Finding purpose to life as we know is it a hot topic, it has been since the first thoughts around identity came to be, I suspect. Tonight we’re not going to delve into the ‘how to find your purpose in life’ section of the bookshop, but rather I want to share my hindsight around how I numbed myself from needing a purpose over many years.
Without purpose, time is just a ticking clock.
The quote above likely comes from someone noteworthy, however the rendition I heard was hearsay via a parent, referring to a comment their 10-year old made over breakfast one morning. Let’s not get distracted here though.
Throughout life thus far, I’ve been given a few options around what my purpose may be. I was raised Christian, so there was the purpose behind a faith I was brought into. I’ve been shown how terrible and cruel the world is and been given the suggestion of improving it. Let’s not forget the good advice the old man once gave me, find a pretty wife and a good career with lots of money. He sure knew what was potting.
Time and time again though, for me personally, the reasons above didn’t quite cut it. I would end up in a space where there didn’t seem to be any overriding reason behind moving forward through the days. And it is in these times that some of the best and worse things of my life came to be.
- Reading: Science fiction and fantasy were my drugs. I would spend most of my days nose deep in some novel or other.
- Computer Games: Ah yes, competition! My reason became the drive to improve and prove my superiority in matches whenever time allowed.
- Relationship: I met a girl, she didn’t seem to hate me, we really enjoyed drinking and dancing, so we did that together. She became a core focus, until she wasn’t.
- Traveling: My first taste of overseas travel hooked me. My second, third and so on only solidified the feeling. But the world is finite and you must balance breadth with depth. Traveling alone is a basket of other reasons inside.
- Work: As an enabler for a future I wanted, as a way to prove my worth to others and myself. Work can become a strong purpose and does for many people I meet.
- Blog: In a way this blog came about from a need to focus and produce, to give some meaning to the free energy I had daily.
The above isn’t an exhaustive list, but a trend I hope you can recognize is that it’s an ongoing self-hallucination. Until a few years ago I specifically spent time and effort to distract myself from worrying what the point of my days are.
And so I believe many of us still do. It’s a difficult question, perhaps not everyone will always find an answer that satisfies them indefinitely, but I wonder if turning a blind eye to our own need for ‘a reason’ is such a smart strategy.
Another nugget I get from thinking back over the ways and means, is that many of them led me to great experiences, to finding things that have stuck around far longer than their originally intense introduction in my life. Things that have grown me as a human being, made me more interesting and interested in the world around me.
You don’t have to have the answer now, just don’t stop looking for one.
The above is a rough translation of some advice I got given roundabout 2011 by someone close to me. While it didn’t refer specifically to this topic I think it’s incredibly relevant and well worth a thought. It might be that I never land on a purpose that satisfies me indefinitely, but I can be certain that in looking for it I may make the days I’ve been given count.
I’m curious, if you’re willing to share, what your purpose in life may be currently. Comment below or send it separately as some do.
This is part of my A to Z Challenge 2016, click the button at the bottom of the site for more information if you like.
Submitted for the daily prompt: Purpose