A Sense of Purpose

Sandra O'Hagan
3 min readFeb 4, 2021

“If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.”

At sixteen I wanted to be part of the world of work. Getting a good job, that I liked, and having money to enjoy life. So, I lived and loved. Moving for jobs and/or for love along the way. Opportunities that felt right and relationships that went bad. Work also gave me the chance to travel overseas. Even through tough times, work always gave me a sense of purpose and for a brief period of time it was my sanctuary.

In my thirties, motherhood changed me. Until that first missed period I never really gave it much thought. I loved being pregnant and becoming a Mum, turned out to be something I was good at. My children were my world and watching them grow was a joy. And financial security allowed me to devote all my time to the job. Working as a ‘home engineer’ was all I ever wanted. Being ‘Mum’, will forever be my greatest achievement.

Marriages fail and teenagers brood: until they start looking for their own sense of purpose. So, I needed to find my new place in the world. Needing an income meant getting on with it, building a CV was a necessity. It seemed so easy at sixteen but now I was a fifty-year old singleton. I did find work, experience and opportunity produced a career path and money in the bank. But it was a slog, a means to an end, a process that gradually made my life mundane. Looking for distractions on days off and happiness in foreign destinations. Physical tiredness an excuse for today and, of course, “I’m back in work tomorrow…” is never far away. I’ve spent the last decade pushing myself and my world had become mostly work. A humdrum life that wasn’t working for me, that would never be enough.

Last year, after battling my primal instinct to find work, I eventually realised that I needed to stop. I’ve always loved writing and it makes me happy. If I’m worried or scared, writing it down soothes me and it’s great for venting too. During furlough I’ve journaled and I know it’s kept me sane. I rediscovered articles I’d written years ago, some good, others needed a good edit. I set up a blog, uploaded writing on-line and gradually my confidence was on the up.

Then on my 63rd birthday I wrote this.

Today I feel a change!

First thought is still ‘shit I have no income’ but I don’t wallow. My mind then goes, quite naturally to what can I write about today. That feels so much better.
Its early days in lots of ways but having a sense of purpose is such a big first step in this process. I’m healing and I’m starting to feel good, maybe better than in a very long while. Staying inside when you’ve just found your purpose, that in itself seems to be a golden opportunity. I must get learning, keep writing, keep going forward.

Let’s see where this takes me…

When I googled ‘sense of purpose’ I found a list and being an avid list maker, it made my day!

Signs you’ve found your purpose:

> You physically feel it.

> Your past clicks into place.

> You feel inspired.

> You have stopped wondering what your purpose is.

> You just know.

> You feel connected & in tune.

> Money isn’t everything.

> Opportunities happen.

Reading this list, and nodding YES on every point, was such a life affirming moment for me. It might have taken an ongoing pandemic and redundancy to get here but, I’m going to embrace it and relish my brighter future!