The Purpose of My Purpose

I’m still here, damn it, purpose identified or not; so what’s the plan? How long has it been since I set out to discover a sense of meaning for this next chapter of my life? Feels like it’s been plenty of time, but nothing has materialized, no opportunity to set a course defined by a new interest or need.

Previously, I mentioned a desire to paint, wondering if creating with oils or acrylics could actually be my purpose. Seemed unlikely given a complete lack of skill or experience. Nevertheless, paints and brushes are organized atop a tablecloth on our dining room table, which has served more as a desk, since COVID, for when my husband works from home. The art supplies sit, untouched.

In preparation for designing and constructing artwork, as unlikely as production of a masterpiece by me would be, I found an app! Of course there’s an app for that. Once a picture is selected, the full palette is revealed. My role is to choose one color at a time and search for all the locations where the selected hue belongs. Falling far short of an art class, it has shown me the wide variety of colors and shades involved in even a simple composition. An apple isn’t just red; one may add brown, green, or a spot of yellow for this particular piece of fruit as well as establishing lighting. At the completion of each design, the app encourages me with “a great painter is about to be born!” and “Brilliant!” I appreciate the feedback. What can I say? Apps provide so much false positive reinforcement it’s no wonder narcissists abound. I don’t actually believe this will turn me into even a competent artist, but I am learning about the importance of using far more shades than I would have employed on my own.

Research proceeds, irrespective of actual painting occurring or really any reason to believe my new purpose could relate. Bob Ross has been teaching me about working with oils and urges me to decide where I want some happy trees, making it look so easy. I’ve seen online the end result of viewer participation in comparison to the Bob Ross creation and, based on these, it obviously isn’t so straightforward. Still, his calm demeanor is soothing, and I’m learning a lot regarding different brushes and the use of each, the variety of brush strokes, and layering colors to provide depth.

Now, I still doubt that my practice of painting, or the process of learning the art, will be foundational to the identification of a seminal purpose which will inform my decision-making and activities heretofore, providing a sense of earned contentedness.

Double checking correct usage of contentedness, I see this:

Hmmm. Writing out my desired outcome for establishing a new purpose, it boils down to procuring an “earned contentedness.” I find that very interesting. Why do I qualify it with “earned” and is this actually just the latest incarnation of a lifelong search for a sense that I am, indeed, enough? What is the formula for giving sufficiently of yourself so as to qualify as useful to completion?

And why am I still in my head, puzzling how to be enough??? How many times do I need to learn that I must get off the hamsterwheel of thinking, thinking, thinking??? If I stay there, I’ll never be enough, never be content.

I’m going to show myself some grace. I currently await results of a process over which I have no control, so it’s not a surprise I’ve been overthinking EVERYTHING.

Although I’m sure this lesson is a redo and I may have even written about it in a prior blog post, this is what occurs to me – it seems reframing my circumstances and allowing myself permission to enjoy the positives is not only acceptable, it could be the foundation of contentment. Any future ability to be of service to others…

Wait. Just a minute. I’m writing what I’m thinking, but as it appears on my screen, competing ideas are already causing me to doubt what I’m typing. Is it selfish to think I need to be content before I identify a meaningful purpose? Is service to others a characteristic of all purposes? What’s the purpose of a purpose besides creating meaning so people feel contented?

What’s your purpose? What’s the purpose of your purpose?

The hamsterwheel is spinning so fast it’s hard to get off!

to be continued, I’m sure….

Published by Sara Z

Writing is one of my passions. Most blog entries are relatively short articles regarding a wide variety of topics. I'm a middle-aged wife and mother of two adult sons. I've been a teacher, counselor, medical transcriptionist, student teacher supervisor, substitute teacher and retail clerk. Staying home now due to fibromyalgia. Seeking purpose.

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