At the beginning of the year, I was having constant anxiety about what my purpose in life should be. I felt like I needed to keep moving forward—like I needed to do more.
I was researching grad school programs, looking into continuing education, and comparing myself to everyone I knew following the “traditional” route in life. I had this idea that I needed to fit a certain mold to be successful.
Then, something happened that changed my perspective completely. And I’ve never felt more peace in my entire life.
1) I finally admitted to myself that I was seeking higher education and a more “distinguished” career mostly to impress other people. I pictured others “oohing” and “ahhing” at what I was doing. That was the part that got me most excited.
“What helped me was absurdism—the idea that I’m not special. And that is amazing. It’s amazing for so many reasons.
When it comes to your purpose: when you get to define it, that means it doesn’t have to live up to something big. If it’s just helping somebody, being a good neighbor, or being a good friend, then when you go home you get to go, “you know what? I’m fulfilling that purpose.” And that’s amazing.
In a thousand years, the idea that any of us are going to be remembered is laughable—and that’s okay. Because that means we get to focus on us and the people around us and the people we love and remind them that.
And if there’s a time when we’re not gonna be around, then we better make sure that right now we’re telling them that we love them.
And that’s more than okay. That is the best.”
Every time I re-read or re-listen to this, it brings me such a sense of calm.
We Can Choose How We Want Our Lives to Look
This above quote made me start thinking about what I really want out of my life. Not what I think is expected of me. Not what I think will make me tons of money. And not what will look “picture perfect” to friends, family, or strangers online.
It’s like I woke up to the fact that I could actually choose my life’s purpose. And you can, too.
What a crazy yet should-be-obvious concept, right? We can choose our own purpose or destiny—or whatever you want to call it.
We can decide what “success” or “getting ahead” looks like based on our own core values and what’s important to us—not based on what others think we should prioritize.
I love helping others, being there to listen when they are having trouble in any area of life. I like to help them find solutions—if that’s what they’re looking for—and make their day a little brighter.
I used to think the fact that it’s important for me to help others meant I must pursue a traditional career that did that.
But the thought of a therapist or coach role, while extremely admirable and amazing, left me with a lot of anxiety. I just don’t think it’s for me, at least not at this point in my life. Right now, it’s not a good focus for my own mental health and happiness.
What I can do is be there for the loved ones already in my life. I can be available to listen and provide support in my own home and my small circle of friends and family.
If I pursued a career as a therapist, knowing myself, I would be less emotionally available to those who I care about most.
Then, I came to the realization that, if I don’t want to, I don’t need to fit the traditional mold in any areas of my life.You Can Choose Your Life's Purpose Click To Tweet
I discovered that I’m actually really happy with the job I have now. And the stuff I do on the side (such as this website) brings me joy as it is.
I used to think I needed to live for the hustle, that I always needed to be pursuing something higher than myself. But I’ve discovered I kinda hate the hustle.
(And some people love it, and that’s awesome for them!)
Slowness, connection, minimalism, creativity, and room to breathe are more important to me. And, at this point, that’s how I plan to live my life.
For me, life feels good when I am:
- Doing less rather than more. Getting comfortable with “doing nothing” drastically reduces my anxiety.
- Accepting that I don’t need to do or be it all. What’s the point if I am missing out on the life right in front of me?
- Focusing on relationships with those most important to me over building an online following. I have stopped putting pressure on myself to post on social media often. For me, it’s not worth the stress.
- Living in the middle rather than in extremes. For example, doing exercise I enjoy and eating vegetables while also having dessert often. Not trying to achieve chiseled abs or stressing about eating perfectly.
- Working smarter rather than harder. I am not happy climbing up the job ladder or having my laptop open on vacation. I’m currently content with regular work at something I’m good at. Most importantly, I’m able to unplug and be done at the end of the day.
Maybe your definition of what feels good in life is different than mine. It probably is, since, after all, we are different people.
My “purpose” might even change a lot in future years, and that’s okay too. There is no one formula of life that works for everyone or for every situation.
Here’s what I think is most vital: to know and understand ourselves so we can figure out what’s most important to us. We can decide what we want our life’s purpose to be and how we want our life to look.
The main point of this post is to remind you to think about what truly brings you peace. What makes you happy? What kind of life feels good to you?
If other people’s opinions did not exist and there was no ideal view of what life should be, what would yours look like?
You can choose what matters to you most. I know it’s not easy, or even feasible, for everyone to live exactly as they’d like to. But I believe this simple realization could be a gamechanger for many people. It certainly was for me.
Life is hard, but my heart and mind are less chaotic when I’m turning towards what truly matters to me. Overall, that means what brings me peace and happiness. I wish you the same.
What sort of life brings you the most contentment?