The Meaning of Fulfillment

“At 66, I find myself feeling fulfilled. I didn’t expect this, and don’t know quite what to make of it.”

The words belong to Emily Fox Gordon in the October 25 New York Times. Click HERE to ponder “The Meaning of Fulfillment” for your life and the lives of others.

11 thoughts on “The Meaning of Fulfillment

  1. Gordon, that would be great! We’ll be here in Jan. We are going to be in Ft. Myers in Dec. A generous friend has offered us his place while he is away for the month.


  2. Hmmmm….There are other words that come to mind when thinking about fulfillment. One is self-actualization, something that we all strive for but I don’t associate it with nearing the end. Nor do I associate fulfillment with nearing the end. In the fall of 2001 I was in a new marriage and a new career (at age the age of 59), but I did not feel near the end. A colleague and I had plans to fly from NC to Kansas for a workshop on improving our teaching. My colleague did not want to go because it was shortly after 9/11 and she was afraid of dying if more terrorism occurred. I said “I’m ready to die.” As I look back at that I realize I was not ready to die, but rather, I felt that it would be ok if I died. I was satisfied with some of the things I had accomplished in my life. There was definite happiness there, altho I still had a lot to learn about teaching–and about marriage. Fulfillment is one word that could describe what I felt that day. There are other words probably but I cannot retrieve them today. However, I went on the flight to Kansas City without my friend, and we are both still here. I know that I still feel fulfilled in spite of having a list of other things I would like to do. I doubt that I will ever feel completely fulfilled.


    • Thanks, Cynthia, for taking the time to read the piece and share your comment. Breaking down the word, I suppose “fulfillment” is the fact of being full or the sense of feeling full. It comes perhaps when, to mix the metaphors, we are aligned with our selves, instead of veering off to the side, bent out of shape, unrecognizable to ourselves or others. One might call it the sense of wholeness or wellbeing. I, too, have said “I’m ready to die” – not because I want to now rather than later, but because I believer there’s nothing to fear. One doesn’t have to believe in an afterlife in order to make that statement or feel that way. Human life is precious; it is also short.

      At this point, the day after my last Sunday at Shepherd of the Hill, I feel the sense of relief and freedom to “be” without the necessities of “doing” that come with a title and role. I get to be me without any of that stuff to delude or distract me. It won’t last through the next three weeks, I know. -:) As my best friend wrote yesterday, “dis-ease” is on the horizon. I’m not dead yet! What I will do is write, write, and write. We shall see.


      • I’d be in trouble if I HAD to believe in a certain kind of afterlife–or any kind of afterlife. I think we talked re: the “power of now” and eternity is now. That freedom to “be” is wonderful. Keep writing!!


  3. As, at age 67, I find myself finally coming into my own – whatever that is. I can empathise with feelings she is describing…. Each of us is different, but I suspect that the idea we can no longer “do” anything about “it”,, lets us sit back and observe…… The clock is ticking, and we do not know how much sand is still in that “hourglass of a life time…” Looking at it, the life spiral of life’s continuity is a beautiful thing….


    • Karin, I feel the sand funneling through the hour-glass and feel thanks for all of you at Shepherd of the Hill for the eight-plus years you granted me to serve among you. You, at 67, ARE “finally coming into [your] own. You’re more relaxed, ore at home with yourself, freer from the hurts of childhood, loosened from the chains of deprecation and self-deprecation that prevent the sense of joy and fulfillment. Thanks for sharing.


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