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Monday, November 17, 2008

I recharged my purpose batteries: Purpose and long life

For 77 years, Marge Jetton, a nurse, had identified herself proudly as a doctor's wife, and found meaning in the work she did to support her husband. Their partnership was magical, she says, but ended abruptly when he died suddenly.

She grieved for months, and then she regrouped. She began volunteering again at her church, worked as a fundraiser for a gospel radio program, and delivered used magazines to elderly hospital patients. "I realized the world wasn't going to come to me, so I went back out into the world," she says. "I reconnected with old friends and felt satisfaction from helping the community. I guess you could say that I recharged my purpose batteries."

That was five years ago. Today, at age 104, she says she owes her can-do vitality to her religious faith and her fervent belief that as long as she's around, she can make a difference.

Advice to widows: You can live fully, and productively, even after your long love has passed away. As Dan Buettner says, Add years to your life by adding life to your years.

Read a very different story of finding a new purpose in life.

Thanks to Dan Buettner for the source story in the November/December issue of AARP magazine.

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