Finding our purpose in life seems to be an ever evolving journey throughout the seasons of our lives. Having had the privilege of serving so many seniors in our community, the verbiage I hear the most is “I feel useless.”
Compared to the days of our youth when our main objective of the day was to keep the children alive, service to others was our purpose. Once we pass the hypothetical halfway mark of life, we often lose that sense of ambition and even question why we are still here.
The first half of our lives is spent working toward graduating high school, learning a trade or getting a degree, getting married, having children, and then raising them. Our goals at that time reach forward into the future and serving others is what we do every single day. It’s easy to find objectives when we stay busy.
Once we get over the hill, those we once cared for no longer need as much attention and we make a shift toward only taking care of ourselves. Our children bring our grandchildren over and although we are glad to see the headlights, we are equally glad to see the taillights because raising kids is for the young. This is an enjoyable time in life because we still have the majority of our health and can enjoy our spouse more since they got less attention while we raised the children.
Retirement comes and our intentions become less about working and more about enjoying. Often, this phase of life is the most planned for and requires the most financial preparation. Our purpose is to play golf or to travel or be active at the country club-things we didn’t have time or money for in our youth.
As the process of aging creeps up and our health begins to fail, purpose becomes something we long for in life. It becomes a fleeting memory of days gone by. Perhaps our purpose in the winter of our lives is to give the younger generation someone to serve as we did in our youth.
What are servants without people to serve? Aging is a gift that some never have the opportunity to experience. Instead of questioning our remaining purpose here on earth, why not put our efforts into giving solid advice to the young as well as giving them the opportunity to serve.
Perhaps share some of your lifetime accumulated wealth with those who are struggling in their youth. Possibly purpose can be restored by sharing recipes and cooking techniques or simply sharing patience that only comes with age.
Giving the younger generation hope for another day is something that only age and experience can provide by sharing stories of times gone by. By adjusting our thinking a tiny bit, we can renew our sense of purpose no matter the phase of life.
Jennifer Anglin, motivational speaker, life coach, author; www.thejenniferanglin.com