For many people, mid-life is a time of great reflection. By the time a person reaches their 40s, they’ve experienced the extreme swings of life; its exultant joys as well as its heart-breaking sorrow. Through our reflection on these experiences, personal priorities and values can often shift. There may be a stronger desire to live in the present moment, a renewed focus on relationships, or an emerging appreciation of self.
More than likely, our sorrows have resulted from loss. It’s also possible that some malfeasance, some violation of trust, is at the heart of our grief. And the pain we’ve suffered at the hands of others can be challenging to let go. But, during this introspective phase, if we’re willing to examine our own motives and behaviors, we realize there have been times when we’ve acted in conflict with our values, and done things we’re ashamed of. And if we are ashamed of our failures of character, isn’t it likely that those who’ve hurt us regret theirs, too?
It’s at this point we begin to see ourselves in other people, and others in ourselves. We start observing our connection to one another through what we have in common. And this sudden ‘oneness’ we feel can be overwhelming if not confusing.
While I drew a sense of peace and comfort from this lesson, I still felt perplexed by it. I’d made a critical realization…I’d “grown up” a bit emotionally and spiritually. Indeed, there must be a point to it. So…what do I do now?
I frustrated myself trying to determine how all of this mattered, my efforts often analogous to pushing square pegs into round holes. But, I was convinced there had to be something more, something that would clarify a direction for the rest of my life.
It was through struggling with this question that I came to understand; the purpose of all our lives is to live them to the fullest, to love, to know joy, and to realize our unique, individual potential.
And just like that, my life became a whole lot simpler.
- Our individual purpose is revealed through being our authentic selves and doing those things that inspire us and feed our souls.
- Any mundane task or dull moment can be elevated, depending on how we choose to treat it. Likewise, painful times can be made tolerable.
- When we choose to be present in the moment, when we allow ourselves to experience life without judging it or wishing it was different, we become more resilient, more capable of handling any difficulty that comes our way, more likely to remain calm and clear-minded in high-stress situations.
- We are all someone else’s role model.