Thursday, May 22, 2014

Graduating and Finding Purpose

I have two children graduating right now; one from college and the other from high school. If you are like me, it is hard not to reflect about life.  Where did the time go?  How did they grow up so quickly?  What will they do with their lives?  And that thought also makes me take an introspective look at my own life, places I have been, things I have done and wonder - what is next?  What is next for them?  What is next for me? What is behind the next door that we each will go through?  As adults, we all know that there is always another door.
But for those that are younger, this may be their first time on their own or they may be venturing off to their first "real" job.  If I remember back to that time, it was both exciting and scary.  I pined for the days of fun and freedom and lack of worry.  I wasn't ready to grow up and "find my way."  I hadn't found my passion in life or heard that voice inside leading me to my purpose in life.
So I did what most of us are taught to do.  I found a good job with a good company, worked hard and brought home a nice paycheck.  But that is not the advice I want to give my children (although I love the concept).  Society pressures us to fulfill what other people expect of us instead of fulfilling our hearts desires or finding our own true potential. What college did you get into? What company are you working for? How much are you making? What do you drive?  It's about things and standards and expectations to be better than the Joneses and not about what truly makes us happy. We are looking for prestige and approval and not finding our true purpose or calling in life. We end up doing what we are expected to do and not what we really want to do.  And that...leads to an unfulfilled life. That feeling that something is missing or not quite right.  Maybe it is a feeling of unrest or boredom.
We are so busy today with our phones, internet, snapchats....that our life has become about instant everything. "Insta-life!" Our children (and adults today), have a hard time being still. If you can't be still and I mean, actually make time to just sit quietly, then you aren't making time to listen to that little voice inside your head, or hear the soft whisper of a higher calling in life.  You can't tune into the instinct that we are each born with (I'm calling it your life's purpose) and you may miss out on the most wonderful syncopated journey in life....the one you are meant to live!
I think most of us play it safe and do what we are suppose to do.  We follow the steps laid out before us and follow the road that leads to a job or career, rather than having our own rendezvous with destiny.  (That sounds so profound doesn't it? :)  Finding the thing you were created to do in your life, isn't always easy.  Many of us don't have the time to dedicate our early lives to a soul searching spiritual journey.  Most of us cruise along, take the good job (or bad job) and never find what we were truly meant to do.  We get locked into bills, and mortgages and paying for our things and never find what makes our souls sing.
So my advice to those graduating and those of us who graduated a long time ago....is to find time to listen to your heart. Open those doors, multiple ones and take time to listen.  Listen to that higher power or that little voice and follow the instinct we are all born with to find our passions in life.  If you have to work to pay the realities of the world, that's ok, but keep walking through those doors of interest.  Take some chances and say "yes" to that "thing" out there that is calling your name or tugging at your soul. We are born with instincts....but we don't always follow them.  Our purpose in life doesn't always jump out and yell to us that "this is it!" We have to make time to listen, follow our instincts and take steps to find what we are called to do.

When my first graduated from high school, I left her with the words to "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack. I still read these words and wholeheartedly wish them for each of my children as they take off into the world.  And to my friends like me....this is also for you.  It's never too late.

"I Hope You Dance"

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances but they're worth takin',
Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth makin',
Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin' out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone.)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

Dance....I hope you dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance..
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone)



Thanks for reading.

Paula