If you live to 100 years old, how many years do you have left? What will you regret the most when you are lying on your death bed?

I’m 45. I have 55 years left. I have spent the past year answering that question for myself. My answer surprised me the first time I articulated it. It wasn’t spending more time with family which you would think would be the most common answer. It wasn’t making more money, which was what I thought my answer would be. I’m mercenary. 

No, my answer was to stop drifting through life and do something worthwhile. I have come up with a motto that gives me purpose for my life. The motto, Dream! Create! Inspire!, gives my life direction and I can use that to orient myself whenever I feel like I’m drifting instead of staying the course.

My best friend and I were talking about how she feels about her life. She says that she wakes up every morning and feels like she must justify her existence. That she doesn’t deserve to be alive. Her life has been filled with trauma and pain. She has been taught that she is unworthy, and her life is not worth as much as the next person. She believes that no matter what she does that she will offend or upset everyone she encounters. She is wrong.

She is a beautiful, intelligent, courageous human being and I love her dearly. I wish she would believe me when I tell her that, but she doesn’t. She has fought so hard all her life and I wish she knew how much I admired her for everything she has made it through. I have told her, but she still doesn’t believe. She turns 50 this year and has 50 years to go in my scenario above. She has so much she could give to the world, but she is afraid that she will upset someone, someone she has never even met. I’ll keep encouraging her and maybe one day, she’ll step up.

What about you?

How many years do you have left?

What do you have to give to the world?

What is the purpose for your life?

Some people know. They find their purpose early and never deviate. Some people struggle with finding their purpose. Some people find their purpose and then get lost and then find it again.

I found mine by sitting down with pen and paper. I made a list of all the things, big and small that I wanted to do with my life. These things included vacations I wanted to take, skills I wanted to learn, art I wanted to create, novels I wanted to write, and spending time with family and friends. I ended up with a list of about 50-60 items, which included being a billionaire. I still have my mercenary side.

Then I grouped them together in categories. I ended up with a business category, an art category, a writing category, a giving back category, a travel category, a money category, plus a few others. 

Then I took those categories and really looked at them and their underlying meanings. The art, writing and travel categories are all about things I dream about doing. The business, art and writing categories are about creating. The giving back category is about inspiring others. The money category ended up being about having the money to support the other categories rather than just having money for money’s sakes. I was able to put each of the categories on my list into one of the four categories: Dream! Create! Inspire! or Support. That is how I ended up with my motto: 

DREAM! CREATE! INSPIRE! BE EPIC!

You can do this too.

Write down what is important to you – all the things, small and big. If it is a sports team or TV show, write it down. If it is your family, write it down. If you want to own a house or pay off the house you are currently buying, write it down. If you love 80’s hair bands, write it down. It doesn’t matter what it is, write it down. 

Now, what categories can you group them in? These categories are your own. You get to decide what they are. If you have 10 TV shows on your list, then you might want a category called TV. That would be a big part of your life. If you like to read a lot of books, like my best friend who has over 5,000 books on her Nook and has read at least 3/4 of them, you might need a category called Reading or Books. These are your categories.

Do you have your categories? Yes, then what do your categories have in common? What do you want to do with them? Let’s take the TV & Reading categories. If we group them together, they could be a Relax! or if you want to do something with them and you like to write, why not write reviews on the books you read and the TV episodes you watch, then you might call this part of your motto, Recommendations! Whatever you decide is up to you, your motto is supposed to help you when you are struggling to maintain your day to day progress towards your goals.

Once you have a motto, decide on some Life Goals. I have two big ones. My personal life goal is to Travel. I want to leave my little apartment and travel the US and then the world. My Dream! Create! Inspire! Life Goal is to inspire 1,000,000 souls through my blog, The Painted Kat, my Medium articles, my artwork, and anything else I dream and create. I’m just getting started. I have 55 years to work on this goal. 

How many years do you have?
How many lives can you touch?