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Do you know your life purpose?

Elizabeth Myers
Samaritan Counseling Center
Vail CO Colorado

“Do you know your life purpose?” I was asked this question the other day, on a chairlift, in a windy snow storm on Beaver Creek! I was skiing with my nephew, a 21-year-old about to graduate from college, a young adult who does not know who he is (his words, not mine) and what he should do with his life. I know that the answers he was seeking were really not about me, but about him. He wanted practical ideas about how to direct his energy and move purposefully into the future.

The answer I gave him probably could have been better. I told him that my life purpose is about having a strong connection with God and about knowing what I have been placed in this world to be and to do. It is about leaving this world a better place than I found it. But figuring out my life purpose has been an on-going process which only crystallized in the fourth decade of my life. Did this answer help my nephew? I don’t think so.

So back home that evening, I went on the internet and did some reading. First, when I googled “life purpose,” I stumbled into a description of all the religions in the world and how they define our purpose. I was overwhelmed. There were as many life purposes as there were religions! The more I continued to read, the clearer it became that we must all answer this question for ourselves, and that the answer changes as we age and as our faith deepens.

This is what I think I should have said to my nephew:

“Andrew, try to visualize your own funeral. What would your eulogy consist of? What do you think people would say about you? What would you want people to say about you? Are you that person today, or are you moving in the direction to become that person? How would people define your lifetime achievement? Is what they would say today what you would want them to say? If not, why not?”

How do you and I want to be remembered? As athletes? Intellectual powerhouses? People of strong faith? Good breadwinners? Do we want to be remembered for our deeds? Our ability to love? A book we have written? A country we have changed? How would you answer this question today? How would you have answered it when you were 20? How will you answer it when you are dying?

If how you are living your life today does not reflect what you believe your life purpose to be, then something needs to change. Otherwise, as you get older and when you are dying, you will be full of regrets for things undone, relationships unresolved, a faith journey not walked, love not fully expressed. So spend some time thinking about your own eulogy and better yet, share it with someone you love and trust and get some feedback. You may find that you already know why you are here and what you are meant to do and don’t even realize it. Or you may find that what you think will be said about you is very different than what you would hope for; then you have some work to do.

Elizabeth Myers is the executive director of the Samaritan Counseling Center. She can be reached at 970-926-8558 or through emyers@samaritan-vail.org. Visit the Center’s website at http://www.samaritan-vail.org for more information


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