What's it all about? The question becomes more urgent the older I get. Nor is it just mine. Do any of us know why we are here? Or what it has all been about? So many threads, such tangled knots. Oh, for a coherent story. To be able to say what has been my purpose or yours, because just sometimes a friend lets me see behind the curtain – their confusion.
I know many bumble along, a hurdle at a time. Some have mid-life crises – what about end of life crises? When we know this is it, this is what we have achieved – and there won't be any more opportunities. What does Hillary feel now she's hit the wall?
What we need is a reverse mission statement. Not what I am going to do or make, but an executive summary of my life that makes sense, not only of what I have achieved, but who I am. Being primarily a mother, I don't have a career path, more a series of boulders I have climbed: first publication, first major speech, with fallow patches in between, filled with kids' activities and elderly parents. Imagine it's the same for most women. However we try to steer a steady course, we are also treading water with kid's activities or avoiding a whirlpool of domestic detritus.
Then, the kids move away, in our case overseas, our parents die and we are retired. My father, a neurologist, said to me that his career meant nothing to him in retirement. He hardly ever thought of it, nor did his friends: they all looked forward – to the grandchildren.
So we finally meet ourselves – who are we? And that's the answer, the core person who loved and cared, put our hearts and guts into each stage.