Living a purposeful life – what does that mean to you? I have often asked myself this question, especially these past few years and even more so these past couple of months. I’m not certain I’ve found the answer to what makes a purposeful life for me, although I’ve seen glimmers during the last couple of months.
Today is the last day of my long-term house sit in San Miguel de Allende. I’m feeling mixed emotions – as I’m so excited to travel a couple of weeks with a friend I’ve missed dearly, yet sad to say goodbye to my four furry creatures I’ve affetionallity called ‘my zoo’ and whom I’ve grown to love.
When deciding what was next for me earlier this year, with the realization a Spanish visa renewal was slim, I did a ton of research. Researched visas, researched potential jobs, researched countries to live, and researched house/pet sitting opportunities. Finally, I came to the decision that my next destination would be Mexico and I’d slow travel around while providing house/pet sitting services. This would feed my wanderlust state of mind while also having the companionship of pets, an added bonus…however, all the while researching, packing up, and organizing my life – I forgot to think about one critical aspect of this devine plan. That is, how do I say goodbye to these animals I’ve grown to love? I still don’t know the answer to this question – as I have yet to leave and say goodbye, so I’ll let you know. (However, there’s sure to be a few tears, so feel free to send messages my way!)
So, back to the original purpose of this post – a purposeful life and what exactly does this even mean? I still don’t know, but I do know this. Previously, I intertwined purpose with my profession. At different times in my life, I have had wonderful opportunities to find purpose at work, as I’ve thought a lot about this since moving to Mexico…my daily life no longer revolves around wearing multiple psycho-social hats as an educator at a hospital. I no longer teach 200+ students a week abroad. I am no longer sitting in front of my laptop for hours at a time, teaching English to children in a country 7,000 miles away. Yes, I’ve been fortunate to experience such purposeful career opportunities and I am thankful because I believe this has prepared me for who I am today, although always a work in process. I have chosen to leave a few purposeful and fulfilling jobs and I am now learning how to make conscious choices to find other creative and purposeful outlets.
~ For example ~
Growing up around animals my entire childhood, I am comfortable around non-talking living creatures, and quite honestly, often prefer animals to humans. It has been many years since I actually lived with animals. I can say these past two months have been nothing but a wonderful experience.
I have gotten to know each animal and their unique personality. I get sad eyes and extra nose kisses when she knows I ‘m about to leave the house. I am gifted with paw kneads each night when we climb into bed. I have gained the trust of a timid and shy one, now my heart fills with happiness when she eagerly asks for pets and affection. I know when one needs a bit of attention or is annoyed with me (I have yet to distinguish between the two) when she opens the cupboard doors to make a satisfying bang…this continues until we make eye contact, finally satisfied with her method of attention seeking and/or to show her dissatisfaction with said human. All of these wonderful animals have such beautiful and unique personalities and provide unlimited amounts of purpose to my life.
I have forgotten how much satisfaction I get out of tending to plants. I’ve never had a large yard or garden to call my own – I’m more of a potted plants/herbs garden kinda girl.
One daily purpose has been taking care of and watching one sole tomato plant thrive. It’s silly really, but I find myself out in the garden inspecting this plant each morning, being proud of each new little tomato or blossom, talking to said plant, and giving it daily trims. (Seriously, I spend more time on the appearance of this tomato plant than myself…that is no exaggeration!)
Moving to a new place, sight unseen, is a powerful experience. One can do endless research, yet it is so different actually living in a new town. Having lots of experience exploring, adventuring, and aimlessly wandering new places, this is not out of my comfort zone.
Yet, these past couple of months, I have been working on making connections with others. Meaningful connections, sharing stories, meeting up to enjoy the company of others. This town has provided so many opportunities to meet like-minded locals, travelers, and wanderers like myself. Every encounter, every shared drink, every shared meal, and every shared conversation has been intentional. I have learned so much and am taking away valuable insights from these amazing people, and for that, I am thankful.
So, finding purpose…does it really matter? For me, living a purposeful life is rewarding. It doesn’t matter if I find it in my profession, my relationships, animals, plants, or making connections…or a combination thereof. Purpose gives me joy. Purpose gives me happiness. Purpose gives me a sense of belonging. Purpose gives me a reason to keep on going.
Tomorrow, I say goodbye to my furry friends and a welcoming house. I am certain I will cry as the taxi drives away, yet my heart will be happy. I’m setting off to find more adventures, meet new people, and see new places…and of course finding purpose. Now, it’s time to finish packing and snag a few more furry snuggles to get me through this transition.