Valerie Testa Almquist is an: author, educator, comedian, mother, wife, and daughter. Performing stand-up when she turned 50, and publishing her first book, LOOK BACK MOVE FORWARD, at 57; learn about her recently published book by visiting www.facebook.com/ValerieTestaAlmquist4GoodRead/.
Look Back Move Forward is sold on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. You can read her previous inspirational and entertaining blog “Strong Roots and White Go-Go Boots: An Awesome Combination” on the Growing Bolder blog.
If someone asks what you need to survive, how would you respond? There are basic physical needs consisting of air, water, food, and shelter. Some individuals need medication to prolong their life, or ease chronic pain. We all have emotional needs and a desire to feel accepted and loved. Would anyone’s list include needing a purpose-a reason to exist at all?
I ponder this question because soon my nest will be empty.
For most of my life, caring for my sons was my purpose in life. When they were in school full-time, I worked outside the home, but the job was not my purpose. My reports and training manuals were impeccable; employment reviews stellar, but none of it fulfilling. Walking my sons in the stroller showing them the sky, then repeating the word over and over so they’d learn, was much more rewarding than a pat on the back from my boss. The workday couldn’t end fast enough; looking forward to picking up my sons and their friends for a play date at my house. Once home, I’d change into my after work clothes and bake brownies or mac and cheese from scratch.
My heart was happiest in these moments, and that’s how I knew my purpose.
What happens now? It’s ironic because our job as parents is to care for our children; teach them the importance of caring for others; ingrain confidence; and help develop responsible, independent human beings. We do all this so one-day these self-reliant individuals leave our home, but never our hearts.
As life would have it, sometimes a purpose is divine inspiration, which is the case with me. After my father passed away, my purpose was to write a book, and to continue writing from my heart. The only honest writing flows from the heart to the brain to the keyboard. I believe a purpose is something driving one’s actions; it’s a need motivating one to pursue a specific path. For certain, one’s purpose is positive and contributes to the betterment of oneself and others.
Nearing 58-years-old, more than one purpose exists in my life adding depth to life experiences. In our golden years, we are needed in a different capacity as we: exchange ideas and advice with our adult children; care for elderly parents; babysit grandchildren; volunteer our time; pursue life-long dreams; and remain open to new experiences. Acknowledging the many reasons you exist during each stage of life, and your contributions to others are vital to a healthy existence.
“I think it’s just as important to have someone to care about, as it is to be cared about by someone.” (Look Back Move Forward, p.151)