The purpose of life is a life of purpose. ~ Robert Byrne
Let’s start here, I have a very good life. I’m thankful for what I have, because even given all the work I’ve done to get where I am, no one gets by without help and at least a little luck. I’m relatively healthy, I have people that care about me and people I care about, even if there’s a bit of geography between us. I’ve accomplished many of the goals I’ve set forward that I wanted to achieve in life. I’ve got a job that pays me well, it provides very little personal satisfaction, but it pays well and in the end the work I do helps people improve their lives so the purpose of it all is fairly noble and that’s enough to get me through another few years to retirement.
What I’ve been realizing lately is that there are two things missing in my life, purpose and passion. Now, it’s not like I’m’ a complete nihilist, although the pandemic knocked me for a loop and left me a bit of a nihilist over the last few months, a condition I’m trying to reverse. But the bigger issue is a lack of purpose. This doesn’t mean I don’t have plans, I do. I have a pretty good path to retirement in a few years and some great plans for after.
And there are things I’m passionate about, I love photography and can happily spend hours shooting just about anywhere. My love for travel and new cultures is quite apparent to anyone who reads this blog regularly. But, like most of you, I have to eat and have a job that provides for me but doesn’t allow me to follow my passions. I do my best to pursue them when I can, and have done better than most in terms of quitting my job every few years and taking time to travel, sometimes for up to two years.
But the piece that is most missing for me is purpose. We all stumble across that existential existence question sooner or later. Why am I here, what has my life accomplished? For a lot of us we answer this question in the very existence of the species, by having and raising children we can fulfill this purpose. But for those of us who don’t have children, there isn’t such a straightforward answer.
So as I get older and start looking at the end of my life, how will I answer that existential question? I think for all of us, our interactions with people are part of our legacy. I would like to believe that for the most part, I’ve had a positive impact on the people I’ve interacted with in my life. I hope that the scales are tipped more in favor of the good I’ve done for people over the harm I’ve caused. We’ve all done a bit of both for sure. I especially hope that I’ve done more harm than good for my nieces and nephews.
What I feel most lacking right now is a purpose I can feel passionate about. For me, my work is work, not my purpose and not a passion. My photography, travel and writing are passions but not a purpose. So I’m on a bit of quest right now, it’s one that has seemed so immense, that it’s paralyzed me for a while. It’s one of those times I’m being forced to look back on the advice I give others while searching for a career path. And the first thing is to lay on a rock and let snowflakes fall on your head and let your mind go. Given the time of year however, I may have to refer to a bit of wisdom from Bloom County, and perhaps it’s far too long since I’ve been a naked dork, lying naked in the periwinkle with the sun upon my nose. Step 1 is set, I’ll keep you posted. ~ Rev Kane