I wish I could sit here and tell you with all certainty that if you do “this”, you’ll be happy. I wish I could predict what it was that you were meant to do so that you could do it and fulfill your life’s purpose. I wish also that I could do it for myself, but I’m sadly not a seeress and I can’t do either of those things.
A lot of people spend a lot of time trying to find what they were meant to do. The fact that us human beings don’t even know why we were put on earth or what we’re supposed to be doing while we’re here only makes it harder–with no real guidance, no real rules on how to spend your life, how do you know you’re doing it right?
You don’t, of course.
But happiness, that feeling of certainty that life is good, was probably designed to be our hint. As if every time we’re happy, it’s the universe rewarding us for doing exactly what we were meant to do. Which would make it seem simpler, then, because you could assume that the thing you’re supposed to do is the thing that makes you happiest.
If you look at heroes, however–the ones who were chosen or prophesied to complete a certain task–the purpose that they fight to fulfill is often arduous, painful, sorrowful, and the very opposite of happiness. Sometimes it results in happiness, like a rescued friend or a safe world, but other times it ends in more sadness and pain. So even though heroes may do the one thing that is their fated purpose in life, it might not bring them happiness after all.
You could even look at artists, or writers, or activists, or builders, or designers, or anyone who does something they feel they were meant to do. A lot of the time, they’re not happy. The stress of deadlines, the self-doubt, the disappointment, the rejection–it leads to some of the worst misery you could ever feel. But yet it’s what they were meant to do.
How do we know, then, what our purpose is, if we can’t always rely on happiness to tell us? How can we intuitively feel that we’re on the right path when we’re plagued by doubt and anxiety? How do I know that I was meant to be a writer?
Probably because it’s something I can’t live without doing.
If I didn’t have words to write, I’d go mad. If dancers didn’t have the ability to move, or musicians didn’t have notes to play, they’d go mad too. Even though the things we do make us angry, and make us cry, and make us want to smash holes in the drywall because we can’t take it anymore!, they’re things we can’t stop doing. They might not give us immediate happiness, but they hold the promise of happiness to come.
Heroes don’t always get to pick the quests they go on. They might sometimes be thrust the proverbial torch and told to head south till they drop off the edge of the earth and that’s not always an appealing adventure–especially not when there are monsters and traps and villains along the way. But any hero who was meant to go on that quest will see it through to the end, no matter how miserable they get, not because the quest brings them happiness, but because it holds the promise of happiness to come.
It’s difficult, to know what you were meant to do in your life, and sometimes it’s hard to be happy with yourself and your accomplishments. But as long as there exists a promise, there exists a purpose.
And don’t worry–your destiny will come to you, whether you seek it out or not.
Do you know what you’re meant to do?
May you find a purpose to light your days and bring eventual happiness.