what’s your reason…..what gets you out of bed in the morning?

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Ok, so it may seem like a ridiculous question and you could no doubt offer five, quick-fire reasons straight off the cuff. Work, children, snoring wife, barking dog, first use of the bathroom….but that’s not what I’m looking for. Sure, they’re reasons, but let’s look past those and dive a little deeper. Let’s duck our heads under the waves to where the water is calmer and clearer and ask ourselves the same question again.

So, what does get you out of bed in the morning?

is there really such a thing as having a purpose?

We have heard this a lot. This word purpose. Maybe not everyday but over the course of our lives enough times at least to be familiar with any of the following expressions:

  1. ‘Do you have a purpose in life?’
  2. ‘What it is your purpose in life?’
  3. ‘Discover your life’s purpose….’

etc, etc……

Personally, I don’t have a particular affinity with the word purpose, especially when used in conjunction with the word life in any way, shape or form. To me, any phrase that includes the words life and purpose together smacks of sales talk and of someone desperately trying to sell a self help book full of rubbish lines such as ‘aim for the moon and if you miss you may hit a star’ and ‘you have to dream before your dreams come true.’

men don’t really go in for all that fluff

I mean, this is all well and good, and the frightening thing is I am sure I have used the term ‘life purpose’ myself at some time or another. But the other? It’s just fluff. And men, generally, don’t react that well with fluff. It’s just not in our nature.

I mean when was the last time you tilted your head to the side and went ‘oohhhh’ when you saw a baby animal of any kind doing something cute? Come to think of it, when was the last time you even said the word cute? Or thought it? Never probably. It’s like the word kitten. Men just don’t say it. Unless of course its after the word sex which makes it an entirely different proposition altogether.

lets swap purpose for reason

Don’t get me wrong. Purpose is still a fine word. But for want of a better term it’s a mechanical word. A sensible word. Realistic.

Like the word reason. Because when you throw a question mark after the word reason it demands an answer. A practical answer. Something matter of fact. Something substantial.

So, based on this…..

what is your reason for getting out of bed in the morning?

The major premise of this blog (thus far) is to encourage in all of us a more fulfilling and engaging middle age. Each time I write a post I am encouraged to stop and ask myself two questions. The first is rather blunt and is quite simply: “Is what I am writing a load of shit?” The second is equally as blunt but just phrased a little nicer: “Do I honestly do what I write about?”

The answer to the first question is ‘yeah, maybe some of it’, because after all I’m not Hemingway or any kind of fifty-something Poet Laureate. To the second I can honestly say ‘yes’, well at least to the best of my ability anyhow.

because I know what it’s like to be bogged down

To be treading water. To be a little bit aimless. To lack a bit of drive and motivation. To need my own reason for getting my lazy, middle-aged ass out of bed, day in and day out.

And it’s f****d feeling like this but sometimes we do feel like this. We lose our way a bit. We live our lives on auto-pilot not quite knowing where we are heading. Just hoping that we are heading somewhere.

We go to work and we pay the bills. We mow the lawn and fix shit around the house on the weekend. We engage as best we can with our wives or partners. With our children. With our friends. And then before we know it another birthday has rolled around and we are still doing all of those things and nothing has really changed.

And this is because we are doing all of these things while we wait for the light bulb to go on and ‘ping’! find the reason that we are doing all of these things.

but it’s different for us now, we have responsibilities

Absolutely we do. And we also have commitments. Obligations. Duties.

But we also have a heartbeat.

Which means that we are not robots and nor should we be toiling endlessly on some sort of metronomic production line whilst scratching out a bland and neutral existence. Toil? Sure. We are of a generation who, by and large, understand the value of work. The necessity and social acceptance of ‘earning a living.’

But is simply earning a living enough of a reason to get you out of bed? So you earn a living. Maybe you are mediocre or maybe a high flyer, who knows. But that’s not the part that matters because maybe you don’t have a job. Maybe you can’t earn a living because for some of us, circumstances don’t always allow that to happen.

So what then?

What’s your reason then?

when you have a reason for doing something, suddenly you have something you can achieve

In the movie ‘The Last Samurai’, there is a line in which the Samurai leader is talking about flowers (yes, flowers) to Tom Cruise’s character, Nathan Algren. To paraphrase:

“if you spent your life searching for the perfect blossom, it would not be a wasted life…”

Naturally, it sounds much better when said in context on film than when read on a blog post, however the sentiment of it can help me bring this post to a close.

getting out of bed for a reason means you are not wasting your life

 

And the reason can be anything. It can be anything because it’s your reason and, if you’re lucky enough to be on the same page as your partner or whomever is your significant other it can then become our reason. Something you are doing. Something you want to do. Something you are planning to do. That thing or things, that reason that makes the 9-5 just a minor inconvenience rather than an unbearable chore.

It’s the thing that you can talk about. Read about. Do some on-line research about. The thing to get interested in. Save for. Learn something new for. Have those intimate discussions about life that women love so that they can say to their girlfriends: “oh yes, the reason Keith and I are downsizing is so that in two years we can camper-van around Europe for 12 months, just the two of us.”

Or whatever your thing may be.

finally….

Having a reason for getting out of bed is what makes the shit days less shit. It’s what makes the mundane not so mundane because there is something you are achieving, or at the very least, are wanting to achieve. It’s being able to say to yourself that you are living with a purpose (yes, the word purpose) rather than just existing.

Maybe it is searching for the perfect blossom.

And if not that?

What?

BJM

(and yes, I am very aware that there is a video on Fiftyism’s Facebook page of a koala and joey. You will not however find the word ‘cute’ anywhere)!!

 

4 comments

Thoughts..?

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  • Excellent post! I think I’ve almost always been aware of my deeper purpose at each stage of my life, although I have certainly felt “bogged down” more than once. My 58 year old husband is really struggling with feeling “passionless” about his life right now. I’ll ask him to read this.

    • Diana, feeling ‘passionless’ as you say, is the focus of the post. If you have a look at the comment from James he advocates just being is reason enough. This may well be, however I think one would need to maintain a passion for just being and to be content with this choice. Once the passion for life begins to diminish I believe life needs a kick-start so we don’t become bogged down and listless.

  • I like this article and empathise with the sentiment of having a good life but I get out of bed to be – not to do. I hate it when people say “What do you do?” Why do we have to do anything? I hate the idea of expectation, of confusing movement with progress. Why can’t we just be? I am James. I get up in the morning and continue on my life journey by being me. I am, amongst other things, a husband and father. I love my wife and children. I like to be with them. Therefore, it could be said that one of the “reasons” I get up in the morning is to be with them. However there are many such reasons. I get up in the morning because that is what I do as part of the normal rhythm of my life. If I ever have to identify one specific reason to get up in the morning then I will have missed the forest for the trees. My purpose is existing, existing as the James I want to be. I do many things in the course of an average day but those things don’t identify me. I am obliged to do some of the things I do – like work. I choose to do some things – like fishing or painting. I don’t need to rationalise why I should be here and I don’t need to identify a specific reason or an obligation as to why I should get up in the morning.

    • James, thanks for adding your thoughts. This is a well written and thoughtful contrasting opinion. I understand exactly when you ask “why can’t we just be?”. The routine of life is exactly that, being….existing, being a parent, a husband, a fisherman and a painter. I believe we must take great care of ‘just being’ however. If we allow ourselves to just ‘be’ do we not expose ourselves to the risk of becoming mechanical? Of living a life of habitual repetition? Living by rote so to speak? However if we allow just ‘being’ to be our reason and are comfortable and content and do not covet anything more, then perhaps this is enough?

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