Have you ever found yourself not “liking” much of anything? Perhaps you’ve had a feeling for a long time that you just don’t know what you want to do with your life. Maybe you like all kinds of things and just can’t seem to narrow it down to just one thing. Certainly, if you’re young and you get the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” you might not know the answer. Hell, even a lot of people my age still haven’t quite figured that out. The quest for a “purpose” is one of the greatest questions mankind has ever had, and, at one time or another, we all ask ourselves the same thing. We can get esoteric about it, and talk about destiny versus free will. We could consult just about any doctrine out there for guidance, hoping a spiritual answer will suddenly appear. But at the end of the day, most often, the question will still remain. Sometimes, this uncertainty resurfaces, when we find ourselves in a dead end career, or if we get divorced, or even if the children have flown the nest. Often, we come to define ourselves by the things we’ve been doing for so long, by the people who “need” us, or by the places we’ve found comfort in before. And yet, when life changes, as it most often, always does, we are left once again, to ask the question.
So, what if there is no purpose? Does that mean we have to wander about, making our trek around this spinning rock, biding our time until it simply runs out? Is it that we’ve missed some grand beacon that was sending out instructions to guide us along a path of certain destiny, like we just missed the bus? Maybe is just a glitch in our mental framework that we’re constantly trying to find meaning in the midst of it all.
Perhaps the answer is, our purpose is whatever we decide to do, and maybe not a point of singularity, but rather, what we decide to do each moment. Maybe there is no “grand scheme” of things, except for each of us to live our lives, make our choices, and seek our happiness. I enjoyed reading Alan Watts quite a lot when I was growing up. And something he said really stuck with me over the years. He conveyed the idea that God, the creator, the universe, however you prefer to think about it, was alone. And, as creation unfolded, this great being wanted to experience every nuance of the creation. So, it splintered itself into billions of pieces, each an absolute part of the divine, only, making each individual piece forget what it actually was. In doing so, it got to experience, every viewpoint, every personality, every kind of life, every situation. And what makes this interesting to think about is, if that is truly the case, there are no wrong choices. There are no wasted lives. There are no truly missed opportunities. It is as if every variable is simply another experience of this divine intelligence.
In the meantime, moving away from this “deep thought,” what do you want? If it isn’t clear, my best advice is, go, get out in the flow of the world. Interact with people, go places, do things. The more you do, the more you’ll know, about what you like or don’t like. When you find something you do like, do more of it. Even if you totally suck at it. Do it till you don’t suck at it anymore, or until you find yourself bored with it. If you don’t love your career anymore, change it. If you’re in a bad relationship, fix it, or leave it. Travel. Make new friends. Yes, there are templates out there to follow, yes, there are people who will have expectations…but, this is your life. Simply try to hone in on the things that bring you joy, and when you find them, do more of that. Even choosing the “wrong” thing is better than spinning your wheels, getting ready to get ready. The time is going to pass whether you take action or not. But being in action, will open new doors, bring new realizations, and take you one step closer to figuring out the puzzle of your life. And that may well be the real purpose for us all.