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Connected by Purpose

According to the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, I am entering the second half of life, although I haven’t experienced any sort of “crisis” that I know of. What I find interesting, however, is that years ago, when reading some of Jung’s works, I was fascinated by the notion that Jung described the first half of life as outward facing (social striving, professional goals, and self-aggrandizement) and the second half as inwardly focused (familial relations, spiritual aspirations, and/or other more humanistic values): different and often compensatory sets of values, goals, needs, and priorities.

I got to thinking about these life stages as I reflected recently on what is important to me.

I’ve never been one to just keep my head down; I have to be the one trying to find a better way, a more productive and efficient way, and now, a more purposeful way.

It’s easy to become robotic with daily tasks, to go through the day on autopilot. It’s much harder to take a step back and assess whether what you are doing is making a difference. And whether it matters to you if you are or not.

I don’t produce food for people (unless you count my family garden); I don’t enforce food safety regulations. I don’t study food pathogens or develop new methods for controlling them. As a part of the broader food industry, I often feel like I’m only on the periphery, the very edge of a very large group. But when I really think about what I do every day, I do help bring the food industry together, whether by interviewing podcast guests or laying out the content for the magazine. I am a part of what connects food safety professionals to one another. And when I hear from a reader or a podcast listener that they’ve learned something or implemented a process they’ve heard someone talk about on Food Safety Matters or read about in Food Safety Magazine, then I know that the work we do here matters…that it has purpose. And in the second half, that’s really what counts.


Best Regards,

Barbara VanRenterghem, Ph.D., Editorial Director

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