Ever wondered that?
Women especially tend to ponder the question (or as my friends say about me, obsess!). Men, not so much. Men are after all simpler beings. Don’t throw tomatoes at me for that sentiment! That’s from pretty much all therapists’ theories about the differences in makeup between men and women. But as women wear more and more hats, often the thing that brings core meaning to their lives gets lost.
Of course the great Viktor Frankl asked that very question in Man’s Search for Meaning, which I love, love, love. But that’s a bit serious for me right at this second.
I have to confess though, as my “day job” took more and more of my time, cutting deeper and deeper into my writing world, I often would wake up wondering about my purpose. And though I absolutely love helping writers realize their dreams, one day I realized that my own were teetering precariously above an abyss.
Okay, so that may be a bit dramatic (and yes, the idea of me and drama shocks those who know me:).
But anyway, the less I wrote, the crazier I became. And the more flattened out. The drier. Life lost its passion. It’s luster. And I started feeling old! Old! How could that be? I’m still the baby of the family. That’s one of those wonderful things—I’ll always be the baby of the family.
But again, I digress (my friends are hooting here).
What exactly is purpose of life?
The thing is, I, like you, am good at many things. I often say that if I had another life to lead, I’d be an investigative journalist (one of those things I did in an earlier incarnation in this life). Or, I’d run race horses (ditto). I loved those things. I was good at those things. But they didn’t drive my passion.
You know that feeling. Women speak to me about it almost every day. Knowing, inherently that there’s gotta be something more. The “is this all there is?” feeling. In today’s world of nanosecond pace, of paying the piper, of always being connected, of, well, all the insanity we call living, without attending to that small still voice of “purpose,” at the end of the day we wonder what it was all for.
And I know mine. I’ve known it since I was a little girl. That thing that puts zing in my step and blood rushing through my veins and a smile on face is writing stories. I was actually somewhat famous as an elementary-school child for my poetry (they generously neglected to tell me how awful it was!). The oft-repeated one still: “Knights were bold, even when it was cold.” I never said you had to be good at that thing that drives you
But oddly enough, if you pursue and practice your passion—whatever it is—not only do you sing and smile more often, but you get better and better at it too.
Once I started having that “is that all there is” feeling, I knew exactly what I had to do. So I started on a plan to write more, and edit less. I’ll always edit, some. But over the last few years, I set that goal in motion, with a plan. And I’m working that plan.
In fact, I gave myself the entire month of July off (as a birthday present) to finish my new novel (the wine one I’ve been talking about for a while). Oh, my! Was that just heaven. And nothing allows a writer to deepen a work like being immersed in it.
So what is it you love that you’re pushing aside? What floats that boat of yours (even if the bindings feel old)?
That thing. Focus on that thing. It brings happiness along with a reason for living, rather than just existing.
Dr. Frankl did of course focus on purpose of life, and how that brought happiness. And he nailed it with, “. . . a human being is not one in pursuit of happiness but rather in search of a reason to become happy . . .”
What pursuit makes you happy?