Today’s topic is another goodie for me (aren’t they all?!). Again it talks about something I’ve touched on before and most recently in my ‘Finding Joy’ post which was also part of this 30 days of self-love blogging challenge. That topic talked about happiness, contentment and joy and started me pondering (yet again) on the meaning of life. Well… selfish git that I am (and I say that with love!) I don’t mean all ‘life’, I just mean mine (cos quite frankly, it IS all about me). And, as I haven’t actually succeeded in answering that question today’s theme, Purpose, comes at a perfect time.
Do you believe in yourself? Do you believe that you have something to offer this world? Do you believe you have something to give to your family, friends, job, etc? If you think you don’t then you are sadly mistaken. Every person in this world, including you, plays some part. No one else has the same set of strengths, interests, and goals as you. The things that make you unique have the power to affect others. Those other people affected by you can then go forth to work in other peoples’ lives. It’s a never ending cycle that works its way back around to you and once again continues.
The actions you take carry more weight than you might think. We must acknowledge that our actions have an impact. We should remember that the things we pursue have worth. We need to pursue those things which give us a sense of purpose, because that is exactly why those passions are placed in our hearts – they have a purpose. When we live life intentionally, we can do great things. We cannot know the reach of our lives.
Originally, I thought a life of purpose came through having a lot of control, power, and influence. I thought only great figures, like Mother Theresa, could really live a life of purpose. I didn’t think people simply going about their days could really make an impact. Then, I began to take a closer look. I don’t have to do these amazing, widespread works to have purpose. My purpose comes in simply living and sharing love with others. I do believe there are still great things out there for me to do. I feel my life has purpose to spread positive messages to others and I admittedly get anxious to know exactly what path that will take. I have to say though, simply knowing that my life has purpose now and in the future makes life feel that much sweeter. I don’t feel like I wander around lost in my life, just going through the motions. I really do strive to make the best of each day because I know just how meaningful I am. You are too. Don’t forget it!
What ways do you have purpose?
I’ve had some difficulty with this one, particularly with the concept of who I am versus what I do. Who I am is kinda easy: I am a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, colleague etcetera. For many people who they are gives them a purpose. They are a parent and a partner, wife or husband and everything else is built around that. I’m not saying being a ‘daughter’ or a ‘sister’ isn’t as important, but it’s different. As a result, I’m not as defined by who I am. I’m more defined by what I do. I think.
I am loath to say this next bit for fear I sound even more pathetic than I already have in some of my posts, but I’ve said it before. I don’t have a lot in my life. Because I don’t come home to a partner or family every day my life is very much shaped around my work. AND… it’s not as if I’m some high-flying leader in my field. I’m not. I’m a public servant and have been one for most of my life. Having said that, I do choose positions that are a bit edgier and more interesting than most public sector jobs. I’ve had some positions requiring long hours and some requiring me to be on call or available constantly. But the bigger issue for me is that my life is often ALL about those jobs. I go to bed thinking about work and I wake thinking about work. I don’t generally mind although have had my share of unfulfilling positions.
But what it means is that when I think of being shaped by what I do, I think about work. I shouldn’t be solely defined by my job. Dare I admit it, but what I do (in my more recent roles) isn’t really my passion. I don’t wake up thinking, “I’m going to go and liaise today. Yippee!” Or, “What problems can I help resolve today?” Nope. I go to work, I do my thing and I come home. And yet I ponder on my day and the one that will come after.
I have other passions. I love reading. And writing. I love television and movies. I love eating and drinking – though am trying to do something about that misplaced romance. I wish these passions (the reading, writing etc) defined me, rather than my day-job.
Just over ten years ago I worked in international development. I started as a volunteer and spent several years in Africa and then Asia. With some experience under my belt I started working for the Federal Government, managing aid and development programs and projects, and I was even fortunate enough to have a diplomatic posting with that agency, working overseas more directly with beneficiaries and partners. Life in developing countries was difficult and challenging. But it felt like it had some purpose.
I tired of that lifestyle however, craving normalcy. I wanted a relationship, I wanted to be able to go to a gym, see friends and family. So I moved on.
Every so often I check out overseas jobs in that sector and contemplate the idea of moving back into the field. I worry that the longer I stay out the harder it will be to get back there. But the time isn’t right. My father isn’t well and I couldn’t possibly move away at the moment. But perhaps I will. Eventually.
Until then, I need to pursue things with bring me joy and happiness and fill me with a sense of purpose. My mother tells me that since I’ve started posting on this blog more (daily as opposed to ‘when I bloody felt like it’) she’s noticed a change in me. I think she’s right. I started my original blog a couple of years ago and each time I posted something I had the greatest sense of satisfaction – even if no one read it… I’d written it! My original thoughts and feelings were on paper. Or screens. I’d like to write more and become more confident about it. It doesn’t need to become my career and could just remain my passion; something that gives me a greater sense of purpose. I just need to remind myself that my world isn’t solely shaped by my ‘9-to-5’ job. I have other talents and other aspirations. My life DOES has purpose.