Community//

The problem of purpose

Sometimes you're not quite sure where you fit. You might ju

Sometimes, you're not sure where you fit. You may just be normal.
Sometimes, you're not sure where you fit. You may just be normal.

Nobody is born with a purpose. Some are handed one; if you have kids, you’re the parent – that’s your purpose. If someone in your family becomes ill or injured and you leave your job to look after them – that’s your purpose. Some have no choice; they are in situations where they need to hustle every single just to keep a roof over their head and some food on the table – they have no time to worry about purposes or life goals or happiness or any of that stuff.

When you start wondering what you’re doing here on this funny spaceship, it suggests you’re in a different situation. One of relative privilege, in that you have time to think about such things. In a way you’re lucky. But maybe not. It all depends how you see it and how it affects you.

You certainly have a purpose. Everyone does. Some people’s purpose is not as spectacular or newsworthy as others, but that doesn’t make it any less meaningful. Someone who chooses to devote her life to making a home for her children to grow up in has a purpose that’s at least as important as that of the best social justice advocate you can name.

You don’t see what purpose you serve. That’s a comment on your vision, not your life. Ask the people around you what they see in you. Seriously, ask them. “What do you see in me?” Just like that. Ask them to list three good things about you. Don’t do this on Facebook — do it in private. Ask as many people as you feel like. Collect their answers. This will be your first clue as to what purpose you serve right here right now.

This purpose will no doubt change or evolve with the passing years, just as you should. But whenever you find yourself stuck in a rut, not sure what the point of being alive is, do this exercise. Ask your friends to tell you what they see in you. It should help.

Go through life trying to be good and helpful to the people around you, and remember to be grateful for what you have. Your purpose may change, but it will always be there.

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