Living Your Life with Purpose and Finding Out What That Is

HoneyBun in her hideaway.

HoneyBun in her hideaway. She looked so cute, I just had to take this picture.

I get daily emails from a website called Mind, Body, Green. The most recent email I received had this in the subject line “7 Signs You’re Living with Purpose.” I was so glad to read through it and see that, hey, a lot of that fits me in my life right now!

The first sign mentioned is you’re scared. Um, yeah, that would sum me up as I start thinking and planning toward my life changes of next year. When I would sit and think about taking my life on the road, I would become terrified of all the unknowns that would possibly happen to me. All the things that could go wrong. All the times I would get  lost. But as the article says, if you’re afraid, then you’re growing. And I know that as I keep questioning all of my ideas and feel that bit of fear on a daily basis, thinking of leaving all the security I have right now, I am fearful but I’m growing in that I’m becoming more self aware every day. And I see that as a gift.

The second sign is that your friend circle is changing.  I would say that is also the case for me. I’ve added a few new friends, especially in the online world. People with whom my life would otherwise most likely never have crossed. They’ve given me such great advice and friendship.

The third sign is opportunity seemingly comes out of nowhere. Wow. Earlier today, I was at work at at the gym.  One new member with whom I instantly felt comfortable as I gave her a tour of the place, stopped by to chat for a few moments and lo and behold, she’s a vet tech with the same animal hospital where I have begun taking my oldest cat, Bonkers, since this past June. Needless to say, a great conversation ensued and I let her know I had called the vet’s office last week to inquire about volunteering with them or shadowing some of their vet techs as this is a career I’m seriously looking into right now. I asked her for her email in case I had questions and she readily wrote it down. You never know who you’re going to meet, right?

The fourth sign is that the puzzle starts to make sense. Things that you’ve done or events that have happened, or people that you seem to have met or experienced, seemingly random, now make sense. This one I’m still working on.

The fifth sign is that you rely heavily on intuition.  This one, I totally agree with. At one point, I thought I would buy a motorhome for the ease of always having my home with me and my animals with me at all times. I then thought, well, how will I get around when not driving it? I came up with the idea of getting a scooter – it seemed to make total sense. 90 miles to the gallon. Much less maintenance than a car. So I went through with the motorcycle driving school and got myself a motorcycle license. I thought a scooter would be much easier to ride than a regular motorcycle. Turns out my gut was screaming “no, no, no, no, no!!” Every time I got on that thing, I felt this sense of foreboding, like it might be my last time.

One night, after practicing on very quiet side streets, I literally felt myself having trouble breathing and just about in tears. I felt the same sense of anxiety that I had felt when I first decided to leave my marriage. All the same doubts about myself.  That might sound melodramatic. Maybe it was a small panic attack. But this time, I listened to it. I know I’m going to lose money on this deal when I ultimately sell it (please God, let someone buy this pretty much new scooter in the spring!!)

The sixth sign is that you experience joyful exhaustion.  Some people think I’m crazy to be working two jobs right now since I make decent money at my full time one. In fact, they really thought I was crazy when I was also doing the freelance research on the book, as that was pretty much a third job. Yes, it was very exhausting and still is some days. I don’t always want to be spending an 8 hour day at the gym, folding mountains of laundered towels, and picking up dirty towels out of the bins. I didn’t always want to be opening the gym twice a week in September, at 5:30 a.m. But I also had this feeling that it was all going to be worth it in the end. It will be worth it when I get to work at a job that, while it will pay much less, will be much more fulfilling to me.

The seventh sign is that you feel light.  To quote the article “In your quiet moments, the times between actions, you have a lightness of being. You’re not burdened with existential anxiety. You may be preoccupied with how you’re going to achieve your dreams, but you’re not obsessively trying to figure out what they are. . . . Purpose may expand and evolve or completely change during a lifetime. As a result, these signs may make several reappearances.”  Oh wow. Does this describe me or what?? I can imagine at least a few of you out there laughing your ass off, out loud, reading this quote. I am definitely preoccupied (or healthily obsessed, one might say) with how I’m going to achieve my dreams of living a simple life with meaning and be able to make a difference in the lives of, or take care of animals.  And yes, your purpose can definitely change from time to time.

Someone is feeling pretty content in this picture.

Someone is feeling pretty content in this picture.

There are definitely times in my life when I feel light. There are times when I feel content, such as during those times that I find myself reading a good book in the quiet of my place, and I take a look around me at all of my sleeping animals, knowing they feel safe and secure enough to relax and let their guards down. And that’s when I know that each of the steps I’ve taken over the past few years to getting to where I am now, mentally and physically, are part of that ever expanding and evolving purpose.

What do you think about these signs? Do you agree with the Mind, Body, Green article?  Are there other signs that you think show you’re living your life with purpose? If so, what are they?

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8 thoughts on “Living Your Life with Purpose and Finding Out What That Is

    • Rob, that sounds like an excellent book for me to read, thank you. And yes, once I take this big shift, I really don’t want to with this hard. I see the end of the tunnel getting closer and closer. And they always say that if you do what you love, it isn’t work. That’s how I feel about working with and for animals.

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  1. Nicely done post Terri.

    I’m not too hep on Mind, Body, Green anymore . . . I read some of their stuff because I get their FB posts but a lot of it is fluff. I was more interested in your take about life ; ) All of this fits for me except joyful exhaustion. If I was single I’d be working a couple jobs (as I’ve done in my younger days). But at this stage in my life and in my second marriage I’m more focused on my relationship and sometimes that’s exhausting enough! ; ) I don’t think the scary thing ever ends . . . until death if you’re living life fully. Opportunity IS EVERYWHERE but if we’re not open to it we let it pass by. I didn’t really get this until late in my forties. My circle of friends has def changed and you’re included in that my dear : ) The puzzle started to make sense to me about the same time as opportunity is everywhere. Following your Intuition, your gut, is life saving. I often feel a lightness of being but when I think about how much there is to accomplish in the world it can easily weigh me down . . . then I take a beach walk : )

    BTW, I like Rob, read the Guardian piece written by the hospice nurse . . . I highly recommend it as well.

    • Agreed, Darris, some of what they write is fluff. I don’t always read their emails, and sometimes just one article from the whole group, but occasionally, they hit the mark with me.

      I am very glad to include you in my circle of friends as well, Darris. And i think of all of those things, the intuition piece is the part that has started making the biggest difference in my life (well, other than the friends one.) So long now, I’ve pushed it aside, and then always lived to regret it.

      Thanks for the info on the guardian piece. I read it last night after I saw Rob’s comment and I requested the book this morning from my library.

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