#2 in a Series on Purpose
Purpose: the essential ingredient for a meaningful life. For years, it’s seemed out of reach.
In a sales career spanning a quarter-century, my purpose was straightforward yet unfulfilling: make your numbers, get your bonus. My wallet was full but I struggled with an empty soul.
Life changed radically when I left that job to become my mother’s full-time caregiver five years ago. I spent much of that time wallowing in martyrdom and resentment, my purpose unfathomable.
But purpose, like life, evolves with clarity. And as I’ve learned in sobriety, helping others is a reward in itself. So I launch a support group for daughters caring for aging parents. Channel a long-time passion for writing into a flash blog and caregiving articles. Transform my love of animals into enrichment programs at a local shelter and a petsitting business. And continue to support my husband as he deals with the sudden loss of his only child.
Age grants us wrinkles and wisdom and this I now know: purpose is found when you least seek it.
“I’m looking into a trans-Siberian adventure next spring,” he announces. Having travelled the US on a Greyhound bus and across Canada on a train recently, my 86-year-old father’s ready to go global.
Russia? Alone? Dad is impulsive and lives to defy, leaving doctors and daughter scratching their heads.
No stranger to spontaneity, I’ve lived a life of rash decisions. Things changed in sobriety. I’m suddenly the responsible parent to a mother with Alzheimer’s and a rebellious teenage father.
To quell his wanderlust, I suggest a European river cruise. Three glossy brochures later, he was sold. But none of his friends was up for the trip.
Cruises aren’t my thing. Cramped in a tiny cabin? A boatload of seniors? Cringe-worthy.
Pushing aside preconceptions, I’ll accompany him on this trip of a lifetime. Because in the end, no one should be alone.
It’s inevitable, living in the Valley of the Sun and working out. Even with pre-dawn runs, shorter morning swims, 50SPF and twice annual skin checks, it happens.
It’s easier when it’s an injury. As a marathoner, I’m used to them. Injuries force you to rest, reminders that you literally cannot take a pain-free step.
My recent surgery—removal of a squamous cell on my shin—is different. I’m not allowed to exercise. Even when nothing hurts. “Nothing to elevate your heart rate,” my dermatologist cautions. “The stitches must heal.”
Now the enemy is not just the sun, but exercise.
Two weeks of no workouts feels like forever. I’m restless as a caged animal. Exercise reenergizes me, inspires creativity. Self-pity tunnels me deeper into my head. So I’m forcing rest and gratitude. Things could be worse. And two weeks isn’t forever.