Michele Armani and Sally Meisenheimer
Dear style & substance:
Do you ever really look in the mirror and wonder who you are, how you got to this point in life, and where you are going? It sounds crazy, but lately I have been questioning everything in my life. I do have a pretty good job and a fairly sound relationship, but seem to ponder this question a lot. I am wondering if others think about this too.
We think that what you are getting at is the question, “what drives my life?”, “what is my purpose?” or as one husband would say, “where am I going with this?” We also think that delving into these questions can energize, simplify, focus and give new meaning to your life. So it is worth exploring!
Anybody with an ounce of awareness thinks these thoughts. Wondering about our place in the world drives everything we do and shapes who we are, who we love, and even the work we do. Thoughtful people are constantly changing and adapting to the world as we read, learn, and expand our horizons. Questioning is a sign of a keen intellect – this positive stress (eustress) can help motivate you to reflect on your life and can also give you the edge you need to make changes to guide your life in a new direction.
Transitions can often cause these existential questions to consume our waking and sleeping hours. A transition can be hitting a milestone birthday, a child growing up and/or leaving home, a career or relationship change, births, deaths and our body’s natural responses to aging. Instead of thinking that “something is wrong”, use this time as an opportunity to reflect on your life, to begin to respond to a more positive question, “where am I headed with my life and how does it reflect what I believe in?”. Questioning is not the same as discounting your life up to that specific point in time; rather it is a time to embrace change and take some “calculated risks.” Pondering life’s big questions can be immobilizing if you allow yourself to dwell in the negative – be realistic in your assessment of your self – your strengths and areas you would like to improve. Real growth and maturity only come from a frank and honest reflection on your life and a commitment to live with purpose. Purpose does not have to be a big idea, living a life of purpose can mean something as simple as being honest in all things, caring for animals, or practicing a faith or religion.