What’s It All About Anyway?

Is there anyone who hasn’t wondered at some point why they’re here?  Surely there is more to our existence than eating, sleeping, procreating, scratching out a living, and then dying.

Torrie at APromptReply tagged me in a challenge to write about the purpose of my life – at least, as I saw it.  She had written a thoughtful essay on how our actions and words have repercussions – big and small – and how we influence and impact others by what we do or don’t do.  I too subscribe to this view of life and wrote about it once in one of my very first blog posts.

It seems to me we are constantly bombarded by messages to ‘follow our passion’ and to ‘live our true life’ … whatever that is.  The problem is, I’ve never known.  My favourite expression up to a few years ago was to say ‘I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up’.

As I’ve searched for the meaning of my life, I’ve dabbled in a broad range of interests and activities trying to find the one that would ignite my ‘passion’ and point me to my “true purpose”.  I’ve stretched myself intellectually, musically, athletically, spiritually … but nothing has ‘stuck’.  I often felt like a cork bobbing aimlessly on turbulent waters.  I even considered that maybe I was broken.

One thing I knew for sure was that I hoped my life wasn’t going to boil down to one very large mistake which would be my ultimate legacy.

mistakesdemotivator

Then one day a few years ago I had an *AHA* moment.  We are typically focused on trying to identify “what” our purpose is and perhaps the answer was hidden in “how” we approached life.

Perhaps we should determine whether we are the optimist or the pessimist, the helper or the leader, the nurturer, the trailblazer … I think you get the point.  Perhaps it isn’t “what” we did that defined our purpose, but “how” we did it.

This moment of ‘enlightenment’ caused me to re-evaluate my life so far. I realized that perhaps I had been living my purpose all along and that I was a Seeker.

My life has been characterized by constantly looking for something new – something different – to learn, to experience, to understand.  Never content with the status quo, craving change, always curious.  Always searching.

I admit I was one of those people who used to think of a life purpose solely in terms of a career calling. Now I realize we do ourselves an injustice when we think so narrowly.

I applaud those who know clearly their life purpose and follow that path with excitement. For the rest of us, it seems the answer might be significantly more subtle.

I am Seeker.  What about you?

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in Attitude, Random Stuff and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

81 Responses to What’s It All About Anyway?

  1. Pingback: Being A Seeker | My Life Lived Full

  2. jannatwrites says:

    That is a good question. I have no idea what I am or what I’m supposed to do. I wouldn’t say I’m a seeker because I often shy away from new things. Somewhere along the way I lost me while living life. It’s hard to explain but it’s been a nagging feeling over the last six years or so and it became too much to ignore, so this year has been about changing it (quite an overwhelming thing at times).

    All that being said, I think that maybe I’m a helper. I feel the most satisfied when I’m able to do something for someone else. (Like last week, one of my son’s teachers needed something for their Homecoming float. I offered to find what she needed… we live in a small town, and she was talking about going into the city. I drive there every week anyway, but ended up ordering it online. I was happy to help.) I don’t expect my mark in this world will be beyond those who knew me, but I’m really okay with that.

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    • joannesisco says:

      Janna, it sounds like you’ve been through a huge upheaval in your life, and it takes a lot of courage to face that, pick up the pieces, and put them back together into something new.
      You might shy away from new things, but it seems like you faced it head-on anyway.

      I think the fact you recognize yourself as a Helper is 2/ 3 of the battle. Doing something with it that makes you feel fulfilled becomes the icing on the cake 🙂

      Like

  3. treerabold says:

    Thought provoking post!
    I used to think my “calling” had to be some spiritual based work. It was a volunteer activity. It never dawned on me that I could get paid for the thing I was meant to do. It took me 13 years into my career to realize I am meant to work with people with disabilities. It’s what comes natural to me….its what I am supposed to do.
    I guess I’m a caregiver….
    As for some of those other things I hope to accomplish in my life…I worry sometimes I’ll run out of time.

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    • joannesisco says:

      Yes – it sounds very much like you are a caregiver. I find our propensity to choose different paths rather interesting. Where does this inate instinct come from? I’m guessing the source varies from person to person.

