have had plenty of conversations that have turned out to be prophetic and it is usually chilling and unnerving. Read on friends...

Several weeks ago I was on the phone with my best friend and we got on to the subject of all of these celebrities who have died recently. I said something about being at the age where I wasn't ready to deal with our peers starting to pass on and she responded by saying that it was the parents of our peers who were all starting to die. That shocked me. Is that true? Is that the place I am in my lifeline? Whoa.

Fast forward to this past week when I get a call that a dear friend's father is in the hospital. I guess I didn't really understand how serious it was until she requested a three-way call between herself, my sister & I later on that night. She was telling us that he didn't want to know how much time he had left. He told her about all of the things he wanted to do before he passed. As the details came pouring out, I tried to remain calm to be supportive and strong for my friend. The truth though, was that I broke out into a cold sweat recollecting my earlier conversation. I couldn't help but think that we are all far too young to be going through this. My parents had me when they were very young so I guess I just assume everyone else's parents are in that same group. But the truth is the age thing doesn't matter. I just read about about a 45-year-old father, a health nut no less, who dropped dead of a heart attack walking across his driveway. None of us know when our time is up. None of us can really prepare for that. We certainly can't prepare for when it's our parents time either.

And it has since just sort of weighed on me. I couldn't help but think of my own mortality. My purpose. Damn that purpose. It's always the thing you think about when the topics of life and death come up. That whole "what have I contributed" thing. I subscribe to the idea that one should try to go to bed just a tiny bit better of a person than one did when they woke up that morning, however minuscule that may be. I really do try to live that way. I do volunteer work. I donate blood. I spend a lot of time with my children. I keep a great circle of friends. I spend time with my family. All very little things in the grand scheme. Meaningful to ME none the less. What I've been really struggling with though, is the bigger picture. What do I want out of life. How is happiness defined by ME. I know we all struggle with these things but after the year I've had and now my friend's dad...well, I just don't want to wait until my days are numbered to do the things I want to do. To live the life that I feel I want to live.

So what is it that I want? Perhaps the best place to start would be to think about what I've accomplished in my life already. The things I'm proud of. Then start thinking about what I'd like to add to that. I've done some wonderful things. Some exciting things. What about meaningful ones? This is the quandary. I don't want to lolly gag through my days and get to the end and think to myself "Damn. I should have done so and so."

I guess the point to all of this is; maybe we should all be asking ourselves what we can do to gain more purpose to our lives. What meaningful things do we want to do to add to this tiny bit of time we are all allotted. 75 or so years is a mere speck if you think about it. Someone very special once gave me a gift with the quote "Happiness is a journey, not a destination." I kept waiting for that finish line where I'd wake up and think, "Wow. I've arrived. I am now happy." It doesn't really happen that way, does it? I didn't understand that until very recently.

So, here is some of my "to do" list, so to speak. I am going to own my own business. I am going to see London and Greece. I am going to learn Italian. I will love...again. I am going to start a charity foundation for young girls. I will teach teach my daughters to love themselves first and foremost. I'm going to tell my parents and my grandmothers that I love them every chance I get while they're still here to hear it.

That was just a tiny glimpse of mine. What's on your list? Let's all try to stop living with the "one day I'm going to" mentality. Live every day like there is a time limit left. In truth, there really is.

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