Do we have a purpose in life, a reason we were born?
It is a question that has been asked is many different ways for millennium.
It's the question I posed to my dad when I was in my early 20s.
When will I know what it is that I'm supposed to do with my life? I asked my dad.
He answered that we don't, we just do the best we can each day.
Over the years I have toyed with the question, did he really feel that way (and was he right) or did he just tell me what I was ready to hear at the time?
When he answered this way, it took an enormous amount of self imposed pressure off me, because I felt I should know, and he said it was OK not to know.
Looking back, I realize that soon after this, I had children and keep busy with raising them, and this was a purpose.
In my 30s I was exposed to the world of nursing, though a layoff from work in the defense industry and a retraining program. I became a Nursing Assistant and eventually a Registered Nurse and found another purpose. Nursing is something that I never considered before, and I would not have been ready for. I needed certain life experiences to be ready, and when I was, it seems like I was guided to discover it.
Then, in my early 50s, I was introduced to the Labor Movement.
I look back and realize that I needed all my life experiences to be ready for this too.
My first associates degree in Business, my jobs in management and as a worker, my jobs in factories, lumberyards, a research egg processing plant, and as an aircraft assembler. I needed to see the possibility of being a good manager and the reality of working under so many poor ones. I needed to feel the sting of multiple layoffs. I needed to see the possibility of retraining programs and to return to school later in life and everything nursing has brought me to experience. I needed to have the challenges and rewards of raising children.
I needed to become ready for nursing.
I needed to become ready for a role in the Labor movement.
So where do I stand on my dad's answer to my question?
I change my mind all the time but I don't think I'm alone.
In the movie Forset Gump, Forest wrestles with the same question.
Lt Dan believes we all have a destiny, and feels cheated out of his.
Forest's Mama, believes that "life is like a box of chocolates, we never know what we're going to get."
Forest asks Mama the same question I asked my dad.