Finding Purpose at Midlife
“Honey? It’s Dad. I’m at the emergency room with Mother and the doctor wants her to see an oncologist before she leaves. They think she has cancer.”
I had no clue how Dad’s words would change my life.
I was absorbed in family life as a stay-at-home mom. Volunteering at school, church, and in the neighborhood defined me. Mom’s news made me drop every bit of it except one project so I could help care for her. I’ll never regret it.
The diagnosis was cancer. She chose treatments and they sucked the life right out of her. She survived seven heart-wrenching months. The Lord took her Irish soul to dance the streets of heaven on St. Patrick’s Day shortly after we feasted on corned beef and cabbage in the next room.
What am I supposed to do now?
I felt a void and lack of purpose following Mom’s death. No longer volunteering or caring for Mom, my days were long. My oldest was soon leaving for college with the two younger ones flying the coop shortly behind him. What was I going to do with my life? I felt empty. What did I want to be when I grew up?
I’ve always looked at life as seasons: a time to work, a time to raise children, and a time to… well, what exactly? That was the question.
I recall the time my husband and I wanted to start our family. We endured four years of infertility. That was another time life was on hold. Aching to have a baby, we adopted our son and then later got pregnant while waiting for our little girl to arrive from Korea. We had three children in three years. Life has been a wonderful roller coaster ride, but the ride’s coming to a halt. I’m at the other end and find myself searching again.
Getting ready for a new season
What do you do when life throws you for a loop? It happens to all of us at some point. Women divorce, lose jobs, have kids move, lose loved ones, and life goes on. How do you find your purpose? Here are five tips that helped me through my soul searching and gave me a renewed sense of meaning.
- Focus on your gifts ~ Consider what brings you joy. What makes you tick? What are you passionate about? Is there something you can do with that passion to rejuvenate your life? Each of us are gifted in different areas. Tune in and decide how to use your gift to fulfill your life purpose. Work isn’t a hardship when you align your passions with your profession.
- Open up to others ~ Don’t be shy. Tell loved ones what you are going through. They know you best and can share your strengths and weaknesses. They can help you discover what to do with your life. Rely on them for advice and guidance.
- Research ~ Get online and do career searches. Today’s technology allows you to post a few words in a program and have a list of careers at your fingertips. Use community colleges’ occupation data bases. Sign up for a class that piques your interest. Go to the library. Check out book stores. Wander the aisles until something strikes you and read ferociously.
- Get busy ~ Be diligent until you have answers. Work at your future with enthusiasm. You are the one in charge. Make changes. Soul search. You’ll be glad you did!
I realize the pause in life after Mom’s death was serendipitous. It prepared me for the empty nest staring me in the face.
I applied the above tactics and am now blessed to server as the Executive Founder of BoomerWomenSpeak.com. I’m passionate about my forums and upcoming book series that give baby boomer women a voice. I believe every woman has a story and when we share them, lives are changed. There is no need for us to feel alone. We have more similarities than differences. We are capable of healing one another by sharing our stories. Knowing another woman has lived, survived, and thrived through a similar circumstance gives us strength.
Take a look at your life. How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back? For many of us it’s all of the above at times. There are things we dream of doing one day. There are things we wish we could forget. In the Bible, it says that Jesus came to make all things new. What would your life look like if you could start over with a clean slate?
Living with hope
If you are looking for peace, there is a way to balance your life. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.
Is this the life for you?
If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.