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Purpose – Are You Finding It or Creating It?

By Kay Van Norman February 01, 2024 Mindset

Have you ever noticed how the new year springs from the holidays and then suddenly it’s February? So often I wake up one morning in late January and realize the new year with all its promise of new beginnings is already gaining steam for better or worse.

If you made New Year’s resolutions, how are they going for you? I’ve talked before about ‘inspiration whiplash’ where we get all pumped up to pursue a new goal and then for whatever reason find that a month or two has passed without clear progress towards our goals.

One common goal often attached to the promise of a new year relates to living in one’s purpose – whatever that happens to be! I’ve given that a lot of thought and came across this quote on my Good Earth tea bag! What’s not to like – a great cup of tea and life lessons on a little square of paper – but this one really hit home. I paired the quote with a photo of me and Sapphire, my horse, on a stunning Montana trail; it’s where I do my best pondering.

Finding or Creating

In this case I think back to all the times I would ask myself, “What is my purpose, who am I supposed to be, what path should I take?”

And it wasn’t until I was in my 50s that I finally realized that for me it wasn’t something preordained – something I had to strive to find. It was whatever path I choose.

For better or worse I realized I was systematically creating myself through daily thoughts and actions related to each dimension of wellness: physical, social, emotional, intellectual, vocational, and spiritual.

Some were conscious choices and some were driven more by habit and what I like to call lifestyle inertia – that comfortable rhythm of life we often get into without really examining whether it’s taking us where we want to go – or not!

Deposits or Withdrawals?

So, an interesting question to ponder is, what self are you creating with ongoing deposits and withdrawals in each dimension of wellness? For example, if you think about a simple two-sided scale, what self are you creating physically, socially, and emotionally through your habits compounded over time? What self are you nurturing intellectually, spiritually, and vocationally?

It’s a pretty simple equation. Deposits are positive efforts, i.e., increasing physical activity, nurturing healthy relationships, meditating/managing stress, expanding your mind, nurturing a connection to something greater than self, and expanding and sharing your skills and abilities.

Withdrawals are the opposite. Things that take you further from your desired sense of wellbeing, i.e. settling into a sedentary lifestyle, closing yourself off to healthy relationships, spending hours per evening binge watching shows – more out of habit than anything else! You get the idea!

If Not Now, When?

Is your life simply unfolding in an unconscious way as you habitually go about your daily routine and meet unexpected challenges? Are you consciously waiting for a point in time or a certain milestone or goal to truly live the life you want to live? If so, do you really have to wait? Is there something you could start doing today to begin creating and nurturing the self you want to build?

Another quote I love is from a young lady called Nightbirde who performed on America’s Got Talent. When asked about her terminal cancer diagnosis and why she was there she said, “You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”

What More Is There to Say?

Don’t wait until life is perfect, your choices are all inspired, your behaviors match your intentions, you’ve met all your goals, you’re “good enough,” etc. to decide to be happy.

Do your best to live with intention, making more deposits than withdrawals most of the time, and embrace the many moments of joy available along the way. Consciously and habitually choose happiness as you go about creating your life.

Visit Brilliant Aging for more information about how to start making regular deposits into your personal vitality and happiness.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What one thing could you choose today that would bring a smile to your face? Is there a memory you can vividly bring to mind that fills your heart with joy?

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Is it ok not to have a real purpose 🫤😂 I’m pretty satisfied and mostly happy but never really found my purpose so occasionally feel bad or guilty about it🙃

Kay Van Norman

Of course it’s ok! As long as you’re happy that’s the real goal!

Khoo San San

I have been feeling lost for the past two years after my retirement searching for my life purpose, wondering where to start. Thanks for this article.


Same here, it’s a bit of a dilemma as I don’t want to work too much now yet find I have a bit too much time on my hands. I work part time which I like, do some voluntary working have interests but without a full time job am floundering a bit finding a new purpose. I’ll be visiting your Brilliant Ageing site. Good article, especially deposits and withdrawals. It’s all too easy to let things slip.

Kay Van Norman

Thanks for your comments! It is really easy to just let the days go by without considering how you want to spend it! I hope you enjoy my Brilliant Aging site.

Kay Van Norman

Check out A website called the Purpose Equation. It might be helpful!


The phrase to the effect “if not now, when”. I constantly remind myself of that fact. Time passes quickly, and this life is not a dress rehearsal. So go out there and make things happen not only for yourself, but for others around you while you can.

Kay Van Norman

So well put! Every day holds gifts to give and receive!

The Author

Healthy aging expert Kay Van Norman is the President of Brilliant Aging. She serves on international boards, speaks and consults around the world, and has an extensive list of publications. Her Vitality Portfolio® model for lifelong health will be featured in a book by author Jack Canfield. Visit her at

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