There’s an old joke about asking kids in kindergarten what they want to be when they grow up. The punchline isn’t that the person asking actually cares what they want to be, they are simply looking for ideas! Isn’t that so true? How many of us are in our 30’s, 40’s or 50’s and still wonder what on earth are we doing here? It can be very frustrating and the questions are always nagging at you in the back of your mind.
“Am I wasting my life?”
“Is this all there is?”
“Why can’t I do what I love?”
It’s very easy to simply let life carry you along. We get caught up in finding a partner, getting a good job, raising kids, buying a home, making payments on our loans, looking after elderly parents, and before we know it we’re middle aged and we wonder where all the time went. We feel like there is a big hole in our soul where our purpose is supposed to be growing and thriving.
Go to any book store and look in the self-help section and you’ll see dozens of books on how to find your purpose in life, how to find the right job based on your skills and temperament and how to make your dreams come true. The big flaw with all of these books is that they are entirely self centered. We are lead to believe that we need to focus on what we want and on our desires. In the search for our meaning and purpose we are told that what we want is the number one priority.
I’d like to propose and entirely different perspective. Instead of looking inside and trying to think about what YOU want maybe a better plan is looking outward and deciding what you can GIVE. Rather than trying to build yourself up and be the perfect version of yourself, look at the world and determine how you can serve as you are. A flawed and struggling individual.
You don’t need to be perfect to give. You don’t need to know your life’s purpose, why you’re placed on this earth or what make you tick. Anyone can give. Whether you’re struggling with emotional issues, relationship issues or have other burdens you’re carrying, you can still give. Are you looking for your purpose in life? I can tell you what it is right now…..GIVE.
While life carries you along and you keep asking yourself, “what am I here for?“, take an hour out of your week and give it to someone. Volunteer at the Food Bank, play cards with the seniors at the rest home, help a non-profit apply for a grant, drive shut-ins to their appointments. Break out of the routine of your life and give.
When our lives wrap up people shouldn’t be impressed with how well you did your job or how nice your home was (if people are impressed with those things then they are not the opinions that should matter to you). What is the only thing you can leave behind when you die? A little part of yourself.
Do you want to spend the next 20 years trying to figure out what you’re good at, what’s the perfect job and how do you make a living doing something like that, or do you want to have a positive impact on this world and be a blessing to other people? I’m all for trying to do what you love. That only makes sense. The problem is that we spend so many years being completely focused on ourselves. It’s important to break that mind-set and focus outward.
I challenge you to put the pursuit of your personal dream on hold for a month. It’s not going anywhere so you don’t need to worry. Instead use a portion of that mental energy to look for ways to give. I have a feeling that the more you give the more clear your true purpose will become.