Thriving, with a sense of purpose

1 June 2016
I received an email last week asking why I do the work I do. The person who sent it said I seem to be a bit obsessive and that at my stage of life, I should be doing less. She said I should sit back and enjoy life a bit more. I'm sure she meant well. It's an ongoing goal of mine to enjoy every day and I am conscious of that every waking hour, probably more than most people are. One of the many significant things I get from the work I do and living simply is a sense of purpose. That feeling is enough to get me out of bed in the morning, it fires me up to work in my home, grow food, cut back when others are buying more and every day I appreciate being able to do the work I need to do to give me the life I want.  I feel I'm contributing and that my life has meaning beyond being a commercial entity available for hire by anyone who would pay the price to use my brain and energy.  When I was working for a living, I knew my purpose - it was to earn money so I could buy everything I needed and wanted. I wish I'd thought deeper about my life back then because I think it is possible to live simply and work for a living, and many of you do that. Had I thought more about my own situation back then, I might have made different choices and perhaps travelled a different path.

What was missing then was the undeniable feeling that my life had meaning apart from being a paid worker. I wanted a sense of purpose that resulted in making life meaningful and I didn't find that until I'd given up on it all, walked away from my working life and started from scratch all over again. Getting back to bare basics opened up my horizons and gave me the opportunity to build a different life. If I had not been prepared for the work I do here at home, that opportunity might not have been there for me.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas Edison

Now I find purpose and meaning in being able to provide for my family, teach my grandchildren, share my knowledge through the forum, my books and this blog. Small, ordinary, practical tasks fill my days and make me feel satisfied when I go to bed at night. That is important to me and possibly to many of us. I feel useful when I knit for my grandkids instead of buying something off the shelf. I feel I'm doing the right thing when I serve up a meal that's been cooked from scratch and partly produced in my own back yard. Making soap and cleaners, gardening, preserving and baking help us live well. And when I look at the work I do I feel proud that I have the ability to do it and that I organise my days so that I work, as well as relax and enjoy life.

Life is tough for most of us. There's pressure to perform, we have to be good role models for our children and many people feel busy all the time. By taking a bit of time to think about what you want out to life and then organising yourself to either learn how to do what you need to do or just getting stuck in to it, does pay off.  I don't want to live a life in which I'm working and busy all the time and I don't want to just get by, I want to thrive. I want to enjoy my hours, expand my mind, I want to be a good wife, mother, grandmother and friend.  Life's too short for anything less than that. I wonder if you feel that too.