I know… there’s a book with a similar title. I own it. But like most books I own, I haven’t read it. It sits on a shelf with all of the other books recommended to me by well intentioned friends and family members. And, with good intention, like all of the other books I own, I bought it. I am just not a big reader. I blame it on my self-diagnosed “Adult ADD.”

If it is possible to digress in the first paragraph of a Blog post, I just did.

After my dad died in October 2012 and then mom in June 2013, I PLUNGED into the grieving process, beginning with the anger stage. The stages come to different people in different order and in very different ways. I was profoundly sad and terribly angry. For the first time in my life, I was really selfish. I took a close look at myself and decided that I could no longer be there for other people. Friends or family or coworkers. It was time to take care of me.

In more recent months, I have, many times, found myself thinking about how different the grieving process is for different people. Wondering if it might be easier for those who have a partner or spouse. Those who have children or grandchildren. Those who own a home. All wonderful distractions from “the process.”

And then I became acutely aware of how alone I was. No parents to worry about and love. No mom to take care of when she needed me. No siblings to be there for. No partner. No children or grandchildren. No home to call my own that I could bury myself in with projects. And, because I could already feel that things were changing at work, no security in my job.

I felt as though my life had no purpose.

Fast forward several months to when I received my horrible performance evaluation at work and ultimately “separation” from that position… I moved from feeling as though I had no purpose to not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. Feeling incapable of looking for a job, because, on top of my continued state of grief, I felt stripped of my self esteem and confidence. Feeling incapable of staying in a field of work that I love, because of this negative experience that came close to breaking my heart. As if the loss of my mom and dad had not already done that.

In my idle time, I have thought a lot about my “purpose.” I have read and reread my Blog posts about subjects that I feel passionately about. I have been very thoughtful about how I respond to controversial issues on Facebook… or don’t. I have given a tremendous amount of thought to what I would like to do for work in my next chapter. And I have come to realize that I NEED a purpose, if not several.

And I have come to realize that we all need to have a purpose. All of us. Including the poor, the mentally ill, and the disenfranchised.

We all need a purpose in this life. Or what’s the point?

We all need to feel needed, or what’s the point?

We all need to feel wanted, or what’s the point?

We all need to feel loved, or what’s the point?

Three weeks ago yesterday, I received an email from an organization offering a five week series of workshops in my field… beginning the next day. A field that I wasn’t sure I could return to, because of my emotional state following the loss of my parents and the loss of my job. Because G-d is good, I had the money to do it, so I signed up for all five workshops.

After the first workshop, I left feeling empowered. Like I knew as much as the presenter, if not more. And then I felt like I may very well have known as much as my most recent ex-boss, if not more.

Workshop two, I learned a shit ton.

Workshop three, today, like workshop one. I left feeling just a little cocky.

Two weeks ago yesterdy, having a strange surge of confidence, I re-joined an online dating service. That Tuesday I met someone who has proven to be a welcome addition to my life.

And in the past several weeks, I have spent quality time with two of my brothers and one of my nephews, around, but not limited to, the Thanksgiving holiday.

Purpose?

Meaningful work.

Romance and love.

The bond of a family.

We all need to feel like we have a purpose in this life. So if you already do, maybe you could help someone who doesn’t.

And maybe it’s time for me to read that book.

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