      I wouldn’t worry about running out of time. In my early days of blogging, I followed a large number of blogs about bucket lists. After a while it started to feel like too many people were concerned about checking an item off a list rather than the whole point of really living life *fully* every day.
      My very wise younger son once said to me he would rather have many “small” moments – like meeting a friend for coffee – than a few “large” moments like big parties or special occasions.
      I think he captured the essence of a life lived full 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • treerabold says:

        A very wise young man!!
        I also wonder how we end up following certain paths. As a person in my early 20’s I was totally lost, no idea where life would lead….I had just moved back home from Chicago….I ran into a friend in a bar and she suggested I apply for a job at a group home. Some how (with absolutely no planning on my part) I ended up in a field I’d spend the rest of my life in??? And I believe this is exactly what I was meant to do…I just needed a push toward the path.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m definitely a Walter Mitty.
    And I love that you’ve discovered the who of who you are, Joanne. I think sometimes the wondering and wandering can leave us in a state of despair with the unanswered questions.
    Being a seeker seems to define you beautifully.
    Cheers!

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    • joannesisco says:

      Walter Mitty before his adventures? … or after? 😉

      In the end, it’s not lost on me that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Whatever we believe, becomes our reality. Thank you for the kind words. 🙂

      Like

  5. Alex Hurst says:

    I think having a family that was always on the move (unstable) made me sort of see things off-the-cuff growing up. So I never really thought about a career until this year, when I realized I want to really love my work, otherwise I’ll never be satisfied… the other stuff I’ve taken care of! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lynn says:

    I love that you are a seeker Joanne. I do think there are some people who have a clear “calling” for something they are passionate about but I think the majority of us spend our lives learning things about ourselves & evolving. With age, we gain wisdom & with wisdom we often redefine what is important to us. In all things, I hope that at the end of my life, I can look back & know that I have worked hard to be the best that I can be & in doing so, hopefully I have touched a few lives along the way.

    A wonderful, thought provoking post Joanne!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Lynn. I agree that for the majority of us, this is a tough question to contemplate. Most of us are mere minions on the stage of life 😉
      Having said that, I think our generation is probably the first one to have really embraced the concept of “no regrets” early in life.
      … but I can’t help but think there are an awful lot of people who don’t actually gain much wisdom as they go through life.

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  7. bulldog says:

    Not sure what the purpose of my life is…. to busy trying to live it as it happens. … just want to slide into my grave having had a good time

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  8. Solveig says:

    I loved this post. I guess it’s because I have been thinking about the question for as long as I can remember. I always try to find out. And I think that how we preform professionally is not really the purpose of our existence.
    Lately I have been reading Dan milman’s book on life numbers, which u declines that once we find our purpose, that’s when we’ll be in our equilibrium. Apparently I have to be careful what I am doing, as there is always someone watching me and seeing me as a role model.
    Thanks for this great post!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Generally, I think I agree with your statement that ‘someone is always watching’. We never know who we might be inspiring – or being judged by – because of our actions. It might be as simple as how we treat the cashier at the grocery store 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Solveig says:

        I think we should treat everyone the way that we want to be treated by others. Some people think that if you do a job that they won’t do then well you are a lesser person, I think that we should be grateful that there are people doing the jobs that we cannot imagine ourselves doing…

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  9. An question for the ages Joanne, and the firestorm of comments prove it. I spent my share of time trying to grab the golden ring, and in the end the best thing that I learned was to be in the moment. Easy to say, hard to do. For me the salient point in your post is: “Perhaps we should determine…” Well said and true. Good stuff Joanne. ~James

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    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks James. It is a rather uncomfortable question – largely because there is no answer most of us could know with any certainty.

      Living in the moment is REALLY hard. I know I’ve been working on it a very long time and am quite terrible at it 🙂

      I hope you are now well settled in your new home and enjoying life with a different view again 🙂

      Like

  10. I keep getting to know you better. I don’t think I could state “what’s it all about anyway?” as thoughtfully and eloquently as you have in this post. I have a vague kind of answer but I was worn out last night and I am not a morning person and need some time to think. I can put together a comment later today… I do have something to say 🙂 I actually think I could write and write words about this and let it all out but I will save you from that… 😀 Good Morning Joanne!

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    • joannesisco says:

      By the time I read this comment, it is now approaching dinner time. I hope your day was a good one 🙂
      Thank you for the kind words – it was a tough challenge and took some work on my part. Glad it came across as coherent 🙂

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    • Good Morning! Well today is much better than yesterday… all the buckets and buckets of rain from Hurricane Bill are starting to diminish so maybe we will see some sunshine.. 🙂

