Seeing the results of the Purpose Workshop

Published 10:00 am Monday, June 15, 2009

I’m social and artistic, he’s conventional and realistic. My husband and I were not surprised with the results of the activity at the Purpose Workshop we attended Tuesday evening as part of the Vitality Project. We always knew we were opposites, but Tuesday evening we had an opportunity to take the time to talk about those differences and learn something new about ourselves and each other during the workshop.

The workshop was excellent. I seem to find that more and more of my friends, myself included, are still looking for our purpose in life. I have been at the “now what” time of my life when my children left home. And I must admit I felt guilty feeling that way when I am so blessed in so many ways. I realized during the workshop that what is missing in my life is passion, passion for something that I am doing.

I think we drift along and say yes to many things to just be busy. We wander through our everyday tasks because we have do them even if we aren’t very excited about them. We fill our lives with busyness but do not take the time to find those things that give us passion to move through our day.

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I was a Blue Zones fan long before Blue Zones came to Albert Lea. I was very impressed listening to Dan Buettner on “Oprah” and started following some of his suggestions after the program.

I was very excited about the Blue Zones challenge. Then I broke my foot, and I found it was harder to do the things that I need to do to be healthy. The walks ended and my eating changed.

I found that since I am not able to do the grocery shopping for myself I do not eat as healthy. It is easier to order fast food in at the end of a tired day. All I want to do is put my foot up. It is easier to take spiritual time now since I have a lot of sitting time. Being social has become harder unless someone visits me or helps me so I can visit someone else.

Those are really no excuses to not continue doing healthy things, but it is easy to use those excuses because having a broken foot makes the challenge a little harder.

I maybe can’t walk, but I expend a lot of energy crawling up and down the steps and lifting myself on one foot to my walker, crutches or wheelchair. Walking with a walker and crutches is strength building and has to count as exercise.

Eating healthier just requires a little planning so someone else can do my grocery shopping. If some of the ways outlined in the project do not work for you adapt your own.

I did notice as I attended the workshop that I seemed to be the only person sitting in a wheelchair. I sat at the back of the room where there was room to maneuver. I stayed with the opposite group that I would have chosen to be a part of because there was not room to maneuver to the front of the room with a wheelchair. But I was still able to be a part of the evening.

I am walking challenged for a short time. For those of you that have health challenges or are handicapped I hope that does not stop you from becoming part of the challenge. It may make a difference in your life. I do understand that if you have trouble getting around it is more difficult.

However, that is also what the Blue Zones challenge is about. It is about being part of a helping community. I know it is not always easy to ask for help but it is a great way to allow new people into your life.

It was very easy to maneuver in the Wedgewood Cove clubhouse. The only two challenges I found during the evening were the heavy bathroom door and the close tables in the ballroom. I do admit I had help getting into the clubhouse, but it was very easy because it is on one level. I did have to ask for help. People were great at holding doors and letting me through the crowd.

My friend told me to check how high the purse holder was in the handicapped stall of the bathroom. When my friend was in a wheelchair she could not reach the hook in some bathroom stalls to hang her purse. The purse holder passed inspection. Even the towel dispensers were low enough that I could reach them.

I would not have thought of those things before I broke my foot. It is little things that we would normally not think about that might make it challenging for someone that is handicapped.

I almost did not attend the Purpose Workshop because of the obstacles that I placed in my mind such as bathrooms, seating, and crowds. I found the obstacles in my mind were bigger than the actual obstacles.

I am so used to being able to maneuver in places that are now more difficult that I tend to think I should stay home. I almost missed an evening that hopefully will give me the tools to improve my life.

If you haven’t already, join the Blue Zones Challenge. No matter what your situation there are little things that possibly can be done to improve your health and your life.

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send e-mail to her at or visit her blog at