In recent years, there have been a number of studies about the relationship between purpose and aging. A Sense of Purpose Promotes Healthy Aging is one example. Research suggests that living with a sense of purpose not only adds quality of life but years as well. It also is associated with less risk of Alzheimer’s.
But what is ‘purpose’? What is it like to not have a sense of purpose in your life? How do you find purpose? There are many ways to describe the impact of living life without purpose – languid, meaningless, without soul, etc. No wonder it is so important!
When you look at various definitions, purpose is really about having a driving force in life or sense of meaning. So, you could say that purpose is what gets you out of bed in the morning. Or, from a quote in Jennifer Louden’s book Why Bother, “Meaning arises from loving life…” What can you create so that you love your life even more?
Notice that purpose is present tense. Loving life is present tense. So, our purpose is NOT what we have contributed in the past or who we have been. Those experiences have only served to bring us to who we are today. One of the gifts of life is that we can renew ourselves as we choose.
An internet search offers lists of things mature people can do to create meaning, such as joining groups or taking up hobbies. There are ample great ideas, and it is more personal than that.
My question for you is, what matters to you, right now? There is no right answer; there is your answer. For one person, it may be helping the hungry or homeless, for someone else it may be touching the world through art. Perhaps what matters relates to nature, social good, family well-being, education, or spreading laughter. The person who feels the vitality and love of life is you; it is your choice.
The point is, where is your spark? How can you feed that flame? Happily, at our age we are wiser than we have ever been. Right? So, listen to that wisdom; listen to yourself. Then create a life you love.
Here are some steps you can take to amplify the sense of purpose in your life.
I’d love to hear about your relationship with your purpose. Perhaps you are like me, using the freedom of this age to contribute from a deep place of purpose. Perhaps you are where I was several years ago, knowing there was something more and puzzled about how to move forward. Thank heavens for the little voice that says there is more. Do you hear that voice?
What is your purpose? Have you been in such a place where you did not have a sense of purpose in your life? How do you find purpose? Where do you look for it?
Tags Reinventing Yourself
Margaret, how inspiring! I’ve been in a slump and realized I am not pursuing my passion for writing. Perhaps this is also my purpose in these years after turning 70. I have published and won awards for fiction and nonfiction short stories, but am bogged down on completing a novel. So I am moving back to a collection of short stories which I will self-publish for family and friends. Who knows, maybe this project will migrate into sales of my book. I watch your videos every day, and am being more introspective about my current life. Thank you so much! Jean
Does your heart tell you writing is in season for you right now? It sure sounds like you have a gift to share!
The energy comes from your heart…your inner knowing. Then it is a matter of putting in place the support structures you need. My retired physician friend just finished her first draft by using a writing class with that as an outcome, for example. Or perhaps it is deciding on a writing rhythm commitment you make to yourself – and keep. Get it on your calendar, woven into your day, and do it. I do a little cacao ceremony before I write articles and come out of it inspired, so it flows more easily.
Who is in your life to offer you support and belief in you right now? Where can you find that? A writing group, perhaps? An accountability coach?
I’m sending you the curiosity and openness to realize what work wants to be created through you next.