Read about my experience hiking at the Ounasvaara Hill in Rovaniemi, Finland.
Life purpose. What is my life’s purpose? Ah, the question that deludes us all.
I’ve always been curious, anxious, and eager to uncover life’s purpose – MY life’s purpose. Even as a child, I itched to do something to get my hands dirty. I wanted to make a difference. I went through a severe burnout last year, which led to me quitting my job (and having to find another one, harsh reality!). Then I hit upon the idea that I am living my life’s purpose simply by existing. Drawing and storytelling is part of my life: just like brushing my teeth is. It’s not a separate goal that I seek to chase. It’s not something I fear losing. Being who I am means that I will never stop creating in some form: by playing music, writing stories, drawing comics. By being who I am, I am fulfilling my life’s purpose.
Everything we do is motivated by some kind of external validation. But wouldn’t it be amazing if we lived our life’s purpose every day by embedding it into our core being? Imagine living life without the constant stress of having to find a purpose… because whatever you’re doing right now is your purpose. It could be working in a 9-5 job, having a side-hustle, working with a charity, quitting a job and experimenting with different things, or just being mostly harmless. “My life’s purpose is to be mostly harmless.” Surely that’s not a bad thing!
I was always searching, seeking, desperate to find something to throw myself into. I wanted an all-consuming purpose, a mission. But now I know that I’m doing exactly what I was meant to be doing. By living my life’s purpose, I defeat feelings of inadequacy. I fight the fear of loss, because I have something that can’t be taken away from me. It’s an incredibly empowering realization.
And we all know that at the end of it all life is pretty much meaningless anyway. We have unlimited freedom to create our own meaning and create the life we want. Finding a life purpose can be as simple or as complicated as we define it to be.
I’m always amazed by how a familiar (or unfamiliar) song can make me feel right at home. I seem to constantly find myself in music: an upbeat song playing in an auto-rickshaw in India, jazz melodies in a fancy restaurant in London, the quiet strumming of a lone busker, the cacophony of a pub at night. Sometimes I stop in the middle of a street to listen to music I can hear being played in the market or in a cafe, and I feel so full, it’s almost like fishing myself out of a sea of unknowns and giving myself an identity.
I’ve always made a conscious choice to not be in the rat race, and I’ve found that not chasing money gives you other luxuries. I realize what a privilege it is to be in this position: to be able to decline power and money, and choose the freedom that time and mindspace offers. Over the last 13 years, I’ve balanced a full-time job (source of income) along with my side hustle (my labour of love!). I’ve consciously picked jobs that have made me feel satisfied, worthy, and fulfilled, rather than just adding to my bank balance. Would I have been as happy had I chased bigger paychecks? There’s no way to know for sure. But having had the choice to say no has been incredibly rewarding.