Monday, September 6, 2010

A Life Without Purpose

Over the years I have sought for the reason to my existence and have yet to find a satisfactory answer. I would hope that I am not living this life just because my mother and father got frisky one night (God! What a vision!), but more and more I get the feeling that is the simple truth of it.

It appears that destiny did not create me to play a vital role in the unfolding of the universe.

Many motivational and self-help authors implore us to discover our purpose in life. Joel Osteen even titled his book, "The Purpose Driven Life." The belief is that without knowing your purpose to outline your overall goals in life it becomes more difficult to make the decisions that lead you closer to achieving those goals and satisfaction. I am forced to agree that not knowing your goals makes it harder to be successful with them.

I recently read in an article that we all have a purpose in life even if we don't know what that purpose is. It asked the question, "What makes you get up every morning and do what you do? Is that your purpose?" God, I hope not!
I get up every day so I can pay the bills on a house I don't really like because my wife loves it and I do not wish to let her down. I go to work every day not because I feel like a valued member of a team at a job where I make a difference, but rather because my absence may endanger my friends at work (Wow...what an ego I have.)

The book, " Do It, Lets Get Off Our Buts" by John-Roger and Peter McWilliams suggests that you discover your purpose in life by making a list of your positive qualities and actions that you find nuturing, positive, and satisfying. By shuffling the lists (preferrably on 3x5 index cards) a pattern may emerge or some combination may resonate with you and be your purpose in life.
My question is why stick to the positive qualities and actions? We have all met negative and/or toxic personalities in our lives and workplaces. I am sure there are those individuals that are driven by malice (makes me think of a mean girl named Alice), greed, or fear. Those life purposes can't be positive.

When creating my lists I was not shy about the possibility that my life purpose may be negative so I also included those qualities. Here are some of my possible life purposes:

I am a(n)...
  • Apathetic sleeper
  • Laconic writer
  • Lethargic eater
  • Sporadic slacker

There were a few postive combinations, but none resonated with me so I began to wonder about the possibility that not all of us have a purpose to our lives. What then? I help drive the corporate machine by paying my bills and being a consumer. Maybe those of us without a purpose in life are needed by society.

Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage." If I were to stay with that theme...I suggest that perhaps I am a supporting cast member to someone else's purpose in life. Maybe my purpose in life is to live in mediocrity and join a supporting cast of millions for the great people of the world like Barack Obama, George W. Bush, or Anna Nicole Smith. In a more personal setting maybe I am here to demonstrate contrast for the teacher I work with and her passon for teaching those with Autism or for my wife's love of learning (currently finishing her Masters).

The saying goes, "There are no small parts, only small actors." Maybe its ok to be a small actor, of course it takes some painful resignation to realize that destiny does not need you to help the universe move towards it's ultimate goal. We aren't all special no matter what our politically correct world wants you to think. Alan Jackson sings, "It's alright being little bitty in a little hometown or a big ol' city."

In muddling through life I have learned that not every one is a positive person and many of us do not have a purpose to drive us on. While it is not what we may have dreamed for ourselves it is none-the-less our reality.

1 comment:

  1. I should foolow this post up with the story that today as I stood in the hall reminding students to wear their IDs a stunningly beautiful, young girl walked to me and questionly stated my name. I replied with "Yes."
    She continued "Do you remember me? You worked at my elementary school." We spoke for a few moments and did a little catching up, she is now a Junior and her little sisters (who I also worked with) are doing well. It was good to see her healthy and happy.

    Does this mean my life has purpose? I can't say, but I will say that today was a good day.