We all must find purpose in our lives
I don’t quite know what I am. I turn 65 next month and just registered for Medicare. Social Security looms on the horizon. I am putting it off and justify it with the notion that I haven’t quite reached my threshold (66 and 4 months) and am still working, but I also find completing the Trifecta of old age unpalatable at this point.
I am not retired, but neither am I going full bore. I have wound down some of my previous operations and have been hesitant to jump into something wide open. There are opportunities. Several friends have become Amazon DSPs (Delivery Service Partner). They run those gray “Prime” vans that have become ubiquitous in urban areas. Unfortunately, they had to leave the area to get a franchise and a seven day a week fifty-two week a year job is beyond my current desires regardless of the possible reward. There are projects I am pursuing with passion, but the total emersion that once dominated my landscape has evolved into something different.
Have I simply lost some of the zest for life? What happened to that guy, like the Energizer Bunny, who never stopped working? In entrepreneurship, “If you ain’t rowing, the boat ain’t moving!” Particularly, when times got difficult (something every small businessperson can understand), the tendency was to row harder, even when outside forces mitigated the utility of such efforts. That pace can wear you down.
I struggle with this new chapter in my life. I’m a “tweener” again: not quite fully “employed” (I enjoy my free time) but, not nearly retired (no one would want to put up with me that much). The inevitable question is “Why don’t you do more?” Of what? More work? More play? An excess of either seems unappetizing although I am not averse to some (more) of each.
I think that many people of my age may wrestle with this issue. When do I retire and what does it look like? Particularly as we see our lifespans increase, the border line seems to be fuzzy and shifting. The choice is uncertain in part because we simply do not know how long we have left, and I am not sure we would want that certainty even if it were offered. Better to tick-on in the blissful ignorance. Well, perhaps not blissful (since I have confessed my quandary), but likely in ignorance.
I have been lucky. God has blessed me and for that I am eternally grateful, if a little puzzled. Knowing who I have been, I must take it on faith that He has found me worthy of such munificence. I suppose it also causes one to pause. If He would be so generous, what obligation do I have in return? Perhaps in that answer lies the solution to my dilemma.
I understand that His grace is not earned. The truly good news is that it is not a tit-for-tat deal. We don’t bargain our way into His grace; He just offers it. What we do in return is up to our own free will. Long ago my father told me that my biggest challenge in life would be to figure out how best to use the gifts God gave me. It is sage advice yet today.
With that in mind, I must ask myself, “Is this all I have to give?” If it is, what is my purpose here on earth? Play golf and steal oxygen? No, I must believe there is something more. I do not think He is done with me quite yet.
So, back on the treadmill we go. Not as a punishment, rather with the understanding that life still has meaning. I can still make a contribution.
Perhaps we can imagine ourselves Sisyphus, forever destined to push our rock up the hill only to have it roll back to the bottom where we must heft the load and try again. If Sisyphus teaches us anything, it is that we should never give in to incidental disappointments. We should embrace our failures with the same spirit we accept our victories. No matter how much we question life’s imponderables, we must never back down until we fulfill our potential. Only God knows what that is, and He would expect as much from those to who so much is given.
So, it is with a renewed spirit that I face the day and welcome the challenges the future will bring.