Being happy is my purpose in life

It’s nearly 9:30 p.m. and I’m looking out my front window at the still and quiet of the evening and the closing off of daylight as the orange sun slides beneath the horizon.
Once again, and this time through very sad events in the lives of others, I am reminded that Joan Didion continues to be right. “Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant.”
I also am reminded, through these very sad events in the lives of others, that I easily can be sideswiped by my own past shadows that (to paraphrase Mark Nepo) apparently still wait in behind and are quite willing to be background to my joy.
I guess it means I’m still ever edging outwards in healing from my own storm damage, when life as I knew it ended and a different one began.
Of late, I’ve been wandering into territory that fellow freelancer Wendi Stewart wrote about a few weeks in her column, “Wendi with an ‘eye.’”
She said, “That’s what writers do; we write about that which puzzles us in the hopes some understanding will surface and we can get our minds around the subject that is poking at us from the inside.”
I am puzzled by many things; some worth piecing together and some not so much. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I think about, strange as that may sound.
I’d like to think I’d make a good life coach; someone who, through her experiences in leading an imperfectly perfect life, could help another human being to grow into their own light. A “perspective changer.”
Time will tell.
I had a question recently posed to me: “What’s the purpose of your life, Beth?” And much to my surprise, I couldn’t answer it promptly and that bugged me—a lot.
For the rest of that day, I felt stymied in some internal way, as if the fact that I couldn’t answer the question meant I didn’t know what I wanted or what I was supposed to be doing with my life.
I put great expectations on myself to come up something. A few days passed before it dawned on me that I had known all along what my purpose was. I had written about it many times in one way or another, and yet had lost my way somewhere from there to here.
Purpose is sacred to each of us—this I know for sure—and I respect yours, whatever it may be.
But before I shine a refresher on mine, I want to go back to the beginning of this column and the shadows that linger as the background to joy. Nepo writes, “That we insist on keeping old wounds alive is our curse.”
He’s right. It’s what we focus on that manifests itself.
“When I focus on the rake of experience and how its fingers dug into me, and the many feet that have walked over me, there is no end to the life of my pain. But when I focus on the soil of heart and how it has been turned over, there is no end to the mix of feelings that defy my want to name them.
“Tragedy stays alive by feeling what’s been done to us. Peace comes alive by living with the result.”
What is the purpose of my life? My purpose is to be happy. I deserve to be happy. We all do.
Somehow, for a little while, I forgot about that.
The happiness balance is tedious, constant work. Sometimes I do it well, sometimes I do appallingly, but I believe in my choice and I dwell in its possibilities.

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