Yesterday evening, I attended a dinner for Lincoln Heights Middle School “Dining with the Future” students and teachers. They celebrated the completion of the Lincoln Promise program for rising freshmen. It was a nice reward for those students that persevered, did their community service and willing to subject themselves to having dinner with some local professional adults. Some of those old timers shocked them with stories of life without cell phones, computers and color TV.
When everyone finished, Principal Joe Ely asked the grown ups for a piece of advice to offer the young people. As luck would have it, only due to the fact I was sitting where I sat down, I went last. Perfect. I first thought “Everyone is going to say what I want to say.” As it turned out, not so. The words of encouragement were all wise and true. Subjects of perseverance, reach for the stars, follow your dreams, resilience and more. All worthwhile things.
My message was similar BUT different (naturally). Having taught middle school for most of my teaching career and being a shy, lonely, worthless feeling youngster myself 50 years ago, I said something about purpose. Had I known in advance, I would have said something like this.
When I was your age, I was painfully shy, and afraid of failure, and even more afraid of what people would think of me. I felt inadequate and inferior.There was one thing however that I clung to and still cling do, especially when challenged or discouraged. This! We are all here for a reason. We don’t even need to know specifically what the reason is but generally, I believe we are here to learn (sometimes the hard way, but learn we must). We are here to love, to be loved, to give back, to make the world a better place. If things aren’t going all that well, maybe life is trying to teach you a lesson; to make changes, try something different, or change your beliefs (about the world, or yourself).
Without a sense of purpose, life doesn’t make much sense. Why do I have to…? I tell myself, “This is preparing me in some way that I cannot foresee to make my life complete.” “Why me? and Why this?” were frequent thoughts before my epiphany. I learned to tell myself that what may be difficult, unfair, or senseless is, I believe, tools to prepare me to maximize my ability to fulfill my purpose.
Looking back, with 20/20 vision, I now believe I benefited from every experience. Everything had a lesson to teach me. My weird family, my really weird friends, the classes, jobs, car wrecks, trips. All of it has made me who I am, and positioned me to better fulfill my purpose, whatever that is.
Whether you have identified clearly your purpose, or not, you have one. Keep your eyes open and you will see plenty of opportunities to make your life better, and the life of those around you. If you are in touch with the why, the how will reveal itself. From the people you grew up with, to the clerk in the store, every person you meet is an opportunity to learn, grow or teach. Make their day, make them smile. They may not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.
My purpose? To be the kind of person my grandchildren and dogs think I am.
What is life’s purpose? https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/what-life-purpose
Love this site. How to be happy. https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/
So many good quotes in here, each could be a chapter in a book by itself. https://youtu.be/n7pyp-3q0ZA
From one of my favorite authors, Brene Brown. https://brenebrown.com/articles/2018/05/24/the-midlife-unraveling/
I haven’t done this but it looks interesting. https://www.powerofpositivity.com/5-ways-to-find-your-life-purpose-today/