Finding Life’s Purpose – “Put up, Shut up or Get Out of the Way”
I’m 46 years old. It’s hard to believe sometimes that I actually made it this far in life.
The history of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts could have ended everything for me a long time ago but it didn’t. I’m still here, still pushing forward and still hopeful. Resilient is the word most often used to describe me.
Even though I know I have been through worse in my life it has taken the last 4 months to accept the fact that I am a strong person with enough determination to make it through anything that life throws at me. All the while maintaining a genuine smile on my face because I know what is like to fail and fail often. I also know what is like to pick myself back up again, shake things off and try again. You can only learn this through failure.
So with each passing day as I move further and further away from the thoughts, actions and history I know I cannot change my new focus is determining what the rest of my life should look like.
I made a decision on November 15, 2013 that altered my course forever. I was at a point in my life where I had to make a decision whether to keep moving in the same direction or change. I could have stayed where I was at because it was somewhat stable and secure both physically and monetarily.
I chose to change and it has been an evolving process ever since.
The biggest issue I face right now is making solid decisions about another career that will carry me into retirement. My children are almost grown and will be moving out into the world within the next couple of years. So I lie awake at night and think about what will I be doing?
This requires determining a life purpose. Something I’ve never actually thought about until now. There is a generally accepted norm that people are dependent on family until they reach adulthood, then they spend the rest of their life working, being married or single and beginning a family or not. They then start winding down toward eventual retirement if they can afford it or if they want to usually around the age of 60. The last half of their life is savoring the fruits of their labor or the twilight years.
I on the other hand didn’t go down a generally accepted “normal” path. I started a career at 17 that would see me retired by the time I was 42. Started having children at 22 and then got married at 26. I had my last child by the time I reached 30. Working mainly part-time jobs for 16 years. Starting college at the age of 27 and will be approximately 47 by the time it’s finished. Ending my marriage at 42 and having no real plans to go down that path again so will be flying solo for a while. Right now I am focusing on another potential career that will hopefully help me retire financially secure by the time I am 55. Then at 60 I will draw the pension from the first career. Somewhere during these transitions my goal is to start a business and a project that will allow me help others that will keep me going until I can’t go no more.
All these plans in my head but if I’m asked “What is your life’s purpose?” I can’t put it into short simple words. I used to tell people “To survive.” I was in the middle of a life struggle and just wanted to get past it as quickly as possible. So I’ve done that and continue to do so with no plans of stopping.
At one point I wanted to be “Leader” to my own people, Native Americans, I just knew that I could help them become stronger and moving forward. I wanted to help to not only maintain & preserve our culture and history so we wouldn’t forget but at the same time introduce more “modern” ways of thinking in how they handle their nations. After working briefly within my own tribe, I realized that there was so much more going on there it would take the rest of my lifetime and it would never be truly fixed. It was such a disheartening moment to realize that. I still haven’t given up hope but feel like my time is better suited doing something else besides getting into tribal politics.
Then as I continued moving forward I wanted to find a way to help other veterans because I am one too. This idea is a good one but there are so many organizations already in place and devoted to this particular cause. I couldn’t see how I could make any further impact unless it was something dedicated to only female veterans who are sometimes overlooked. That’s still any idea but hasn’t grown into any sort of plan of action yet.
These days I think about helping people to reach their own potential. I’m not sure how but I feel like there is something there that I’m overlooking that can be improved upon. All of these thoughts are based around the same basic principle; to serve others. In what capacity I haven’t figured out quite just yet.
So I am pursuing a career right now within the insurance industry. It’s not exactly what others think I should be doing but it is a start. I have to get my foot in the door somewhere that will allow me to make the kind of income that eventually will lead to me being able to do more than just earn a paycheck.
When I was going through military basic training my flight (squadron) had a saying “Put up, Shut up or Get Out of the Way”. It was something that I took to heart. This is how I carry myself in every situation I go into much to the dismay of others. It is this attitude that has sometimes backfired as well. Like I mentioned earlier, we learn through failure.
This transition phase of my life has opened up so many thoughts, ideas and dreams about what I want from life. The places I want to see, the things I want to learn, the kind of people I want to surround myself with and finding contentment with all of it.
In all the years prior to today, I could never imagine that I would feel at peace about the decisions I’ve made and the actions I’ve take so far. I always worried about what other people thought about me and would be overly cautious. That has gone away over the last year and my thoughts are becoming clearer. Now defining my purpose more is the next step.
I’m finding my true self, my own voice again and being motivated by others. So in the weeks, months and even years ahead, I know that I will still be moving forward and becoming the person I was meant to be.
What is your life’s purpose?
Thanks for stopping by.
Have a great rest of the week!
Peace, Love & Happiness to you always.