In the words of one of my favorite bands, Envy On The Coast: “No, I’m not afraid, at least not to die. I’m afraid to live and not remember why.”
EOTC couldn’t have put it any better. And, quite frankly, that verse from their song “Lapse” has become a phrase I’ve learned to live by.
We all know that life has its purpose.
Some of us find that purpose a lot sooner than others and it’s a damn shame that others may go their whole lives not knowing what that purpose was.
I’m convinced that the only thing standing between us and our purpose in life is ourselves. We stand as our own ironic distraction to our own happiness.
Too many of us are afraid of the inevitable, of the obstacles that get in the way of finding our purpose. Sometimes, we get so distracted by letdowns and setbacks that we forget an obstacle never means the end of the world. It might just mean a different world where we start seeing things differently – and that’s okay. Change is constant; change is good. Like obstacles, change is inevitable. So is death, and we can’t be afraid of that.
I don’t think we should be afraid of anything, but if we were afraid of something it should be living our whole lives not knowing that life’s worth living. And we can only know that life is worth living when we find our purpose – when we realize exactly what it is that keeps us waking up every morning.
This thing I call purpose changes. What made our lives worth living at the age of 2, 10 or 20 years old will be different from the thing that makes life worth living when we’re 40, 60 or even 80 years old. For example, when we’re toddlers, everything makes our day: playing with a toy truck; blowing a dandelion; speeding down a slide. When we’re that young, it’s hard not to find something that fascinates us. It might just be that the world is a large place that we’re progressively discovering and the route of discovery is a child’s purpose.
As we grow older, unfortunately, our world seems to shrink. