How to Use Purpose to Make the Rest of Your Life More Meaningful
Regret for the things we did can be tempered over time; it is regret for things we did not do that is inconsolable.
—Sydney J. Harris
Earlier in this book you read about the two big human needs: connection and meaning. These don’t just apply to work; they apply to everything. I didn’t always know this, at least not consciously. For the first 29 years of my life, I was focused on achievement.
I had what I now refer to as a check the box life.
Go to college; check. Get good grades; check. Get a good job; check. Work hard to get promoted; check. Get married; check. Buy a house; check. Work harder for more promotions; check. I always assumed that if you checked all the boxes, you would eventually be happy.
I was wrong.
I did all the things in life you were supposed to do, I checked all the boxes, but I wasn’t any happier in my 20s than I had been in my teens. But then, in my late 20s, I got a hard reset, a very hard reset: When I was 29 years old and seven months pregnant with my first child, I lost my 53-year-old mother to breast cancer.
We all experience wake-up moments—that instant in time when you quit going through the motions and actually think about your life and what it all really means. Like many people who have lost a parent, I experienced a wake-up moment at my mother’s funeral.
We hadn’t had a perfect relationship. We’d had falling-outs over the years, but during her illness we were able to put ...