I have had the same questions for most of my conscious life.
What is my purpose?
What is my calling?
How can I make a difference in the world?
Divining my true purpose has always been a struggle. But some decisions curtail other decisions. E.g. a decision to have children, at the very least, delays joining the peace corp. Ipso facto, raising children became my purpose for a period of time and this particular purpose clings tenaciously to the heart and mind of a mother. I have a difficult time relinquishing that role.
My career created a new purpose: financial viability.
Having a family is some of the best management-skill training available. When I went to work for myself I was immediately successful. I took my intense self with me, working 60-70 hours a week and building my clientele.
I knew I was helping people. I felt good about my role in life; respected in my field and well-paid.
I hadn’t relinquished my parental role, however. I spent hours on the phone with my college-age and newly-in-love children. I sped up the freeway for the birth of my first grandchild. A playhouse added to my business office decor.
My discomfort grew as my family grew. There were more marriages and more grandchildren. My parents were aging.
The question arose once more. What was my true purpose.
My business was rewarding in recognition and financial gain. But was I making a difference in the world? I began to question whether, other than sticking to good ethics and my core values, I was doing anything worthwhile. As I had done much of my life, I served as trustee on several boards. However, they served a higher echelon of needs. I now served universities rather than abused women. And although education is definitely a huge part of my mission in life, (somewhere in here I created a personal mission statement) there was no “hands on” aspect of my volunteer work.
I retired and accepted my new purpose: attending to parents and grandchildren. And as our parents passed and our grandchildren grew, I began writing. Is that a purpose? Is travel a purpose?
Since I have no shining talent or overarching passion in my life, perhaps my purpose will always be in flux. When I revisit my written mission, it still serves; and it yet seems as amorphous as my life.
All of this is to inform of another change. I have not yet been called to serve, but I have completed my formal training. I am now a hospice volunteer. My new badge identifies me by first name and the typical mugshot. I’ve been outfitted with a heavy notebook of instructions and a bag of tricks to carry with me to my posts.
Is this my new purpose?