What happens when things unexpectedly change? How do you keep moving forward when faced with tremendous adversity? What happens when you can no longer do the things that brought the most meaning to your life? Whatever the cause of our adversity, we all must adapt to the unforeseen challenges we encounter. When experiencing these dramatic and unexpected changes, it often helps to hear how others adapt to existential shifts in their lives.
Didn’t know this me was in me!
When we undertake a challenge, we emerge with a new outlook on life. We see that we can accomplish more than we could have imagined and commit to more fulfilling roles. After a long career in one area, Angela returns to school to discover her abilities in a new field of study. Retirement does not always mean that we stop working. Our identity changes and we are surprised by ourselves.
Calling, aptitude, inclination, talent, ability, propensity, meaningfulness: vocation informs more of our identity beyond simply what we’re paid to do. At any moment, we may serve in many vocations, vocations that can quickly change depending on our circumstances. Life calls us to situations beyond our control: caregiving, parenthood, retirement, sickness, financial burden. Sometimes it might feel like the most we can manage is just making it to another day. But it might be in those pivotal moments, those trying times, that what we do has the greatest significance on our outlook. Even though we may lack the energy to consider our purpose, what we do and how we do it matters, always.
What if we approached our responsibilities and overcoming our day-to-day trials and tribulations as part of our calling? If we brought more meaning into actions like preparing a meal, cleaning our home, helping our family and friends – if we saw these as opportunities to serve ourselves and others, would we feel a greater sense of purpose and meaning? Perhaps these opportunities could serve to nourish ourselves with thoughtful creativity.