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December 30, 2013

Finding Purpose

December 30, 2013

I have no direction.

Let me clarify. I spend most of my time moving, but with no final destination in mind.

That sounds awfully bleak. I guess it can be, when I stop to think about the ramifications of the fact. But I rarely do. It is a stark realization, like what I do has no meaning beyond the immediate future. It is not unlike combing the desert for your next drink of water, then looking out at the landscape and realizing that there is only more thirst to follow.

My wife and I did a lot of driving over the holidays. It gave us some time to talk about things that we haven’t talked nearly enough about. Among them were what to name our soon-to-be-born daughter, where we might want to live next, and our personal bucket lists.

On my bucket list were some pretty normal things. There are a handful of places I really want to travel, like Iceland and Ireland, among others. I want to give away $1 million dollars, in one lump sum. I want to design my own house. I want to publish a book. Some of these things are completely unrelated, but all of them are within reach, with a great deal of stretching.

Anyone who has known me for very long could probably tell you that I’m pretty good at a lot of things. (I’m also really bad at even more things.) I have declared the title “jack of all trades” for my entire adulthood, and I still wear it as a badge of honor at times. I have, in my lifetime, been a draftsman, a designer, a writer, a driver, an athlete, an academic, a social worker, a corrections officer, a consultant, a business owner, a supervisor, a leader, a teacher, and the list goes on. It is my propensity to learn and adapt to new things that will allow me to achieve a lot of my bucket list items.

That all sounds nice and rosy. But this trait has left me spinning, always moving, but directionless. I often find myself with a distinct lack of focus. I fill in where I am needed, I get things done, and I move to the next problem. I thrive in the chaos of the unexplored and unknown, because I can adapt by using some skill I developed in one of my many previous careers and hobbies.

I said I have a lack of focus, which is true. But it is much more than that. I have a lack of PURPOSE. That is the real problem. I’ve tried so many things in the last 36 years, and none of them has been the ME that I want to be forever. Painting didn’t do it. Music wasn’t the right fit. Social services was a dead end. Academia was too stifling. Writing is fun, but I lack inspiration most of the time.

So, my 2014 goal is to begin the long process of finding purpose. I have to take one major step this year. I’m not sure what that step will be, but I have a number of opportunities…

I just need a little forward momentum. Maybe a little pushing now and again. I’m looking to my friends, coworkers, family members and pretty much anyone who knows me to do that pushing, else I’m just going to keep getting dizzy, spinning round, right round, like a record baby.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox.
Today’s prompt: What's one step you can take to support a goal you have for 2014?

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