Here on Earth -- what is your purpose?

Boomer Grandpa — Loren Else column sig

Sometimes I get fed up with what I call "attack information." Every day I'm flooded with emails, unsolicited texts and phone calls. I unsubscribe to the emails, block potential spam calls, but still they come.

Some are companies just trying to sell something and survive. Other times it’s the no-good, rotten crooks trying to steal information and siphon my bank account. Who does this? Is that their purpose in life -- to steal from others?

I can remember taking a college class years ago called, “Economics of Crime and Punishment.” I don’t recall much except that some criminals felt overall that the risks and rewards outweigh the punishment. Stealing from others is a lousy purpose in life.

Have you ever thought about purpose? What is your purpose in life? I bought country singer Tim McGraw’s new album titled “Here on Earth.” The title track is a powerful song. As one reviewer said, it is an ode to the meaning of life.

This thought of what my purpose in life is has been stirring in my brain for the last few years. As we age, some of you might wonder that as well.


Recently I have been converting our very oldest film negatives to digital images. I’m doing the best I can on a scanner/converter I bought, but it isn’t as easy as advertised. (Is it ever?) Of course, when I saw a booklet of directions, I didn’t read them.

As I examine those old negatives, what fun it is to view young smiling faces -- my wife’s and mine! We were happy starting our life together.

We had negatives from college and our first years as a couple. We had negatives from when our daughter was born in 1978, which was my first year being a dad. We had negatives from living on an island in Puget Sound from 1979 to 1981.

As I looked at each one of these memories, I realized how fortunate I’ve been. In each image, we had big smiles. I’ve had a joyful life here on earth. It hasn’t been because of money, what I accomplished in my career or what I own.

The video for the song “Here on Earth” features people sharing their purpose in life. The people presented were a diverse group and that was the point. We all have a purpose. My opinion is we struggle with a purpose early in our life.

We are working, raising kids, mowing the grass, keeping food on the table and the oil changed. We squeezed in a little recreation when we could. Our purpose is to get to the next day.

For some, their purpose is crystal clear. All those in the medical field caring for so many right now, in particular our elderly, and all those working to find vaccines. First responders and law enforcement -- thank you. Our teachers -- thank you. Your purpose is mighty.

For those of us a little over the hill as our children departed home and if grandchildren eventually come along, purpose later in life started to come into focus.


A few of us have suffered enough loss in life to realize that the gift of slowing down and smelling the roses is important.

You might have personal, focused purposes. One of those for me is keeping in close contact with my big sister as she manages her life with Parkinson’s.

My purpose is not to tell someone what to believe, to harass or criticize. My purpose is to be a man of integrity for my kids and grandkids. My purpose is to love my wife. My purpose is to be kind.

If you haven’t heard “Here on Earth,” give it a listen.

What is your purpose here on earth? I’d be honored to hear it.

Loren Else lives in Rochester and also writes the Post Bulletin’s “Day in History” column. Send comments and column ideas to Loren at .

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