Just being a friend often is enough

Ed BaranowskiWhat is your purpose?  In an “Everyone Loves Raymond” rerun, the parents were posed with questions from their daughter Allie.

Raymond suspects she wants to learn about where babies come from. He buys several books to be prepared. When he goes to Allie’s room, he says: “I hear you want to know about…” She responds: “Not really, why are we here? What’s our purpose?” Raymond was not prepared, but gave rationale answers.

A week later while having dinner with friends, one retiree commented: “I’ve been retired almost as long as I have worked. What have I accomplished? What’s the purpose?” I began to think about how we measure results after our active work years. In my mind, I reflected on his service to his community, teaching sailing to youth, representing organizations and being a friend.

I pulled my copy of Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life,” that has the lead question: “What on Earth am I here for?” The 40 chapters provide a spiritual journey that applies to people of all ages regardless of religion or spiritual inclination. It answers the question: “What does God want from me?”

Service to God and others is a key purpose. In the Boy Scout oath, a youth recites “to help other people at all times” (a daily good turn). In school, students are expected to perform community service. Even judges sentence people to community service hours.

Being retired is often a calling — to do something or to be someone — as a parent, grandparent, volunteer, a teacher, a coach, a neighbor and a friend. With age, comes wisdom and knowledge to share. We can invent, innovate, design and create. We get the chance to reflect, to share memories and lessons learned, to pray, to meditate and to reflect. What differences do we make in the lives of others? We get to be an example.

Purpose involves having a reason to exist, a new focus, revised goals and even a bucket list. We can share our legacy by writing about our life experiences, sending letters to the editor, writing our legislators and being a positive force for good.

Purpose includes: Being enamored of the world of God’s creation; living a joyful, full life in this world while keeping our hearts set on heaven. Your purpose is being something bigger than yourself.


Ed Baranowski is president of Topics Unlimited, a Melbourne-based education, seminar and consulting company. He can be reached at topicsed@aol.com.