From the earliest known ancestors, mankind has wondered why they were on Earth, and if there was a purpose for life. My sympathy goes to these forebears. I, too, have tried to understand how best to manage my life: It seemed always to be changing course. Was I missing cues? Despite a full and satisfactory life the thought would sometimes arise, “Is there a purpose I have not yet understood or satisfied?”
I have lived a long life, and one of the lessons learned, one of the insights gained over that life may be of use to others: I don’t ask questions about the purpose of life, or why I’m here, anymore. I think I know.
One of my metaphors for life is that of a pot boiling on the stove. Occasionally I stir the contents. It’s my life, I’m responsible for what is simmering there. Sometimes I add to the contents, sometimes I pick out and discard items, as life and my needs alter.
As the end approaches, I make fewer and fewer changes. The broth is clear, I can see right to the bottom. The simmering of the pot of life has boiled away all but a small amount of what once was there. What remains are little nuggets of clarity—little gems, if you will, that life has saved for my comfort and support in my latter years. Coming vignettes will present more of the gems I treasure; this offers the first one.
“Listen – Understand – Act”
It sounds simple, but is easier said than done. Yet when I do manage to implement this motto, I am more use to those around me, and closer to fulfilling my life purpose.
Especially at my age, often the only actions required of me are to listen and to understand! Sometimes, though, I can do more. Life is good, and my purpose includes appreciating it, savouring it, and giving something to every day that is waiting for me, in the pile of days at the end of my road.