Alive with the Meaning of Purpose

Alive with the Meaning of Purpose

For some of us, a cancer diagnosis completely derails our lives. Cancer brings confusion — not just the chemo-brain kind — to our priorities. We thought we knew where we were headed. We had a sense of how we fit into our family, our work, our community, our world.

When cancer enters our lives, it’s shocking. Though so common, affecting half of men and a third of women in a 21st-century lifetime, cancer is abstract. Until it isn’t.

After we become internet experts on our cancer specifics or determine we mustn’t know everything to save our sanity, and once we sort out who looks after the kids, the house, the bills, etc., etc., of everyday life, there it is. The pause.

Wait for It

Maybe you picked up the still-empty water glass for another sip. Perhaps you read the same sentence in a book for the 14th time. Your mind won’t let you go through the motions of the mundane. Whether you recognize it consciously, you want meaning.

Ever since my diagnosis, I’ve wanted to make my life make sense. Whenever I get impatient, I say to myself, “Wait for it.” Sometimes I can’t just sit on my hands, so I search the internet for revelation.

While Googling, I stumbled on Emily Esfahani Smith’s TED talk, “There’s More to Life Than Being Happy.” In her talk, Smith defines the four pillars of a meaningful life:

1) belonging

2) purpose

3) transcendence

4) storytelling

Mari Beth Price