As summer winds down and my kids get ready to embark on a new year in school, new classes, new adventures and new growing and learning experiences, it brings me to examining my own life and what I’d like to do to renew and rejuvenate it. And with that, I came upon the topic of purpose.
I think life can be really tough when we’ve either lost — or are looking for — or even given up on finding some meaningful purpose in our lives. I’m grateful that my (our) generation of parents understand how important it is for kids to have something outside of school to do that they’re passionate about so in essence, they feel like they have a purpose in life. (My 16 year-old character Carmella deals with finding a purpose in her life).
So what if we don’t have a life of purpose and meaning? What happens then? Is our life considered unoccupied? And how many people go through life without realizing they didn’t have a purpose at all? Or what if someone thinks they’ve found their purpose and then realizes when it’s too late that the purpose they found isn’t really a true purpose at all?
And then there’s the question of happiness? Does having a purpose guarantee happiness? Is happiness solely dependent on feeling like you have a purpose in life? Or does true happiness lie in a love of self? (Going back to the love topic which I have yet to figure out). And does love of self help give someone a positive attitude? Maybe everything boils down to one thing: attitude.
There are several books out there on all of this, and I think back to my early twenties when I discovered Norman Vincent Peale. I wasn’t all looking to find God or anything, but I liked his theory about constantly talking positively to yourself. From what I understand, his whole theory on positive thinking stemmed from a desire to change is own attitude about himself and his life. If you’re familiar with him you’ll remember his P.M.A. (Positive Mental Attitude) theory. Here’s a quote from him:
“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure.”
And on the topic of attitude, we can’t forget to look towards President Lincoln:
“Every man over 40 is responsible for his face. Who you are and how you think can be read in your face.”