Reflecting on Life's Purpose after Attending a Funeral
Normally, on the Altitude Endurance Coaching blog, I keep things on the lighter side. Reflecting on the joys that running introduces into the world and how we can strive to become better athletes. Today, I have the unique opportunity to reflect on something a bit more impactful. Recently, I attended a funeral service for my wife's grandmother who had been a beacon for her large family and friends. We were deeply saddened by her passing at the age of 96 and knew her sendoff had to be as special as the 96 years she spent on this earth, bringing joy to everyone she came in contact with. Funerals always make me ponder about life's meaning. During Grandma's eulogy, it was inspiring to hear about all her achievements, from her family to her nursing career and community outreach. As you can imagine, with nearly 10 decades of life under her belt, she impacted thousands of lives and the world was a better place because of her. Hearing the eulogy made me reflect on my own life and the legacy I would leave behind. What impact am I making in my community, at home, and as a coach? How will people remember me? It’s helpful to ask ourselves these types of questions from time-to-time. Through the lens of Grandma's life and legacy, I came up with some answers and I hope that by sharing them with the AEC community, I’m able to inspire some others to partake in similar reflections.
It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine and forget about the bigger picture, but attending a funeral is a stark reminder that our time on earth is limited. It's a wake-up call to live our lives with intention and purpose. I left the funeral with a renewed sense of gratitude for the people in my life and a desire to make a positive impact on those around me. I realized that life's purpose isn't just about achieving personal success or accumulating wealth; it's about leaving a lasting impact on the world and the people we love. We may not all have the opportunity to touch as many lives as Grandma did, but we can all strive to make a difference in our own unique ways. I find myself in a unique place where I’ve been able to combine my passion as an athlete with a love for community. At Altitude Endurance Coaching, I hope athletes feel a deeper impact than simply training & racing. My goal is to create a place where athletes not only achieve better results, but they find fulfillment and inspiration in the process. I hope that through their training and dedication to their passion, they’re able to inspire a network of others in their life to seek discipline, health and a goal-oriented mentality. Just as I’m inspired daily by my athletes, I will carry Grandma’s legacy with me and use her life as a source of inspiration to live each day to the fullest.
It's important to remember that reflecting on our purpose in life doesn't have to be a somber occasion like a funeral. We can take time every day to consider what we want to achieve and how we want to impact the world. As endurance athletes, we’re fortunate to have periods of time, often several hours at a clip, in solitude that can be used for reflection and thought. Setting goals and working towards them with a clear intention can give our lives a sense of direction and fulfillment. While it’s great to have tangible goals such as a race finish line or a PR, it’s important to keep some ‘macro’ goals on your horizon. These can still involve endurance too. For example, do you want to help inspire someone in your life to run their first 5k? Do you want to volunteer at a number of races this year? What’s important is the common theme of people, community and greater purpose. It's also important to remember that our purpose may change throughout our lives as we grow and evolve. What was important to us in our twenties may not be the same as what's important to us in our fifties, and even well into our nineties!
Attending a funeral can be a powerful reminder of the brevity of life, but it's up to us to take that reminder and turn it into something positive. By living intentionally, we can make the most of the time we have and leave a meaningful legacy behind. So take a moment today to reflect on your purpose in life. What impact do you want to make? How do you want to be remembered? And most importantly, what steps can you take today to start living with intention and purpose?