What is your purpose in life? What were you put on Earth to do? I’ve seen young folks that seem to have figured that out. I’ve seen old folks still looking for it.

I believe we have a responsibility to change the world. We have an obligation to make the world a better place, to leave it better than we found it.

We adopted two kittens not long ago. I’m not a cat person. Never have been. Not too long ago, I wrote about that “one great dog” that everyone should have. But my wife wanted a couple of cats and I really like to make my wife happy so we headed to the Animal Shelter with all six grandkids in tow.

We wanted cat siblings. And girls. So we made our choices and left with Ariel and Batman (yeah … I know … not the name for a female cat — such is the influence of grandchildren). Well folks, I fell in love with them immediately. It didn’t take long until they had wrapped me around their little paws.

Last week, I came across a meme with a photo of a kitten sitting alone by a curb with the caption “he will never change the world but he will change the people who find him.” An abandoned kitten, changing somebody’s world. Imagine that.

Maybe that’s what our life should be about. Maybe that’s what I’m talking about. I was one of those people that wanted to change the world. You know the list. Feed the hungry. Heal the sick. Rescue the lost.

I had big dreams about being the greatest physical therapist ever and the greatest dad that ever lived. We would live an active life and be responsible to the planet. I would be an upstanding guy, a role model, and would treat everyone with respect and dignity.

I would make the world a better place to live and grow my own vegetables and raise my babies in love and harmony, gently molding them into good people.

Maybe I’ve done some of that, but at times I’ve failed miserably in all of that. I’ve had some great opportunities and have led an interesting life, but the world I’ve been able to change has never gone much beyond my reach.

As we get older, our world shrinks. Our family grows and there are bills to pay and our priorities change. Oh, for some of us, those lofty dreams stay alive and some do go on and change the big huge worlds.

But at some point, we all have to decide what world it is that we want to change.

Maybe your world is your family. You want them to have things that you didn’t. Or at least have the life that you always wanted.

Maybe your world is your job. You want to make a difference through your work. I get that. Maybe your world is your town.

You want to make a difference so you run for local political office. I admire that. Maybe you continue to pursue those huge dreams and hopefully no one told you that you couldn’t do that.

If you can’t change the whole world, you can always change your world. From the governor’s mansion to the changing table, all our worlds are important.

And like that lost kitten on the curb, you can always change somebody’s world. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Joe Black, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Total Rehabilitation and is Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for Blount Memorial Hospital. Email joeblackdpt@gmail.com to write to him.

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