Living a purposeful life


Brig Naseem Akhtar Khan (R)

ALTHOUGH many of us possess everything that we need for a comfortable and meaningful existence, most of us are still found dissatisfied and frustrated, looking for a purpose to live. Unfortunately, this delusion is based on our failure to recognise what actually matters in life, instead become overly focused on what we believe is missing from our life. Resultantly, we become pessimistic, hesitant to face the challenges boldly and start looking for shortcut solutions. That is where the social evils find their way into our personal character and social behaviour. Our failure to recognise what really matters in our life is, probably, the basic reason for the prevailing negativity in the society. Unfortunately, some serious bugs in our social culture like underplaying relationships, absence of nourishing culture and lack of emotional grooming, makes us hesitant to get close to each other to share and care. Resultantly, our actions and reactions are based on presumptions rather than the logic.
For a life to be meaningful/purposeful, it does not have to be unique. We can increase or decrease the value of our life with practice, efforts, actions and thoughts. What all we need to learn is to be patient, tolerant, accept the change and live moment to moment. We must remember that good and bad times are part of life and so are their consequences. We must learn to take on the testing times boldly, with courage, motivation and self-discipline without letting the situation cause cracks in our social behaviour. How much we succeed in this, will largely depend on our ability to persevere through adversity without succumbing to the pressures. Sometimes life is brutal, but we must remember that meaning is always derived from perseverance. The one who persists, is a person of purpose, living a purposeful life. What prompted me to write on this topic today, is the sad demise of my elder brother, Muhammad Anwar Khan, in London on 10th September 2020, and whose way of life, to my mind, has been a perfect example of a purposeful life. Born in a remote village in Kashmir, got his basic education from the village school, graduated from a well reputed university in Karachi, finally landed in UK to pursue his career in accountancy. Gradually worked it up to establish his own accountancy firm and was soon amongst the renowned group of people in the field.
While all was going well, his family nicely settled, kids going to good schools and life fun at its best, there came a tragic phase in his life to confront. He was diagnosed for muscular atrophy disease of a very severe intensity, affecting half of his body. The most demoralising was the opinion of the doctors that his muscles may give up completely in a year or two and that he should plan his life and activities accordingly. It was a very shocking moment, not only for him but the entire family was almost paralyzed. From here starts the story of a great fight back that itself is an explanation of what a purposeful life really means. Instead of bowing to the circumstances, the man decides to stand up to the challenge and fight back. Ignoring all the times lines suggested by the doctors, he choose to live his life to its best, fulfilling the very purpose of life; providing a guideline to make decisions, influence behaviour, shape goals, offer sense of direction and correct meaning to everything else that was linked with his family. He did not limit himself to this, instead, became highly active in social work, as well. He got actively involved in community projects of bigger magnitude, made significant contribution in uplift of Muslim community and acted as a bridge between them and the local community/government departments. Resultantly, the inter-community culture in Kent county, where he resided for more than 50 years, has been exemplary. He was a true example of people’s person and was always available to provide necessary support and guidance that anybody was looking for. He also remained actively involved in charity work.
His unparalleled contribution and hard work in making a visible difference in the socio-cultural settings, earned him huge respect and honour in the society. The magic result of all this was that from one to two years deadlines that the doctors had suggested, he prolonged it to more than forty years and that too, with full bloom and without being a burden on anyone. Instead, he was always at the giving end. He had a sterling reputation for excellence, honour, and integrity. He had an irrepressible goodness and sense of humour which the trial of life could never overcome. He remained particularly attached with all his family members back in Pakistan and was always there to support us, in thick and thin. He was a fatherly figure and a great mentor to all family and friends and will remain in our thoughts and prayers forever. I thank God for all the blessings He had bestowed upon him, even as my heart aches and my thoughts turn to Heaven. To conclude, a few words to my dear brother: Hats off to you, my brother… Anwar Khan, “Your actions were always kind, A generous hand and active mind. Anxious to please and loath to offend, A loving brother and faithful friend!!!” We will all miss you very much…
— The writer is Security Management Professional, based in the UAE.