My now four-day quest for meaning is getting more purposeful. As paid work recedes I am beginning to conclude I need to find myself something structured to do.
They seemed all the rage years ago but there are fewer around these days, maybe we all got bored with them or realised they are too obvious or don’t really work!
I found this test, which helps you find your true passion and while you’re doing it subscribe to Psychologies magazine, useful. For each of the 10 questions I found choosing the options challenging, I was either all of them or none of them but they made me think. Here’s one of the questions:
When looking back on your life, what will you hope to see?
- Lasting and meaningful relationships with friends, colleagues and family
- That you fully explored and developed your creative talents
- That you went the extra mile to make a difference for others
- That you never stopped learning and growing as a person
Which of those wouldn’t you want? I plumped for 1. with the word ‘meaningful’ being key. Part way through I realised I was in danger of falling into the ‘creative’ category so mixed up my answers a bit and this is the summary of what all my answers meant.
You have an innate drive to celebrate the beauty in life, and to find authentic ways to explore ideas or express feelings through images, movement, performance, or the written word. You may never have labelled it as such, but your motivation to spend time on creative projects is a form of ambition. It’s important to find a way of nurturing this, which may mean joining a course or group outside of work. You can also be ‘creative’ in business, by coming up with new approaches to tackling problems. If you feel there is no creativity in your job, your goal may be to move your career in a direction that’s more in line with your values. But, in the meantime, you’ll feel happier if you bring even a tiny bit of creativity to work, whether it’s starting an office choir, changing your screensaver to a photo of something you’ve created, or nurturing a beautiful plant at your desk.
The first bit has some truth in it, the second is focused around work so not so releavnt and am not sure what changing my screensaver would achieve! It has though made me think more about what I’m passionate about and I’ve signed up for a 30 day life purpose challenge which judging by the picture on the link is more focused on the Bridget – than the Brian Jones’s of this world – but I’ll give it a go.
Hopefully I won’t get bombarded by too many emails and asked to pay for something at the end of it all, though I bet I will!
On a more practical level I’ve found myself looking at volunteering opportunities with local charities. Some of the opportunities available are too traumatising for me such as working with refugees or people who have experienced sexual abuse. Others are with charities whose objectives don’t align with my passions or politics.
There was though one opportunity that appealed, becoming a trustee at a special school. I’ve had a few schools as clients over the years and really enjoyed working with them. Supporting an organisation looking after kids with special needs would also appeal, I think learning disabilities is a relatively overlooked part of the charity world and needs more support. Also being a trustee could make use of my experience of running a business.
I’m also exploring the possibility of getting myself on the approved list to become a county councillor. There are elements that appeal, the political side, doing something that has a structure and helping the people I represent. On the other hand being on the public eye, canvassing for votes and the fact that people would hate you because of your political views doesn’t.
I am even tempted to have a trawl on an online jobs site or perhaps check out potential freelance opportunities through peopleperhour
First though I need to be a clearer about my passion and purpose and I don’t want any of this to get in the way of my other retirement goals, particularly travel.
My journey continues…