Your Story: Terri Spaulding

My Orgasm of Purpose
written by Terri Spaulding

For nearly 47 years I didn’t question my purpose in life. I knew exactly who I was and what was expected of me.

I went from being someone’s daughter, to being a wife; a worker bee, and then a mom. My all encompassing purpose and focus became to raise good boys. And then seemingly overnight, they were no longer boys, but men, and beginning lives of their own. My daily routine, the one in which I knew my purpose, was no longer set by what was going on in their lives and I was no longer needed. At least not in the same way, and I panicked.

The panic I will describe as the feeling that I could no longer see my future. I was entering my second half of life and I wasn’t prepared. How had I not only failed to stay in touch with “me”, but also stopped paying attention to my passions? Who was I?

So I began my journey to figure out who I was, and where I was going. I mistakenly started off by looking to find meaning in my work life, as if that would give me the purpose I felt so strongly about. It didn’t take long to discover I was no longer happy with the job I had spent the last 20 years in. Realizing this might have been my scariest moment of all, because I had no idea what to do next.

So I set out to reacquaint myself with “me”. That meant not only figuring out who I was, but who I wanted to be; uncovering any new passions, and letting go of things that no longer were important to me. And not to sound morose but, I seriously began to think about what I wanted to be remembered for.

Terri & Mike Spaulding

This obsession meant I intentionally forced myself out of my comfort zone, and into new situations. Some of them proved to be things I never knew I would like, others became just a flash in the pan. Through it all I asked myself the deep questions. Journaling helped. Being able to look back over the things I wrote down over time made it easier to be honest with myself. Reading helped. I switched to non-fiction books and started learning from others who had found their purpose. Talking with a patient and caring husband helped. As did asking for expert assistance. Sometimes others can see what you cannot, and provide you a fresh perspective.

It snuck up on me

My Purpose

One day, without warning my purpose bubbled to the surface, and I scribbled it into my journal. My purpose: to move people forward. It was no longer an elusive thing, it was real and it was perfect. I wanted to shout to the world that I had found my purpose, that my life suddenly made sense to me.

You don’t get to choose

I believe that at our core there is a constant, some might call it the way we are wired, or what makes us tick. While our outside self constantly evolves and changes, our inner core is what drives us and keeps us moving in the right direction. What’s weird is that you don’t get to pick your purpose. It isn’t like crafting a clever bio or choosing a new career, your purpose is just always in you. It is the motivation behind all that you do and —once discovered, it might not even be what you hoped it would be. It just is. And you will know when you have found yours. Your orgasm of purpose will just make sense.

Not everyone will be excited for you

In my zest to share how complete I felt after discovering my purpose, I soon realized something important. If you have to ask the question: why does it matter what my life’s purpose is, then you are not ready to uncover yours. Nor are you likely to share in the excitement that I have found mine.

But it’s okay, because when you ARE ready, you will know it. And when you finally experience your orgasm of purpose, the rest of us who have already found ours, will be celebrating right there with you!

Terri Spaulding

Terri considers herself a passionate realist. Married for over 27 years, she and her husband Mike have two biological sons, and two “almost children”, who move in and out of their lives and home. Blogging is her way of making sense of life’s craziness, and by sharing her successes and failures, she hopes to inspire others along the way. Terri believes in love, passion, family, laughter, honesty, second chances, and happy endings (and she’s not afraid to get emotional about any one of them). At the end of the day, she believes you can’t sit back and wait for life to happen, you have to make it happen. And, it has to matter.

For more of Terri’s musings, please visit her blog, When I Grow Up, and follow her on Twitter at @spauldingterri.

4 thoughts on “Your Story: Terri Spaulding

  1. Terri, there were a few things that stuck out to me when I read your post that I’d like to draw attention to:

    “While our outside self constantly evolves and changes, our inner core is what drives us and keeps us moving in the right direction.”

    I’ve never thought about it in this way, but I believe it! It seems as though various life circumstances can cause us to grow and change as they change, but there is always a constant, rooted deep within us. I find this both comforting and exhilarating. We are each wired with an inner compass that always point to our true north. This inner drive, it makes us who we are.

    The other thing that grabbed my attention was this:

    “If you have to ask the question: why does it matter what my life’s purpose is, then you are not ready to uncover yours.”

    There are some who don’t get it, some who may never get it. I’ve heard many times, “Until you have your own children, you just won’t get what it’s like to… (blah blah blah).” As frustrating as it is to hear this, I know they are right. I cannot FULLY understand what it is like to have children until I experience it for myself. I think it is the same with identifying one’s purpose. My hope is that through this post, and other posts on this blog, that it will begin to thaw the insides of those who have become numb. Heck, I’m still thawing myself! But the more I am exposed to purpose and the more I connect with others who have found theirs, the bigger this fire inside me grows.

    I’m gettin’ EXCITED! Terri, thanks for your post!

  2. Thanks for commenting, Alana. Having found a new job where I feel like I am a valued and respected member of the team; and having identified my purpose in life, makes me a much more confident and happy person. I finally stopped feeling like I needed to grow up, and now feel like I am ready to move deeper into life. Instead of being sad that in a couple months I am turning old, I instead feel in some ways, that I am just beginning. Thanks for letting me share my story with your audience.

    • oooh, Terri! I LOVE THIS! “I finally stopped feeling like I needed to grow up, and now feel like I am ready to move deeper into life.”

  3. Pingback: I Guest Posted - Terri Spaulding

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