Tuesday, March 20, 2018

On Purpose and Community

Very broadly speaking, one's ability to feel fulfilled and happy in life is tied to two things:
1. Purpose - understanding, accepting, and following that which brings purpose and meaning to one's life; constantly pursuing "projects" to keep one engaged and stimulated.
2. Community - establishing a social circle - be it big or small. We are social creatures that need the company of fellow beings, no matter how reclusive we claim to be. Often times, the community around you is essential to feed your purpose, and to feel connected to something bigger than yourself. It is a means to look beyond yourself, to receive and give both tangible and intangible things that all add up to your overall well-being and happiness. 

I believe both of these things come together in one's definition of self-worth. Sometimes, you need one more than the other. Sometimes, you need to renew, reset, recharge, or reinvent your purpose or community, and it is a painful process. Especially as one grows older, or goes through major life changes like retirement or the loss of one's spouse, it's an extended community, the company of people around you that enables you to reinvent a sense of purpose by first cultivating a renewed sense of belonging. 

I often think it is plain luck and a blessing to be surrounded by people who foster positivity and love. These two wonderful books reiterate the value of recognizing and appreciating the blessing of loving people around you. Even when all seems grim, or without meaning, the right kinds of people around you will inspire you to find meaning, joy, and color in life. 

I loved both these books for their quirky wit and satire, the charming characters, and the simple but evocative writing. Both Fikry and Ove are similar protagonists in terms of their overall temperament. Ove especially reminds me of people in my life - crusty curmudgeons with a tender soul.  

I recommend these books for a feel-good read that also encourages you to think more deeply about the people in your life.

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