Life is full of questions, there's no doubt about that. Some questions have answers that are simple, sometimes the questions have answers that you must seek out...And then, there are times when your questions have no answer at all.
I am a HUGE believer in PURPOSE. Living with a purpose, speaking with a purpose, writing with purpose - and believing there is, if not meaning, an opportunity behind the challenges we face. An opportunity for growth, for education, for stronger relationships and faith, an opportunity to come out better on the other side, even if the other side is a place we aren't yet ready to face.
Finding your purpose isn't easy, and it isn't always cut and dry. It took me 34 years to figure out why I was here...for me to accept what NF was doing in my life, and the lives of my kids. Watching doctor after doctor dismiss my concerns and questions pushed me to my purpose, out of desperation, to a degree, and out of anger...out of a mother's love.
I have learned over the last 4 years, since I began "Thriving with NF", is that if you don't have a purpose, Life can be REALLY hard. REALLY REALLY hard.
My purpose is still evolving, as I find myself drawn to speak to groups beyond Neurofibromatosis - to encourage families facing all sorts of genetic crises to Thrive. To speak to doctors and nurses - both educating and encouraging as they treat NF patients and their families. And still, closer to home, continue to evolve as a mom and a wife as my family matures and faces new challenges each day. Thriving, as a way of live, becomes a bigger, more important, and more rewarding task with each sunrise.
That may sound like a lot of work, a lot of responsibility. It is, but it provides two very important things. Diversion from depression, for one. It's easy to sit and feel sorry for yourself when you lack a purpose. But when you know what you want to be doing, you can be too busy doing it to focus on the negative. Doesn't mean ignoring the bad, just not letting it be the core of your being, the center of each day, each waking thought.
Secondly, it provides a self-perpetuating reward knowing I am, in some small way, helping others with their challenges, whether it's answering questions for a mom who's found out their child has NF, or sending out a batch of books, or just reposting a funny or uplifting quote to my friends on Facebook.
If you haven't found your purpose yet, if you're hiding from life, hiding from NF, hiding, maybe, even from yourself, you deserve better. The people around you deserve better. There are people you don't even know whose life you can touch who deserve better. It doesn't mean doing what I've chosen to do, but it means doing something. It doesn't even mean doing something related to NF, or the challenges in your life. That is what MY purpose has become - but it doesn't have to be yours.
It doesn't even mean you have to be right the first time around when you choose your purpose (my first purpose was getting married and having kids - I had to do it (marriage) twice and (kids) six times before deciding it was time to change the purpose! I've kept the husband and the kids, though, and changed my focus for my relationships with them and the world as a whole. Try something, and if it doesn't work, try something else!
Your purpose could be working with kids, or getting involved in your community, or even just changing careers to something you actually enjoy. Maybe it's building a house out of recycled aluminum cans. I don't know. I just know your life will be more Thriving WITH one, than without.
What do you think your purpose in life is? What do you want it to be? Let me know below - would love to hear what you'd love to be doing with the rest of your life! :)