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Questions, Questions, Questions
Purposeful Living wasn’t a concept that was on my radar until the last couple years. I’ve spent a lot of years working a job, spending money, doing “stuff”, much like everyone around me. There wasn’t much thought about what, why, or the wisdom of what I was doing. It became so easy to get caught up in work, church, school, kids, and stuck in a rut. The dreams and aspirations of youth faded as I aged and got busy with “life”. I ended up stuck on a hamster wheel going nowhere fast.
My time in the military kept me away from family for months at a time, and didn’t lend itself to putting down roots. After the Army I worked jobs in Engineering and Maintenance at manufacturing facilities that run 24/7. Those jobs have always required a lot of long hours and travel. I became so busy making a living for my family that I ended up not making a life for us. We all suffered for that.
Inevitably, I began to take stock of where I was in life. I realized that there wasn’t much peace or joy. That led to asking myself some tough questions and deciding to get off the treadmill.
Deciding to Make a Move
In 2014 I had an opportunity to take a job in the area my family is from. My living Aunts, Uncles, most of my cousins, and my Dad live in the area. After over 20 years of looking, I finally found a job in the area and made the move to Missouri from Texas. Problem, is, our kids and all but 1 grandkid are still in Texas. Regardless, we made the move to the area where we have always wanted to retire.
For most of the past 39 years we have either lived in military housing or rented a house, never really sure how long we were going to stay put. One of our goals in moving here was to buy a piece of land and finally build the house we wanted. That required sitting down and deciding just what we wanted in a piece of land and what kind of house we wanted to build.
Those discussions and some life events got me thinking about more than just building a house. I really got to thinking about not just what we wanted to build, but why. Was it to impress somebody? To emulate somebody? Or was it finally the opportunity to realize some dreams we had long ago discussed but let fade?
Several life events caused me to rethink my priorities. Call it mid-life crisis if you will. In my late 50’s money and possessions began to lose their allure. Relationships neglected through the years of making a living instead of a life grew in importance. Having a positive impact on the world I’m living in and the people I’m blessed to have in my life increase in importance. There are fewer years ahead than behind, and there is an urgency in making that time count. And its about moving forward instead of becoming bogged down in regret for what you squandered.
Fortunately my wife was having some of the same thoughts. Our discussions turned toward what kind of life we want to build. This is an opportunity to build the homestead we want the way we want. Many people won’t understand because it isn’t what they would want. Purposeful living is also deciding what we want without comparing or judging. There is a lot of peace in that.
Moving Toward Purposeful Living
Purposeful Living means to me deciding that there is more to life than earning a paycheck and making sure your family has “stuff”. We are placed on earth to be a positive influence in the life of others. People are important not just for what they can do for you, but because they were placed here on earth just like you were.
Purposeful Living brings an end to thoughtless consumerism. We make purchases and decisions on what to keep or toss within the context of what we have decided is important to us. We must balance our desire to build our homestead with the time that we need to spend with friends, family, church – and yes, work – in order to maintain relationships with people.
Purposeful Living is more to me than “stuff” and “doing”. It is being, it is living, it is impactful, it is harmonious with nature, my Creator, it is finding peace and balance. May you find your purpose and pursue it.