It’s Nigel P. Jenkins, and the “P” is for “Purpose”
Existential dread. I know you feel it too.
It’s what keeps you scrolling through your search feed on Instagram as you lay in bed at night. It’s the nagging voice in the back of you mind asking, “What next?” It’s the ache in your gut when you imagine yourself ten years in the future, and maybe nothing has changed; nothing is better.
I haven’t found my purpose yet. I can’t help you find yours. What I can tell you is that most people are just as lost as you are. Even the ones you look to as sign posts or guiding lights, who seem to have it figured out — they don’t.
Because your “purpose” changes over your lifetime. It changes as often as you do.
My purpose in high school was to get good grades, win volleyball games, and sing songs about the girls I had crushes on at open mics.
In university it was to get a degree that might land me a job some day. After university, it was to get that job.
Now, I’m not sure.
I’ve been self-employed for almost three years, and I love what I do. I have the freedom to come and go as a I please. I’ve travelled all over the world, and I work with some amazing people. But is this my purpose?
I work around the things I love: music, performance, creativity. I help others build toward their dreams, and make careers for themselves. I get to meet new and exciting people year-round at conferences and festivals, and most importantly, I’m steering the ship.
But is this my purpose? I don’t know.
I think that trying to find the one thing you are meant for might be misguided. Maybe it’s like everything else in life, and your best bet is to get 80 or 90 percent of the way there and be satisfied. It is always better to do than to wait, especially if what you’re waiting for is some sign that you have found “it.”
I don’t think “it” exists. I think there will be sacrifices and compromises in anything you choose to do with your time. So, the challenge becomes striking the best possible balance.
Are you happy?
Does your work inspire and excite you?
If anything was possible, would you be doing exactly what you’re doing right now?
If you answered “no” to any of the above, get out. If you’re lucky, you’ll make it to 70 or 80 years old. The first 20 years of your life are a warm-up, so that leaves you with 50 or 60 years to get the most out of this infinitely confusing, and dreadfully beautiful experience.
The odds of you ever having been born are 1 in 10^2,685,000. If you are alive and reading this, you won the lottery. Don’t waste this golden opportunity to do whatever the fuck it is you want to do.