Living a Meaningful Life

While my hubby and I were out for dinner recently, I couldn’t help but lose focus on our own conversation and overhear another. The other was an elderly man talking about living a meaningful life. To be honest, I was kind of distracted from the moment I first saw this gentleman walk into the restaurant. If I had to guess, the man was well into his 80’s if not in his 90’s. You know how some people just exude positive energy? Well, he was one of those people.

elderly man pondering life; deciding to live a meaningful life

I’m thinking his hearing may have been a factor because he talked much louder than the others at his table. Eventually, his part of the conversation became something I couldn’t ignore. He said,

“Yeah, a lot of people have been asking me why I’m doing this. I’ll tell you why. All my life, I’ve been living just going through the motions and now I figure I need to do something and make a difference where I can before it’s too late.”

The elderly man went on to talk about friends he had along the way that are no longer living. He talked of others who are on oxygen or not able to live as vibrant as he is able to due to health, age, or other factors. I couldn’t help but think of my mom as he talked about his friends.

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What is the elderly man doing?

I didn’t hear what he was actually doing that people ask him about, but I could tell it was something that is outside of his comfort zone. At his age, this man was finally deciding to live with purpose. He finally made a decision to be living a meaningful life! Why? Because he knows in his heart that he needs to do something before it is too late.

This elderly man lived all of these years going through the motions and finally wants to feel fulfilled. He doesn’t want to be like his many peers over the years who just went through the motions of life followed by their health diminishing. He is in a position to make a difference, so a difference he is going to make!

I am still curious as to what exactly he is doing, but really it shouldn’t matter. It is clearly something that he is passionate about. It is also something that he didn’t allow himself to do earlier in his life, whether due to a lack of confidence, feeling concerned about what others would think, or other factors playing a role.

fulfill your destiny; living

Reflecting on what the elderly man said

I started reflecting on how I have been living. Am I living on purpose or am I coasting along and playing it safe? Have I strived to make a difference along the way even if it’s outside of my comfort zone? Perhaps there’s been a little bit of both.

So often in life, playing it safe seems like the logical thing to do. Yet, here was this man who clearly, based on various parts of his conversation, had lived a decent life talking about needing to do something to make an impact on this earth while he still could. I can’t be sure, but I do wonder if the change he is making is the reason he exudes such positive and vibrant energy?!?

This elderly man has me pondering on the fact that feeling fulfilled goes way beyond just taking care of ourselves and living day to day. I know I’m definitely guilty of going through the motions at times, simply going through life in what sometimes feels like a robotic state. Yet I don’t want to find myself in my final years of life finally deciding to then live with purpose. I ask myself, “What can I do TODAY to ensure I’m living a meaningful life?”

What can I do today?

One thing that comes to mind is to stop listening to the voice in my head that tells me that I can’t achieve something I feel strongly about striving for in my heart. Pulitzer Prize winning writer, Connie Schultz, talks about what she would tell her younger self in the TedX Talk below. One of those things is,

“Do not wait to be invited to make a difference in the world.”

– Connie Schultz

She goes on to claim,

“If women waited to be invited, we still wouldn’t have the right to vote.”

– Connie Schultz

In Summary

We all have the opportunity to be living a meaningful life. We all have the opportunity to step outside of our comfort zones and do things that we truly feel good about in our hearts. I guess the real question is when, if ever, will we choose to?

I would love to know your experience with this. Are you already living your meaningful life? Or are you waiting to live that life? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂

Living a meaningful life; living on purpose life; how to live a happy life #livingwithpurpose
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  1. Sherry, this was so very insightful as always. I have not been living a very meaningful life, although i have done meaningful things i.e. given birth to my precious children. However, lately I have been feeling the pull to do something more, some thing maybe even a little selfish. I hope this man you speak of is doing something to make everyone’s jaw drop. and I hope you are too.

    1. I completely understand you when you speak of feeling a pull to do something more. I have been feeling this myself lately. Here’s a toast to both of us choosing to live a meaningful life! 🙂

  2. I loved this. It reminded me of my father, who was wonderful to be around in his later years. He spent his last 2 weeks of life in hospital and the day before he died was singing songs with the nurses. People were drawn to him, just I suspect like the man you encountered. There is dignity and deep wisdom about some elderly people. Thank you for sharing this experience.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this=, Yvonne! I love that your father shared his love of life right until the end. 🙂

  3. Great message and reminder here. So easy to get stuck in the rut of day-to-day living. There are things that must be done in order to keep food on the table, roof over our heads, etc. Why we don’t also make it a “must” to live meaningfully every day is befuddling. I’m thinking the gentleman is skydiving every weekend. 🙂

    1. So true that there is no day like today! I recently read the quote, “A year from now you may wish you had started today!” I am not sure who it is from, but I certainly think about it a lot. I know you are a busy mom as well. It is critical for us moms to support each other as, sadly, we all feel unimportant at various times in our lives.

  4. I’d have to say launching my blog gave me more purpose and makes me feel as though I’m living in my own purpose. It’s hard to do it though with kids and work and so many things in the way daily!

    1. I hear you! I love blogging even though there are so many other things to juggle in our mom lives. Congratulations on launching your blog! 🙂

  5. Hey Sherry,
    Thank you for this post! It’s so easy to get lost in the shuffle of life and forget that we are created to live out of our talents and passions.
    Such a great reminder.

    1. Thank you, Shannon! Congrats on leading a purposeful life! I know it is when I feel that I am living purposefully that I feel good and have more energy. When I am not, I don’t feel so great.

  6. Love this message. Is there a love button somewhere? You have inspired me to exit all the tabs on my window and open word and work on my story. Being a mom has been the most meaningful and hardest part of my life but I am excited to be doing something selfish that I never thought I would do because of that comfort/safe zone I was in for years. I decided to chase a dream I left in the dust after getting pregnant with my first child at sixteen. Started a blog, and am currently halfway into a novel, I would love to publish. It has been extremely difficult to juggle, house, kids, writing, and blogging and a lot of days I find myself saying why am I putting myself through this but it goes back to your message here. Now, I know I am not curing cancer or feeding the homeless but the meaning this has given my heart and soul. Maybe one day I will be on someone’s bookshelf or kindle and they will open me up after a long exhausting day and be so entertained they forget about the dishes in the sink and feed there own soul with my words.

    1. I am humbled to have inspired you in this way! Thank you so much for sharing your message and for continuing to chase your dream! 🙂

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