Aah, today’s prompt just speaks to me on a whole new level: purpose.
Why am I doing what I’m doing? Does this lead me down a greater path? What’s my destiny?
As someone going through a really rough patch, I can tell you that this prompt speaks to me. It’s my friend. We have conversations at 3 a.m, okay? It gets me.
Anyhow, I’m at a stage in my life where I’ve got to decide exactly what I want to do with it. And since I’m old enough to be a mature person, everyone figures I’ve already got a whole plan chalked out and I’m rearing to start off with the next phase of this plan. So when I say I don’t know, I get the look.
Oh you know the look. That one look you get when you’re in grade three and you can’t tell your class what 2 plus 2 is. That look you get when you’re in the MasterChef top twelve and you don’t know what fennel looks like. This is that look, ladies and gentlemen, that you get when you’re 45 and you still think the tooth fairy exists.
What? You don’t know? And then they just look away with that sceptical smirk and try not to tell you how sorry they feel for you. Well, hear it loud and clear, guys: I DON’T KNOW. And this is normal! Loads of people have no idea what they want to do at this point of their life and it is completely okay to be confused. I have time! I never knew why people expected me to suddenly just know what to do and be completely sure about it. I mean, it’s a big life decision; surely it’s normal to have some second thoughts about it? So what do you want, huh? Why do you think I should know?
I’ll tell you why.
It’s because there’s a class of annoying people who, from a very young age, have had a fixed notion of what they want to do, where they want to go, and how they’re going to go about it. This usually happens because of parents prompting their children, or because of someone these children have seen and idolised. From when they were wearing diapers, till when they’re eighteen years old, they’ve got this one-track mind that does not care about anything else.
Now, don’t get me wrong, because that’s awesome! It’s great to see someone who’s ambitious, confident about what they want, and are working hard to reach their goals. I understand that. I wish I were like you. But don’t you think you’re being a little too rigid and fixed? You see, when you have no idea what to do, you’re more open to suggestions. And who exactly decided what you wanted to do? Don’t come and tell me that you wanted to be a particle physicist when you were in sixth grade. Do you know about particle physics? Have you studied it? Are you confident you’d like it? Are you confident you’d be good at it? Do you have a back-up plan? You frustrate me, being responsible and level minded and all of that. You make me think I give our generation a bad name by being clueless.
Kidding. Honestly though, I admire these guys a lot because they have a strong sense of purpose and that’s essentially what keeps us going. Nothing matters if you don’t feel like you have a purpose.
I would know because there was this one exam I really wanted to do well in, but I didn’t. For years, it was my only purpose and hope and I couldn’t clear it. I was devastated, but now, after that, I feel strangely purposeless. I don’t feel like I have anything to work for, so I don’t. I do nothing. It’s the most hopeless feeling ever. Now, I just feel terrible
No motivation. This is why when people feel hopeless, some go to extremes and kill themselves. It’s because we all look for a purpose in life. Nobody wants to be useless, a burden or just plain exhausted from not doing anything. When you don’t have something to drive you, you feel useless. And you don’t do anything as well as you could because you don’t want to do anything.
I think I know why sad aimlessness is often associated with depression. It’s because feeling devoid of purpose is the most scarring thing that can happen to a person. You feel like a weed in a beautiful garden. Unwanted, unneeded, and simply forging ahead to further the existence of your race for no particular reason.
So, when things go wrong, I sit and wonder what my purpose is. And no, I don’t look for small things like “getting that house”, or “getting a good job”. I reflect on what exactly I’m doing here. Why am I standing here and using resources? Why?
I often wonder why we do what we do. Humans have developed a complex system of survival. We dig oil wells, sing songs, write books and handle bank transactions among a million other things, so that we have good food and clean water (most importantly).
But nobody knows what exactly we’re doing here, and people have been searching for millennia for a clue as to what our existence could possibly mean. But no one has yet provided concrete proof for this, because everyone has different stories and you never know which to believe. And so, people are afraid. We don’t know the ultimate purpose of life, so we create small, temporary ones.
So if you’re feeling confused or upset or directionless, don’t fret. Everybody is going through the same thing! Nobody is born with the knowledge of their purpose. Sometimes it takes forever to figure out what your calling is. We’re all just making up our own plans as we go along. Nothing is permanent, stable or fixed. Nothing has meaning until we consciously look for one and extrapolate it. Give yourself time and never, ever give up.
You know why? Even though we don’t yet know what we’re supposed to do, there is one thing that’s blatantly obvious. You weren’t born to just get upset and die or give up or have terrible things happen to you. The universe wouldn’t have had you exist if it didn’t want you in some way. In some way (though we don’t know yet), you’re needed. There would be no point of you if you were to just be born and kill yourself. That’s just a waste of resources and the universe doesn’t want that. So somehow, there is a reason you’re here. There is a reason we’re all here. You can’t find that out alone, so help someone. Let someone help you.
So I’m creating a temporary purpose for you. Enjoy your journey and be true to yourself. Stand up for what you believe in. Be independent and don’t be with people who don’t deserve you. Love yourself. Do what you love.
We, as a species, still have a long way to go in figuring ourselves out. We create problems and solve them. We look for meaning in relationships with others. We build beautiful things and tear them down. We laugh, we cry and we sing. Anything to distract us from the unbearable truth: we still don’t know our ultimate purpose. We do what we can to keep ourselves busy and get by in this bittersweet experience called life.