I’ve been struggling recently to think of my purpose in life. It’s not actually something I have given much thought to before, but some good conversations over the past few weeks have got me thinking. I’m not willing to accept the idea that my purpose in life is to get a job, find a partner, start a family and teach my kids to repeat this process. Surely there’s more to life than maintaining human existence on Earth? But when asked what I thought the purpose of life was, I really had no answer.
So I’ve spent some time thinking about it and doing some research (i.e. looked at Wikipedia) to get some ideas going. Needless to say, there are a lot of opinions and ideas out there. Some I agree with, some I don’t. After reading and considering some of these ideas, I’ve made a conscious decision to define the purpose of my life as:
- to become the best version of myself;
- to learn as many things as possible;
- to leave the world a better place than I found it;
- to love more; and, most importantly,
- to be happy.
What does this mean in terms of action?
I will be the best person that I can be. I have strengths and flaws like everybody else. I will work hard to maintain my strengths and to minimise the influence of my flaws. I will make mistakes, but I will learn from them and do better next time. I will work towards the standards that I have set for myself. I will accept who I am, but know that there is a long way to go before I am who I want to be.
I will experience as many things as possible. I will go out into the big wide world and do some things that scare me, because if I’m not at least a little bit afraid, it means I’m not going outside my comfort zone. I will also read as many books as possible, because what better way to learn than from other people’s experiences?
I will take that chance. I will not spend the rest of my life thinking ‘what might have been?’ I want to know the outcome. If it works out, then great! If it doesn’t, then at least I would have had the experience and learned something from it.
I will do my best to stop procrastinating, because if I have time to make excuses, I have time to get shit done.
I will do my part for the environment. I will plant more plants and encourage more green space. I will reduce, re-use and recycle. I will stop buying unnecessary items, and donate things I no longer use to those in need. I will help people where I can, from giving spare change to giving directions. I will listen.
I will take care of myself, because if I don’t, who will? I will also look after the ones I love, and tell them that I love them. Even if telling them scares me. I will try to appreciate the good qualities in people, as well as accept our differences. Others may try to bring me down, but it doesn’t mean I have to be the same. I will learn to walk away from the people who do not add anything positive to my life.
I will smile more, even if I look like an idiot. I will enjoy the moment and do my best to remember the good days when I’m having a bad day. I will stop comparing what I have to others, because comparison is the thief of joy. I will do my best to remind myself that what I have today is what I wanted in the past. I will be present. I will be fully engaged in life.
I know it’s all very vague and general, but I think these are great guidelines for what I will do with my life. They are in tune with my values and my beliefs. For now. After all, I think there’s a high possibility they will change over time as I change. Not everyone will agree and that’s okay. I can only encourage you to find and define your own purpose in life, only if you want to that is. And if you already have, I’d love to hear what you think!
[This post has been inspired in part by this week’s writing challenge. I did also have some sort of mini-existential crisis too.]