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On Purpose

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose” – Dolly Parton

“Do it on purpose and you’ll find out who you are.” – Seth Godin

Ten days seems a short time to accomplish much of anything, and the last ten days have whirled by in a flurry of moments great and small. But isn’t that all our days? This sampling, more than a week and less than a fortnight, offered a chance to focus on a few key activities to see what might happen.

And so I exercised a bit more, rowing and hiking and snowshoeing my way across time. And wrote a bit more, offering another 5000 odd words of tribute to the Cloud. And read a bit more, finishing two books that were impatiently tapping me on the shoulder to immerse myself in.

I’d wanted to lose a few pounds and watched five of them fall away, half of what I’d wanted but a handful less than I’d started with. I’d wanted to summit two 4000 footers but instead summited a single mountain shorter in stature than I’d envisioned but more than up to the task of changing my perspective. While there I crawled behind a waterfall and saw the otherworld there. And found myself wanting to linger behind the ice longer than I did. The whispers in that ice haven’t yet diminished in the din of work days.

Incremental improvements such as they were, it doesn’t seem appropriate to boast about such things as losing a couple of pounds and reading a couple of books. It isn’t a boast if it’s less than you wanted, is it? But if you end in a better place than you started isn’t it a success anyway? The point, I think, is to keep raising expectations of yourself. Keep doing things on purpose and you might just find out what that purpose is.

Purpose. What a heavy word. There are bookstores filled with thoughts on finding your purpose in life. We all contemplate what it’s all about, hopefully stumbling upon a few insights on our walk through life. Why do we do anything? Why shift in this direction over that one? Why is just purpose by another name. We generally have so much noise in our lives that we can’t hear the whispers of why anyway. I think mine might be locked away in that icy waterfall, or it could be in the next conversation I have. Or in the silence in between.

Pulling a random ten days out of a lifetime and seeing what you can make of it with intention, you might just find that ten wasn’t quite enough to get all the way across the finish line. But you’re closer than you were without the focus and intent. If you play them well, you might just shuffle a few interesting cards into your deck of days. And find that purpose is just the direction you’ve set yourself on. For now, or for a lifetime.

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  1. Do you ever add something to the list that you had forgotten to add initially, only to immediately cross it off, thereby congratulating yourself for the accomplishment? Is this cheating? Or a bonus achievement?

    1. I view that as a bonus, and life is full of them. But we don’t stumble on things without forward motion. One thing leads to another, as David Byrne would say

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