I have always struggled with the idea of purpose.
It makes me feel like I have to know exactly where I want to be in ten years, right now. I don’t know that. Even if I took a guess I could be completely wrong.
Are we supposed to plan this far ahead? Are we supposed to know exactly what we want our life to be like when we are out of high school?
I chose not to get a post secondary education because ever since I was young, a part of me knew that it wasn’t the path for me. I knew that I would not find my purpose in a classroom.
Fast forward, I am twenty-three, I have no idea what I am doing with my life. I don’t know what my purpose is, it scares me. I want to walk up to strangers, grab them and yell “Are you as scared as I am? Sometimes I can’t sleep at night! Do you sleep at night?”
In the past I thought I knew my purpose.
When I was young I spent a lot of time in the hospital. The doctors were my heroes. I wanted to be like them when I grew up. After realizing that I hated school, I decided otherwise. I knew I wanted to help people, but that wasn’t the way I was going to accomplish it.
During my teenage years I wanted to be a world-famous musician. I spent hours upon hours teaching myself how to write music. I bought a drum set and started a band. It was hard. Getting five people to cooperate, or even get along, seemed a nearly impossible task.
At the break of my twenties I was working with my brother in a sales business he owned. It was an experience that taught me a lot, but it didn’t quite work out.
Now I’m just sitting here staring at this screen, anxious about the future.
I’ve been writing these blog posts lately, is this my purpose? Start a blog, write books, speak on tour, help people, die.
Does that sound fulfilling?
I’ve been down so many other paths that turned out to be dead ends. Who is to say that this isn’t a dead-end as well? What a depressing way to think.
When you look at your life with the intent of finding your one true “purpose”, you see all experiences that don’t contribute to it as a waste of time. They become meaningless.
I can’t live that way, these experiences have made me who I am. Through all of this stress, I have realized that I don’t want just one purpose.
It seems like a death sentence to me.
There are so many fallacies attached to the word “purpose” that everyone wants you to believe.
People are convinced at a young age that they have to decide what they want to be before the time they are done high school. They have so much stress put on them during a period where they finally have their first taste of freedom. I hadn’t even learned much about myself by this age, never mind plotting out my entire life course!
Colonel Sanders is responsible for a mega chain of fast food restaurants. Do you want to know what age he started said business at?
That’s right. Before he was serving chicken he was a sixth-grade dropout, a farm hand, an army mule-tender, a locomotive fireman, a railroad worker, an aspiring lawyer, an insurance salesman, a ferryboat entrepreneur, a tire salesman, an amateur obstetrician, a political candidate, a gas station operator, and a motel operator.
Bill Wilson didn’t start Alcoholics Anonymous until he was forty. Alan Rickman, or Snape as you might know him, didn’t get his first acting role until he was forty-six. Stan lee didn’t have success writing comic books until he was forty-three.
Were these people just wandering aimlessly without a purpose until they became successful? Is their notable success the only thing that defines them?
I wouldn’t like to believe so.
Instead of looking for your one purpose, live each moment with purpose.
I didn’t become a doctor, but I still try to help people everyday. I’m not a world-famous musician, but I still express myself creatively.
Living with purpose allows you to do whatever matters to you right now, and if that changes in the future that’s okay. Do something different. You’ll grow and continue to feel fulfilled.
When you are living like this you need to have faith and realize that, though you may stumble, you will always be moving in the right direction.
Love your spouse with purpose, let them know you love them. Take them on dates, plan whole days you want to spend with them. Play with your kids with purpose. Try putting on a home puppet show, do something creative. Do the same at work, write thank you notes to employees who give that extra effort.
Every time someone asks me for advice, I try to put my soul into my answer. For that moment, helping that person is my purpose.
Purpose shouldn’t be something you search for out in the great beyond. It should be the lens which you see life through.
I wrote this because I didn’t want to stare at this screen feeling anxious anymore.
Maybe I won’t be writing forever, maybe I’ll move on to something different. I’m okay with that.
But if I am going to do something, I’m going to put my soul into it.
I’m going to do it with purpose.