Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with the un-named dread and wonder “What’s it all about?”
I so often do.
And it happened again last night right after we’d been to watch the movie Saving Mr Banks (10/10) and I think it was because all those Mary Poppins songs (remember the heart wrenching, “Feed the Birds”, and joyful “Let’s Go Fly a Kite?” – yes, I know you do).
It must have been because the movie somehow invoked a feeling of loss. Mary Poppins you see was such a part of my childhood and I think I went to see it over 10 times with my Mum and my Gran, then when my own children were born we would sit and watch it together and sing along to the songs all over again.
And watching this movie suddenly gave me a sense of foreboding, as in: “Well, that’s it then.”
All those memories that came whooshing in like a great big teary emotional wave which had me sitting in the darkened movie house with tears streaming down my face. Oh so many memories Mr Walt Disney and Julie Andrews. Emma Thomson did a fantastic job playing P L Travers though, and there were lots of humorous moments in the film too but overall it signified so much that is over, gone, not to be repeated.
So then it struck me. It’s easy to wallow in the past, and forget that we still have many years still to go, and although we have lost being a child and a mother to young children, or possibly our careers are nearing an end, we still need to have a life purpose to ward off the un-named dread.
Much of my married life has been dictated by where Dave’s career has taken him (we’ve moved 19 times, 11 times internationally) or my time has been taken up with children’s needs, and now after many years of ‘being there’ for my family I realised a few years ago that it’s time for me to take the reins again.
What shall I do with the rest of my life?
Then I found that I didn’t have a clear idea about my life purpose anymore.
I wonder if you do?
Writing and Blogging
Creating, writing and editing my blogs has given me a reason to get up in the morning, and I have an overall philosophy that I want to be as helpful as I can with the knowledge that I have.
Perhaps it’s not a very lofty life purpose, such as saving the world, but it’s ok for now.
But there were quite a few years in between when I wondered what my reason for still being on this planet could possibly be, and times when I felt useless, rudderless, often miserable and frequently bursting into tears for no apparent reason.
I call them the in-between years.
An anchor was needed
For somewhere between then and now I realized that I needed an anchor for my life, a purpose, something that I could do even if we moved again or if everything and everyone deserted me … and that’s where writing and my blogs lifted me from the doldrums.
Why do you need a life purpose?
Without something that inspires you to get up you become dull and uninvolved with life.
I know I did.Everything seemed unexciting and nothing seemed really interesting. I could have been depressed but I think it was more the lacking purpose in life that made me sad.
How can a strong life purpose help you too?
- Having a life purpose pushes you out of the armchair, out of your comfort zone and into adventure.
- With a defined life purpose you’ll become more effective at whatever you choose to do.
- You’ll find that you begin planning your days so that you can do more – you’ll start getting up earlier, and watching daytime reality TV will most certainly not be an option. You’ll find more things are interesting and start having life dreams all over again.
Getting out of the comfort zone
Once you have interests again and a purpose, you’ll start growing again, not in height or width (silly) but in personality and character. You’ll become more interesting as you push and strive for greater things, you’ll have more direction and as the momentum grows so too will your confidence and people around you will notice the change too.
So if you don’t think you have a Life Purpose any more, have a look at the following list and why not let us know in the comments if anything inspires you – or tell us more about your own life purpose?
Life Purpose – what’s yours?
- To be a fab parent or grandparent
- To be an expert in your chosen field
- To create something wonderful
- To change the world in a humanitarian way
- To help people in whatever way you can
- To aim for a high level of spirituality
- To travel and have adventures
- To do voluntary work and help those less fortunate
- To leave a worthwhile legacy to your family
- To be positive and enjoy every day
- To study for a new job or voluntary position
- To uplift others
Anyway, I’m looking forward to having grandchildren – wonder if I can subject them to Mary Poppins on regular Nanna video fests at home!
You might find the following books interesting. They helped me in the creation of this article too. Why People Fail, The 16 Obstacles to Success and How to Overcome them by Siimon Reynolds (Penguin Books). Life Coaching for Work by Eileen Mulligan (Piatkus)