Sunday, January 11, 2015

Why are we here?

Why are we here?

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.
Forrest Gump: What's my destiny, Mama?
Mrs. Gump: You're gonna have to figure that out for yourself.

Towards the end of the movie Forest gives us his understanding of the question, at least at that point in his life.
As for me?
I guess I'm still with Forest, not entirely sure.  Maybe that's OK.
Let's listen.

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