Betty J. Slade
Everyone has a place in the village. Many are moving into Pagosa. They are running away from the rat race of the big city and wanting good things for their families. But for the betterment of the village and themselves, by virtue of living here, they have a purpose and a job to do.
People live longer when they find their sense of purpose. Finding purpose can add up to seven years to their life. So, what is their job in this village of Pagosa?
My daughter and I talked about how to keep my Sweet Al young and living a full life. He just turned 85 years old. We’ve given him a job to do in the family village. His job is to throw away stuff and make room in the garage to store the camper and truck for the winter.
He goes to his garage religiously every day and moves his treasures outside and back into the garage before nightfall. Nothing is thrown away as he moves antiques and car parts from one bay to the other. He comes into the house, worn out, covered in dust, and he tells me how much he has done. He has a sense of accomplishment. This is keeping him young.
My son wants to protect his dad and keep him from hurting himself. He feels his dad should come into the house, sit down and watch NASCAR and “Mountain Men.”
Al loves his junk. He will throw away what he doesn’t want himself. Al has gashes and bruises, smashed fingers and bumps on his head, but he’s happy.
My daughter says, “Let him move his things; he’s using muscles, he has a purpose and it’s keeping him alive. It doesn’t matter if he gets rid of anything. He’s got a job to do. Our little family village is counting on him.”
Dan Buettner with National Geographic is a bestselling author who has traveled the globe to identify the places with the highest population of people living beyond 100 years of age. He dubbed these places “Blue Zones.”
In one of the villages, an elderly man, 103 years old, beats rice on a rock every day. His job is to grind rice for the village. They depend on him and this gives him purpose. He is living a long life and he is necessary for his village.
What about our village of Pagosa? What is our purpose? What makes our town work or not work?
A village works when people invest in the people of the community, like the man beating the rice. He only has one job, but his job is absolutely vital for his village.
Football season is here. Those who invest in our town’s kids come to the games and cheer them on. It’s true — it takes a village to raise a child.
I remember when we didn’t have lights on the field so the football games were played on Saturday afternoons. The business owners closed their doors for three hours and all the town’s people went to the games. Every parent and grandparent, retired couple and visitor was in their seats. The local men who played on the football field years before relived their days as the town’s heroes and cheered on the team. It was a big deal. It doesn’t sound like much of a job, but for a healthy community, it’s important for school sports to survive.
If you’ve been to the football field lately, banners are hanging from one end to another. The fences are covered all the way down to the concessions. It’s a beautiful sight to see. These banners represent the business owners who are giving their support by paying for space. This gives money to the Booster Club to buy new uniforms, equipment and a new score board.
This village needs us all. It seems like a small endeavor when each week I pray for the people of my village and hopefully encourage them to keep seeking truth, walk in the light and keep their hearts open. Sometimes I hit, sometimes I miss, but I show up and meet with them in the Thursday’s newspaper.
The Blue Zone research has shown having a sense of purpose in life has actually helped people live longer. Those with the strongest sense of life purpose have the lowest mortality rates.
Our little village abounds with people who have done many things. Each person has had life experiences and situations they can bring to our little town. We need them and they need us.
Final brushstroke: If beating rice on a rock every day fulfills your purpose, do it. Look around. There’s plenty to do. Finding your purpose is often the easy part. Acting on your intention day in and day out can be more difficult. But, it’s worth the effort for your betterment and for your village.