THE NEWEST THING TO FEEL BAD ABOUT
Have you figured out your life’s purpose yet? If you haven’t, does it fill you with angst and the thought that you’re wasting your life? If you do know your life’s purpose, how does it make you feel? Worried? Not enough? Like you’re slacking?
Either way, I can feel my solar plexus clenching for you, and for myself. You may feel like you’re frittering away your life by not figuring what you were put here to do. On the other hand, I believe I do know my life’s purpose. But, as I write those words, I’ll be 55 next month, and I feel like I’ve only just begun. How am I ever going to save the world?
DO WE REALLY NEED TO FIGURE IT OUT?
Apart from the great travel opportunities, I consider myself fortunate not to be in my early 20s today. There was a lot more leeway when I was growing up, expectations were smaller, and there didn’t seem to be the intense pressure of knowing what you wanted to do in your life right out of high school. It took me until my late 30s to figure out that writing was my thing, and until I was almost 50 to make it my life. I guess I’m a bit of a slow learner in that regard.
Some people are very fortunate and just seem to know what they want to do when they grow up. I guess in a way, I did too, because writing has been a constant in my life. But, I sure spent a lot of decades being afraid of writing, because I either didn’t believe I deserved to follow my passion or thought being a writer was a hobby, not a real job.
So, do we really need to figure out our life’s purpose at a young age? I’m not really sure how to answer this… the control freak in me that always wants to know everything says, “YES!” But what if you just go ahead and give yourself a gap decade? Just go with it, keep yourself open to the new, and see what happens. Scary, I know… but it could also lead to some pretty amazing life exploration and adventure.
Connecting with and living your purpose is a beautiful journey that unfolds in mysterious and surprising ways — typically while we’re simply living life.
OUR LIFE PURPOSE CAN CHANGE AS WE DO
I don’t know about you, but up until a few years ago, I didn’t even know I had a life’s purpose. When I was a teen I thought it was to get married and have babies. But that meant finding the right man to have babies with. Well, that didn’t happen until I was too old for birthing babies.
Like I said, knowing our life’s purpose is the newest thing to make us feel bad about ourselves.
When my mother died and I was called to the desert, my life took a major turn towards finding my life’s purpose, but I didn’t know it at the time. When I came back to Canada, I moved to the Northwest Territories and committed myself to being a writing for others. I’d always loved writing, and I’m pretty good at being a promotional copy/content writer, but it’s only been since I took a vow of authenticity, that I’ve drilled down and discovered what really makes me happy about writing:
Yes, I am a decent writer, but what really fills me up is helping others to remember that they are writers too. My passion, my life’s purpose right now, is to help others find their authentic voice — to help them connect to their hearts and live authentically. But I’m also open to finding my next purpose in life if it’s meant to be.
WHAT IF OUR LIFE’S PURPOSE WAS SIMPLY TO REMEMBER THAT WE’RE ALREADY PERFECT?
This is the tricky part… because from the moment we were born, we moved further and further away from what I believe is our true purpose — to be happy. We are conditioned to forget and instead are taught we’re not good enough, or that happiness comes with conditions like working really hard, meeting the right life partner or soulmate, or having a certain amount of money or notoriety. We’re encouraged to “succeed” at all cost, buy more stuff, and rise above others — even if that means stepping on them on our way up the ladder to success.
We don’t need outward riches, fame, or to strive for the next goal, when we have inward riches — living our lives according to what makes us happy — because that would mean we truly understand that we are already perfect just as we are.
HOW TO FIND YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE
One suggestion… get uncomfortable. I don’t mean to put your life in danger necessarily, but step way outside your comfort zone. When we do things that we haven’t done before, we’re forced to live in the moment. We’re present because we’re not on autopilot. So, if you’ve always wanted to sing, take lessons, or join a choral group. It doesn’t mean that you’ll become a recording artist with multi-platinum album sales, but if singing makes you happy, do that.
In the end, I believe that’s what our ultimate purpose is… to be happy and to live our lives with open hearts and a sense of childlike delight.
WRITE THIS: WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO DO SO MUCH YOU’D DO IT EVEN IF YOU DIDN’T GET PAID FOR IT?
Often our life’s purpose is tied to those things we do that we get lost in for hours. It’s that thing that lights up our life and makes us feel alive and fulfilled like nothing else can.
Your life’s purpose doesn’t have to be a career. The world is filled with people who work to support the passions. And that’s okay.
WRITE THIS: WHAT’S THE ONE THING?
What is the one thing you want to experience, or do, or accomplish, before you die, so that with your last breath on your last day on earth you have no regrets about finding your life’s purpose?
What is that thing, for you? It can simply be a thing. Why not? Want to live in India, like I do? Eradicate homelessness? Learn how to fly an airplane? Write a book?
Don't worry if you’ve been asking, but don't have an answer yet. Keep asking the question, and keep your eyes open for clues that will come your way. Because if you do, the answer will show up when the time is right.
Here’s a hint: it may be something that scares you, that you secretly hold back from doing because you’re afraid to fail at the one thing you want most to do. All the really good things make us feel this way…
In the meantime, just keep trying new things that take you out of your zone of competence. It’s the only way to stumble upon that one thing.
kathy mercure is a promotional storyteller and storytelling workshop teacher. She helps businesses and people to tell their stories. Writing From the Heart is a journey to unlocking, unblocking and healing your stories so that you can let go of the old, write new stories, and live the life you were meant to live.