The Case for Purpose
Anita Sharpe on Passionate Work
I just returned from what turned out to be one of my longest -- and one of my best -- vacations in seven years. It was a relatively quick trip with my son and one of my dogs to the Gulf, where I've vacationed many times; but I decided what made this trip special was the complete lack of grown-up concerns and conversations. I was basically out of cell range and didn't take my laptop.
But within 20 seconds of walking in my door last night, I was hit with the news that my mom's younger brother had died in his sleep that morning. It was stunning -- the man I remembered as so young and vibrant, who always knew the top songs on the charts and drove such cool cars.
But even though Uncle Fred kept up with culture, he really didn't build much of a life outside of his work. And he didn't work for himself. So at age 72 -- long past the age most people at his company stayed on -- he had to retire. He never seemed to know what to do with himself after that.
The doctors believe he died of heart failure. But I have to think that endless days with no real purpose also played a part. It's hard to be on vacation for the rest of your life.