Friday, August 16, 2013

Find and Embrace Your Purpose in Life

Release the hounds, er... I mean the words.

I am a writer, one who shares his experiences and those of others using words. It’s my claim to fame, even if that makes me a legend in my own mind. I tell stories. It’s my mission in life. My purpose. But hasn’t always been that way.
               I used to be a drifter. It sounds more dramatic than it is but there was a time when I went through life without having a purpose to existence. It was awful. I lacked focus and had no sense of who I was or what I wanted.
               I envy folks who at a very young age know what they want to do in life. Me? I was near into my 30s before discovering it was writing. And it had been right in front of me all along; in my face but couldn’t see it.
               Writing has been with me since birth. Well, maybe it was really grade school but the point is I never considered writing as a way to earn a living. It was fun; something to do when I got tired of bike riding, watching TV, shooting hoops or whatever. Raining outside? Go and write. Grounded in my bedroom? No problem; put pen to paper. Scribing was a pleasure.
Being near any body of water helps fuel my purpose.
               It continued in high school. Then college. I sailed through classes that required term papers. Even then it wasn't as a career option. Instead my motto was, “Show me the money.” After graduation, the primary criteria for taking jobs was how much they paid.
               I was happy for a while. The turning point was as a new home construction superintendent. The money was great; job satisfaction was not. ‘Being handy’ is not in my skill set and building tract homes was just not my thing. It filled my savings account but bankrupted my spirit. It wasn’t my purpose in life and I was miserable. Took me more than a year of deep, honest soul searching to ‘discover’ writing was my calling.
               I’m happier now, though not all the time. Like everybody else, I suffer setbacks and have ups and downs. Sometimes way downs. But through it all there’s my writing. I’ve been a music journalist, publicist, copywriter, strategic communications professional and now social change agent. Sharing stories is my purpose; it’s what helps give life meaning.
With purpose, the sky's the limit.
Most folks have at the very least a glimmer of awareness of their life's purpose. Trouble is, they often don’t or can’t pay attention to it. Job, kids, life: a lot can get in the way of realizing what it is you’re meant to do on this earth. A lot of times it’s just a vague feeling - something that pulls at you. And more times than not, it’s right in front of your face. The challenge is recognizing it.
               No matter your age, instilling yourself with a sense of purpose constitutes a huge step in helping find value and meaning in your own life. It also can literally spell the difference between life and death – for young and old. It can steer youth toward a promising future, and can help elders maintain vitality. In both cases, it is the sense of usefulness and value (rather than mere productivity) that is important.
               Caution: your sense of purpose can shift as you age. Another consideration is the impact our culture has on what young or old people are ‘supposed’ to do. Take it from me, both can clutter your mind and keep you from seeing your own personal truth. That said, what is your life purpose?

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