“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.”
Are we supposed to have one single purpose in life? Does everyone have one mission at their core that drives their days and activities? As I’ve made the transition from student to post-graduate life, I’ve found myself questioning my “purpose” more and more. Of course I am curious in finding it for myself, but I also have felt pressured to find it and hold on to it for dear life.
One day this past year I was pretty sure that I was experiencing a quarter life crisis. As I was graduating my masters program and moving abroad my identity was changing. I was no longer a student, a barista, or a crisis worker – I was a girl living in another country and finding her way. I had spent many years so dedicated to my studies and to multiple jobs that I was passionate about, that when I stepped away from that lifestyle I found myself a bit lost in how I could possible define what I really wanted. Or better put, what my professional identity was.
Here is something that societal expectations drove into my brain: I assumed that professional identity and purpose were synonymous. Does my purpose in life have to be my job? Heck no. But it sure would be convenient if something I was passionate about could drive my life’s work. I am proud to live a life of passion, but I also find myself swimming in a sea of passions. There are so many things that I care about, but i also recognize that if I don’t pick one and devote appropriate time and energy I can’t possibly contribute the impact that I would like to. Is this a bad thing, having too many passions? I’m still not sure.
I also feel as though that by trying to pursue too many passions, I have held myself back from realizing my potential. In stretching myself too thin (a game I know all too well), I’ve gotten lost in the sea of purpose. I find myself wondering why do I feel the need to do all of these things? Is it simply excitement and a desire to contribute? Or is it a fear to not be doing something? Heck if I know the answer at this point in my life.
What I do know is that this pressure to find a “purpose” is something I feel insecure about, and potentially that pressure is a societal expectation for the millennial generation. I prefer to say that my impatience to find my purpose is just me being curious or having high standards for myself. Speaking truthfully, I don’t care what others think about my life path (hence previous blog posts), but I do have lofty expectations/goals for what I want to accomplish in my life.
To be totally and completely cheesy, it is the journey, not the destination, that matters in life, right? Some days I am in a rush to find my place. Other days, not so much. When I am not in a rush is when I can totally enjoy the moments that this amazing life has gifted me, especially in the last year. I may not know my purpose quite yet, but I surely do enjoy taking life day by day, learning about myself, sharing an unconditional love, and adventuring as much as possible.
If there is one thing I can dream for my “purpose” in life, it is that each day I can contribute to betterment – of myself, of another, of a community, or maybe something larger. For now, I hope to enjoy each day as much as possible, and take the rest from there.