Life's Purpose

 

(Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay)

 

In the Guardian today, columnist Zoe Williams posed the question: Where do we find life's purpose?

I read the article, hoping to find the answer. Instead, she concluded that the people to ask are those of us who are retired! Fonts of all knowledge and masters of the universe, have we actually discovered the meaning of life?

Of course, retirement presents the opportunity to search, to experiment and to wonder. But obviously if I had the answer, I wouldn't have read the article in the hope of learning something

I think the gist of what she was writing is that when we discover that work itself does not meet our quest for fulfilment, what will? That of course is the scary thing about retirement; defined by work, how will we fill our time, will it be enough to satisfy us?

Some people don't adapt. There's a large hole where work used to be and they return. Others find it a time of contentment but is that the purpose of life, contentment as opposed to self-realisation?

Retirement offers so much more than just gratification and self indulgence. It's an opportunity, if you seek it, to rediscover what human life is about. To live in harmony with the world around us; partaking in and engendering community spirit; appreciating nature; cultivating our innate creativity as well as providing an outlet for curiosity and the intuitive need to learn. To love and to nurture; understanding wellness and looking after our health, our bodies and our minds. 

Retirement has it all, it's just a shame if we are so busy, or perhaps naive in the period that stretches before, that we only begin to discover a deeper enjoyment of or purpose to life as we wrinkle and age.

 

Comments

Marksgran said…
I tend to think our purpose in life changes as we do. To begin with our purpose is to get through education to find our desired career (maybe), then if we have children our purpose is to nurture them to create rounded people to move on to creating their own life and purpose, then it seems increasingly our purpose might be to take care of the people who cared for us, our parents, and when all is said and done it's hopefully time for us to enjoy some of the things we love to do with hopefully enough money to do it!!
Caree Risover said…
Do you think we realised and appreciated that at the time or is every period of life accompanied by frustration as we strive to round the next corner? Is it only in retirement we find the joy of living continuously in the moment? I read the article because I was looking for an answer that wasn’t there but like your insight and response to it.
Treaders said…
If you ever figure out th answer do let me know!
I have noticed since retirement, I don't have a goal I'm striving for. Going through life, there were always constant goals such as excelling at work to get good yearly reviews and to get promoted. There were goals of getting my two kids raised, through high school and through college. One of my other big life goals was to fund the 401K to eventually retire. Early adulthood also brought goals of having a nice home and several corporate moves to follow that promotion track. Retirement has brought a peace and contentment that I thoroughly enjoy. I don't miss the constant striving for those past goals. They were important at the time, but brought me to the point I am at today.
Caree Risover said…
Don’t worry Treaders the elusive answer will merit a blog entry or two, meanwhile I identify totally RetirementCoffeeShop
Life does seem to involve a constant progression through one set of challenges, people and contexts after another. By the time we figure out the answers the questions change !
Retirement is different in that we are now responsible for defining our own structures and goals for ourselves versus responding to those that are externally imposed by parents, teachers, bosses, children etc. It is a time of greater freedom and creativity - and sometimes greater anxiety. Even so, the niggling question remaining behind our self created meaning is; what is the greater meaning to it all and how does one come into harmony with that transcendent and eternal context ?
Caree Risover said…
So maybe one can even argue that the challenges faced over a lifetime help build a resilience which can help us live more contentedly in retirement, but as for the bigger question… is that just too deep or is there simply no answer beyond “I am.”?

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