Tourists vs Mercenaries

A bitter guide to finding your purpose. (Hint. You probably don’t have one)

I approach 39 years of age. A weird number, not old, not young. If you’ve ever slipped and fell, it’s that point in the fall where you’re still relatively upright, but are totally aware that you are falling, and all you can do is to brace for a crash to the floor. 39, is that point. You’re young, but acutely aware of your age and the rest of your life.

Am I too young to have it? I believe the answer is subjective. It’s the point where a person becomes aware that they don’t have all the time in the world. And that their time may be ending. My closest friend, had a mid-life crisis at the age of 20 after a heady philosophical discussion around mortality. He’s still suffering from it. It impacts every decision he makes.

I mocked him before, I seek him out today.

Now that I’ve self-diagnosed myself with Mid-Life crisis (Google is a wonderful GP), the question of purpose haunts me. What is my life about? What have I accomplished?. What will I leave behind? and the worst and the most ambiguous of them all…

Why am I here? …

Am I supposed to be doing something, like a mission? Or am I just a tourist here to “experience” life.

You and I both have probably read arguments for both. Self-Help gurus extoll us to rise and fulfill our potentials, and Self-Fulfilled gurus extoll us to enjoy the moment and experience life.

So which is it? Why won’t this nagging sensation, that I’m running out of time end?

Running out of time…To do what?

I can feel multiple chains of thoughts forming. This question is not a chain, it’s going to be a spider web. And it won’t culminate inside a single article. This has the potential to spin off multiple posts.

But I do want to leave you with a question. Suppose, you can be only one of the two possibilities. Either you’re a tourist, or you’re a missionary.

What if you’re a tourist, …just a tourist?
What if you’re a missionary?

Which statement resonates with you most? Where do you find relief? Where do you find anxiety?



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