The F Word


Befriending Inner Demons

One of my favourite things is to think the unthinkable, speak the speakable, dream the seemingly impossible. It forces me to dig deep, face my fears and then befriend them – after all, they’re part of who am I so why wouldn’t I care for them like I do the rest of me?

And when I give my fears the time of day, listen to all they have to say and thank them… something magical happens. I am suddenly reminded that now’s as good a time as any to live my life’s purpose because no one else is going to do it for me. And that I won’t be around forever to do my life’s work.

F for Fun, Fear and Friends

Just before I created my puppy of a startup The School of Play, I met up with my friend Mark. He’d always struck me as a good listener and wise and kind. I wanted to sound him out on my latest idea.

Me: I know this sounds crazy, but I’m going to create The School of Play to promote happier adulthood through lifelong play.

Mark: (Silence)

Me: I think it’s my life’s purpose.

Mark: (Silence)

Me: So what do you think?

Mark: I think you’re right.

Mark’s calm and non-judgmental response wasn’t only refreshing but it helped me realise I was onto something huge because, as a person with endless ideas that challenge the status quo, I’m used to people telling me I’m an idealist and why my ideas won’t work in the real world.

The Keys to Happiness

Gretchen Rubin’s research on happiness reveals that the keys to happiness are:

  • Challenge
  • Novelty
  • Atmosphere of Growth

While our brains are delighted with the surprise of the new and we extend our comfort zones through continuous growth, to expand our self-definition we need challenge. Gretchen goes on to describe how the more elements we have that make up our identity, the more robust and resilient we become when one of those elements are threatened, such as losing our job.

The Meaning of Life

But what’s the point of being robust and resilient if we don’t know our life’s purpose? I’m 42 and I’m not alone in experiencing so-called midlife crisis regularly and often. Each crisis has been an opportunity to either move closer or further away from the person I wish to become. In my experience, Purpose exists to light the way less travelled.

My wish to promote happier adulthood through lifelong play is my attempt to create a better world for my little girl and her friends as well as all those children who are now grown up and have the chance to effect positive change as adults, for themselves and for future generations.

What’s your life’s purpose? And what’s the smallest step you can take to live the life you long for?

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