The New Year and Searching for Purpose

timeSocrates is known for saying “The unexamined life is not worth living.” He was a great Greek philosopher who believed the value of life was realized best or only when a person searched for better understanding or purpose in their own life.  He thought that to realize the best return on investment of living life; a person should take time to examine it first.

For me, to examine a life is to question life’s priorities or to ask oneself, “What do I want from my life? What do I want from this investment?” “How should I live it?” etc.

The word invest can be defined as to commit or spend something in order to receive a future advantage or benefit.  And since every person invests time living life striving to receive some kind of future advantage or benefit, it is essential to try and understand exactly what kind of benefit we are investing for.

For example, some people may say they invest their time working to receive the return of money. However, this answer must be examined deeper. Surface skimming is not enough. Is it money they are really wanting? If they were to receive ten million dollars with the condition that none of the money would be spent, would they be satisfied? I think not. It is not specifically money they are working for.  It is how the money can be used or invested again that a person is wanting.

There are no simple answers to questions which cause a person to examine one’s life.

And for meaningful, life changing, results, the answers are a person’s own to find.   No one else can tell someone how he wants to spend a dollar, ten dollars, a thousand dollars, or ten million dollars.  And that is only one question and mere example of how examining one’s life must be deeply considered.

Another most vital question to ask, is not about money, although the following example about money, provokes thought about it.

If a stranger (nonviolently) came up to another and said, ‘Please give me one thousand dollars?’ what do you think they would say? Would they blindly give their money away? They would most likely ask, or at least wonder, ‘what do you want it for?’ before giving it.

People without realizing it, however, are blinding giving away something even more valuable than money every minute of the day.

They are giving away time without ever asking or wondering themselves, ‘What am I spending this on?’

Mencius, a Chinese philosopher from around 300 BC said,

“To follow a path all one’s life without knowing where it leads, such is the behavior of the multitude.”

It is true life can continue without ever specifically answering the question of ‘What do I spend my time towards? What are my goals? or Where am I going?’ But if a person takes time to examine one’s life, answer deep questions, then they will find a path which has a greater return on investment for their life.

Life is given for each person to examine. Discovering and deciding life’s priorities can help a person find the best return on investment for living. They may come to realize, the meaning of life is to find life’s meaning (for them).

Socrates realized this treasure thousands of years ago.  As mentioned above, the unexamined life is not worth living; it would be a path to only a dead end.

Enjoy and invest well always. Treasure the Adventure!  Happy New Year.


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16 Responses

  1. Jdiggins says:

    Good words for a new year, Jenny. Thank you!
    Happy New Year! 🙂

  2. Strawshadow says:

    Beautiful thoughts Jenny, thanks and Happy New YEAR!

  3. Buckeye Bob says:

    The key seems to me to be the performance of the purpose(s) you realize for yourself.
    It doesn’t do any good to just see a purpose, you don’t affect life and the world if you don’t pursue it.
    It doesn’t have to be a big thing. The smallest of things often have huge effects.
    It’s that falling feather in China and the wind on the other side of the world, thing.

    Leave a mark.
    Like the flowers you don’t have to see to be beautiful, your mark will be known by life and the world.

  4. Buckeye Bob says:

    “Smile at a homely girl.”

  5. Iron Will says:

    This post speaks volumes, and to be quite honest, what Jenny has said here… I have been internally deciphering for the last eight years. Many of you cannot understand my plight because, as her piece articulated, you have not lived my life. To know one has the abilities to accomplish so much, yet never see it materialize… is more than a little disheartening. This temporal octuplet, being born in the middle of my life, is searching for something. And I’m not speaking of simply finding wealth. I’m talking about what Jenny touched on… purpose. If I am to believe every power and ideal that resides within me, then this mind must understand, that only I can change my destiny. In the next forty or so years remaining, I cannot continue to make the same choices that the first half of my life settled for. I am more… than the sum of that era.
    So for tonight, the last moments of now wind down,
    As I gaze, the marvel sight of time ticking away…
    Fate’s staring contest begins with my eyes of brown,
    Wondering, will he remain a pawn on the morrow’s day?

    Happy New Year to Jenny and everyone with the courage to Chase!

    • Strawshadow says:

      Iron Will,
      Nice! You woke up and realized your a writer, with a cool pen name to. Good on ya mate as those Aussies would say.

  6. Mike Forni says:

    Cheers Iron Will! Happy New Years!

  7. GEYDELKON says:

    Another year soon ends in my chase. I hope that we all have a good 2017. Planning to celebrate the 100 years of the Chase with fireworks.

    I have said many times that I didn’t know what I was looking at in the clues. I am seeing each clue having to do with and is related to 9, even with a percentage of the clues. How cool is that.

    Have a Happy New Year everyone.

  8. Twingem says:

    What a great topic to contemplate as we ring in the New Year. Personally, I have spent more time in the last year thinking about this very topic than perhaps in all past 50 years. I am certainly more clear on what I want for my life and those I love. Today what stands between me and actualizing what I want for my life may come down to imagination. My priorities for 2017 will be love, imagination, and turning my dreams into reality. If not now, when?

    Peace to all and Happy New Year

  9. SL says:

    Thank you ~ All of you.


  10. astree says:

    Jenny, I really appreciate the way you approached this tremendously relevant topic. You didn’t try to dictate what anyone’s purpose should be, but only stated that how we spend our time (and being aware that we are constantly spending a limited commodity for each of us) is a big piece of pursuing that question. Isn’t it interesting, that many (I’m not sure all) have an itch to find a sense of purpose and meaning? Sometimes I wonder, if individual and community sense of purpose has diminished in the more recent decades.

  11. pdenver says:

    The possibilities are countless. Happy New Year!

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