**If you'd prefer to listen to me reading this to ya, click here**
As a disclaimer, if you've clicked on this post because you're looking for purpose in life and hope I'm gonna tell you how it find it, please stop reading. I too have searched for ways to locate my 'purpose' and determine what should be the one focus for me to revolve the rest of my life around.
What I found was a whole load of suggestions of hobbies, ways to start a new interest and even the benefits of having a life's purpose. But none of them helped me find my life's purpose. Why is that? Because a Google search is incapable of offering that.
According to a variety of online articles about our life's purpose, it's a central motivating aim that guides all you do in life; a fixed intention that makes you live with integrity and clarity. Interesting.
I remember one of my exes having a career he considered his calling, his purpose in life. I was always envious of this clear idea of what he wanted to do forever, because I didn't have that. I've done a variety of jobs in lots of different industries and enjoyed most of them. I didn't have that one fixed intention and that made me feel as though my life wasn't as full; my life had less meaning.
Of course, that's not true. (NB: I still don't have a purpose in life!) But it's always interested me that we hold the idea of a purpose in life as something to aim for; perhaps a cry to finding the answer to a far deeper existential and spiritual question than I'm going to discuss in this post!
I don't believe we're each born with a purpose, nor do I believe searching for one works either. When we break down the real meaning of purpose, it means an intention; to have a use for something. Who doesn't want to feel useful? Who doesn't want to feel as though there is one big ultimate use for their whole existence? I think we all have our uses and we may just discover something we realise can achieve, but is that the only purpose we serve?
A purpose can be likened to a focus or a goal in life; something we can concentrate on working towards. The idea that time is money *see below for a cool podcast link about this* and the synonymous ideology that if we aren't being productive human beings, we're wasting time and/or money. We remind ourselves that time on Earth is finite (I mean, that's true) and that if we aren't accomplishing something, we're wasting time.
In short, we learn if we aren't achieving a purpose, whatever that may be, that we're doing something wrong. I call bullshit. I walk often, sometimes because I have to get somewhere, sometimes just because. And it's become really important to my wellbeing to go for a walk, just because. There's no purpose to where I'm going, but it ends up benefitting me far more than some things on my to-do list!
Does everything we do need a purpose? Is something a waste of time if there's no clear purpose or reason behind it? I'm advocating for doing more with less purpose. Never stop doing things with intention and achieving, but try and do more just because.
I think only a minority of people feel they have purpose, or a clear calling in life. I still don't think I've got that, but it doesn't make me any less passionate about life, the jobs I hold or the way I share my thoughts with you guys!
Don't get me wrong. I'm sure there's people who felt born to do something; be a parent, study medicine, help others in need. And that's awesome and pretty much sets you up for life when it comes to following your heart. But for most of us, I think we're still floating around without that. And that's fine.
For me, life doesn't need a purpose. I'm not religious and don't believe a God put us here on Earth, but I do know that the journey of life is magical, meaningful and crazy. I feel blessed I can experience everything the world has to offer, and if floating around enjoying it all doesn't count as purpose, I'm OK without one!
'My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I am happy. I can't figure it out. What am I doing right?'
-- Charles M Schulz (creator of comic Peanuts!)
**See below cool podcast link**
#34 The Importance of Doing Nothing with Jenny Odell - The Lonely Hour