What are you here for now?

trusting yourself Feb 23, 2024

What do you want to be known for? And what are you here for?

These questions.

Why do they stop me in my tracks? 

Because I don’t always know the answer, and it assumes that we're here for a reason. 

These are weighty questions. They imply that we're here for a reason, and each of us has a purpose.

Some scoff at this, dismissing the idea that your purpose is nonsense. Existentialists might argue that life is inherently meaningless.

But for me, it’s important to give meaning to life.  

Sometimes, it's as simple as asking what I want from life. What makes me uniquely me? What talents and skills do I bring to the table?

Are you searching for meaning in your life?

If so, you're not alone. In a world that's crazy and troubled, it's a good question to ask yourself. Knowing your purpose and why you're here can guide and keep you grounded. It's also true that finding your true purpose can seem like an impossible task. But it's worth coming back to so that you can show up the way you were meant to be. 

Why am I here, and what do I want to be known for? These are two fundamental questions I ask myself over and over now. Maybe it's because I've always thought about these questions, and maybe it's because I'm looking at my life now and noticing if I made a difference while I was here. 

Did I come here to learn something, and if so, what was it?

Did I come here to shake things up?

Did I come to experience and learn about tragedy?

Did I come here to help others?

Our choices, the way we navigate through life, it all matters.

So why am I here?

After graduating from the University of Georgia (in the 70s when everything seemed simpler than now) and choosing a major like Home Economics (don’t even ask me what I was thinking), I drifted from one job to another, clueless about my purpose.

All I craved was to travel.  And adventure. 

So, I found a way to move around and avoid getting stuck in one place:

Waiting tables.

From college to my late twenties, I worked in restaurants, loving the tips, savoring free meals, and connecting with the customers and my coworkers. It was the perfect job for an extrovert. I sought out the most expensive hotels and restaurants where I could feel more sophisticated 😊.

I became a “table attendant” at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska. Sometimes, movie stars came to the 20th-floor restaurant with a view of Anchorage. It was fun, interactive, and never boring. 

The Crow's Nest crew 1977 Captain Cook Hotel

Then came motherhood, and suddenly, my purpose seemed clearer. Maybe my purpose was to raise two good sons who'd leave their mark on the world, I thought.

We moved to the South Pacific when the boys were 3 years old and 6 months. Expat women weren’t allowed to work on the small island, so I just concentrated on being a mom. 

Still, occasionally, I'd think, aren't I supposed to be doing something with a career? 

Motherhood, as I discovered, was an all-consuming job. I adored being Andrew and Rob's mom. It was deeply satisfying watching them grow up, and I felt immense gratitude that I could be a stay-at-home mom and not miss any developmental steps. I settled on the idea that my purpose was to raise two strong, capable people who would do good things in the world. That would be my contribution. 

Ten years ago when they each became fathers, they thanked me for being their mom, I realized, yes, indeed, I had contributed to these two humans who were excellent fathers and successful with their careers. And that was a pretty important purpose.  

My boys and me...Rob 5 and Andrew 7,1991

When my marriage broke up, I moved back to the US with a broken heart, and I became a single mom. I went back to school, got a master's degree in counseling, and began my work as a Marriage and Family therapist. I realized I was passionate about working with parents and helping them have better parenting skills. 

I was only one step ahead of them in teaching parenting. 

One day, in one of the classes, to show them I also struggled with parenting, I shared the story I had as a stressed-out single mom at my wits' end. On one particularly stressful day, I locked myself in the bathroom to escape the frustration of my two energetic boys not listening to me. I felt a rage bubbling up inside me, fueled by the pain of a broken marriage. I was so angry I felt like hurting them which was appalling to me. 

But at that moment, I knew I had a choice. I could let that rage consume me, or I could step back and regain control.

After my bathroom time out, I took some deep breaths and walked down the hall to talk to my boys to reassure them that their mom was still their mom, flaws and all.

They hugged me, forgave me, and moved on, as kids do.

Parenting solo was tough. It made me question my abilities daily. 

But it was my purpose for a long time. 

Now, in my 70s, I continue to ask...

What am I here for now? 

I'm here to keep learning.

I'm here to help my grans use their unique skills and talents to grow up in a troubled world. 

I’m here to write, inspire, and share my wisdom with others, the things I've learned during challenging, rough, and triumphant times. I’m here for all of it.

I'm here to stand up for Mother Earth in whatever way I can. I want to be a world citizen who cares about what will happen and do my part, whatever that is, in saving the planet. 

I also ask myself: What do I want to be known for? 

I want to be known as someone kind. 

I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference in people’s lives…and that spread to future generations. 

I want to be known as someone deeply compassionate and authentic. 

Someone who could remind you of your strengths and see you for who you are. 

I want to be known as someone who laughed and danced all night. 

I believe it’s about the lives we touch, the lessons we learn, and the love we spread. 

Over to you: 

What are you here for? What do you want to be known for? 

Take out your journal, write about what you're here for now, and then start on that purpose, whatever it is. 

I challenge you to list what you want to be known for and then live this way. 

Embrace your true calling, live authentically, and make a positive impact wherever you go. Start today. Start now. The world needs you to be you. 

Together, let's make each moment count.

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