      I don’t think I have ever known my purpose and I still don’t know my purpose. I studied English and Psychology in college and used neither of those as a career. My husband was a pilot in the Army and the Army was his career after graduating out of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corp upon graduating from college. We were married only 4 months and the whole Army environment was a shock to our systems. I had no idea how being married to someone with a military career would put my career ambitions into a skid. It was difficult to find long term employment because we moved every 18 months. I found myself happily working in small gift shops setting up displays, working with Hallmark cards, and working with the public. What I really wanted to do all my life, ride dressage competitively. I did ride for most of my life but never got to the level I desired and health issues later forced me to quit riding. I was a good rider, but not good enough, and I am okay with that. I guess what I would say is that I am happy each morning when my feet hit the floor and everything works and there are things to look forward to each day. I enjoy reading books and blogs, clicking pictures, spending time with my husband who has been retired since 2007 from a second career, day trips, and a few weeks spent in Florida in the winter. I would have to say that at this stage in my life that is enough. I don’t think too much about what my purpose was/is. I am a float the boat you are given kind of person, but not without a bit of whining and grumbling here and there and trying to improve the ride… 🙂 I would still like to have my butt firmly planted in a saddle on the back of a horse though! I think it is very cool that you are a Seeker, Joanne. This was one tough challenge and you knocked it out of the park!

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      • joannesisco says:

        That would be very challenging to move every 18 months. As someone who has moved only a half dozen times in my entire life, I can’t begin to imagine the upheaval it would cause.

        I hope you are now making up for all those years you didn’t get to ride with all the frequency you hoped you would 🙂

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  11. NancyTex says:

    I don’t know if I know my “purpose”, and I’m finally at a place where I’m not so worried about it. Instead, I’m trying to live a real and authentic life these days.

    I honour my hunger for ‘experiences’. I look for ways to make meaningful connections with people. I try to feed my wanderlust. I look for opportunities to experience joy!

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  12. Mrs. P says:

    Great thought provoking post!!

    Okay, here goes…a subject I don’t talk about too much. From my late teens to my mid forties I was involved in one of those infamous groups (some say cults) that makes headlines from time to time. I always knew my purpose was to make the world a better place.

    I accomplished this in various ways such as teaching self help courses, educating children and their parents and bringing up awareness of social issues and reforms. The last few years of my involvement I intended on dedicating the rest of my life towards forwarding these activities…until the thing that I believed in most started devouring me by occupying all of my time and my thoughts. The free spirit I had come to know and love was disappearing and the thing that I loved, my passion had become my nemesis.

    I knew that if I were to survive spiritually, I would have to divorce myself from this group…a group I still dearly loved and wanted to be part of. The separation would be a final one for me and would include excommunication. In reality that means everything that happened for the last 30 years no longer is or was…friends, for some (family) and work experience. (Try getting a job when you can’t use any of your work experience as a reference.) I knew the obstacles but felt confident that I could overcome them and I literally walked away, hopped on a bus to a city I had never been to before and started anew. I spent six months in a homeless shelter while I worked out the logistics of my life.

    The day I left that group, I left that life and began another. So, you can have a do-over! The moment I walked away I knew that my life’s purpose was an adventure. To go off into unknown worlds and unknown places and find knew things…and to have fun! To rekindle the beautiful bright spirit of me, to reconnect with family and enjoy the simple things like vacations and gardening and cooking.

    I love my life and have no regrets of spending thirty years immersed in that group because I learned so many valuable skills and mostly, I learned who I am. In fact, it was my certainty about who I am that gave me the courage to walk away when I found I had become a slave. But, I no longer need a group to maintain my identity. And for now, my purpose is to enjoy life and the people I meet in it…learn knew things and look at every day as part of an adventure.

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    • joannesisco says:

      That is a very powerful story. We all take different paths in different directions to ultimate try and answer the same questions – who am I? and what am I meant to do?
      You’ve demonstrated a whole new layer of courage and tenacity. Wow – the ultimate Do-Over.

      Like

  13. Love this reflective post, Joanne. This is a tough one to answer. I confess I do not have an answer for me. My life has been following the flow — and happily, never questioning. With age I have become curious and want to know everything but don’t have the energy to pursue all my interests. ❤ ❤

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  14. Oh, I nearly forgot. Someone sent me these today and I thought you’d get a laugh from them like I did. (11 and 12 are my favourites.)
    http://wordables.com/motivational-posters-hate/

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  15. When this ‘challenge’ reared its head, I nearly freaked out. “Please don’t ask me, please don’t ask me.” Because I…. Well, you know why because you and I were both off chasing squirrels when the Life Purposes were being handed out.

    I think you’ve done a fantastic job of answering the question and hello Seeker. 🙂

    Two things that your post prompted for me:

    One of the songs we sing in my singing group (written by the woman who runs it) has the line “It’s not what we do, it’s the way that we do it” and “It’s not our degrees, it’s what we have learned”. Actually, the whole song is like that. The first time we sang it, I cried. And pretty much every subsequent time. Hit a very deep nerve.

    I had to sit down tonight and watch ‘The Seeker’. Not really anything to do with what you’ve written but… you know…. word association…. 😉

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  16. What a thoughtful response to Torrie’s challenge. I guess it’s obvious from your blog title. Well done for articulating it so well. I’m still puzzling over my purpose.

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  17. ChristineR says:

    “A seeker” – I love that. I also love that graphic warning that one’s life may merely serve as a warning to others!

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  18. Sammy D. says:

    Very well-expressed, Joanne. In fact you given me a new way to evaluate my own ‘why’. Seeker, wanderer, observer, participant – a little of each and not firmly rooted in any. Perhaps I’m here to balance the yin of someone else’s yang. As they move in one direction, my path moves in ballast.

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    • joannesisco says:

      LOL – there are some days I feel like ballast too … except for a totally different reason 🙂

      I like your description of being ballast to balance the universe. As we know, ballast is a CRITICAL component!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Paardje says:

    Such a tough question … I too do not know what I want to be when I grow up yet. So I’ve stopped asking 🙂

    Like

  20. bikerchick57 says:

    Wow, I might have to sleep on this one…

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    • joannesisco says:

      LOL – I’ve been sleeping on it for decades! 🙂

      Like

      • bikerchick57 says:

        Well, I’m awake now and have downed two cups of coffee. So, here goes: I’ve thought about why I’m here, what’s my purpose, and I may have an answer about the here and now. I’m here to serve – to serve the citizens of our State as a public employee; to serve at church and serve meals to those in need; to serve two cats who always believe they are starving; to serve my mother, who can’t serve herself; to serve friends with a listening ear or helping hand; to serve the lady at the grocery store who can’t reach a can on the top shelf; to serve business owners by letting go of the dollars in my hand; to serve up something interesting to read on WordPress. This is really my goal (other than stay away from sugar and lose 5 lbs). To love others, serve others, and be a good human being. I am in no way perfect at this (when SELF-serving gets in the way), but I’ll keep trying.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. lovetotrav says:

    I love this. A seeker….I admire that purpose…constantly stretching yourself in a new direction to learn or experience more around you. I see it as the opposite of static. A seeker would definitely hop on a bike, challenge themselves to a long and arduous bike ride through Thailand. Yes, you hit the nail on the head.

    Like

  22. This JUST came in my Facebook feed: Mark Twain — ‘The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.’ So. Congratulations! You’ve arrived!

    Lately, in terms of job hunting, people ask me, “what is it that you love to do?” You know, a variation of “what is your passion?” Well, I figured that I love to teach. Via story telling. Which is where this blog comes in. I love to tell stories. Sure, my stories can be crudely formed and require some severe editing but that’s beside the point. The compunction is to tell a tale.

    That’s me: story teller.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Oh my! What a fabulous response to the prompt, Joanne! I am so impressed. I just knew you would approach this with your own inimitable style and it seems I was right….except, even more right than I knew….it is all in the approach! You are a seeker and your approach to life is awesome! Well done….I VERY much enjoyed this!

    Like

  24. Purpleanais says:

    I always wanted to be a writer, as far back as I can remember. My family tell tales of me watching the news age 5 with a pen in hand taking notes (lol)
    So while I don’t *exactly* identify with what you are saying here, I think I know where you’re coming from. Even if I hadn’t had a *passion*, I think I would have been the curious type, always eager to find out new things and have new experiences. What I am saying is that I would have wanted to live life to the full.
    Gosh I hope i’m making sense, it’s late and I’m pretty tired (sorry)

    Like

  25. Heyjude says:

    Far too late for me to come up with a sensible answer to this question. I shall away to bed and think about it tomorrow 🙂

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I’m amazed you are still awake. Why???
      Get some sleep 🙂

      Like

      • Heyjude says:

        OK. I’ve slept. I’ve read the other comments and I have thought about the question. And I still don’t really have an answer. I mean what if that IS what it is all about? What if there is no other purpose? I’m guessing that plants and animals don’t dwell on it. Whereas us humans have the need to validate everything, even our existence, to label ourselves, put ourselves in boxes. I have always tried to ‘do my best’ through life. Good scholar, good wife, good mother, good daughter. I am a bit like flotsam and jetsam, I bob around life’s edges never staying in one place too long, always on the peripheral, never in the middle. I don’t get involved. Does that make me an Observer? A recorder of life? I watch. I react.

        I like Sammy’s reply “… to balance the yin of someone else’s yang” That could be me.

        A thought-provoking post Joanne. One which appears to be challenging most of your readers.

        Like

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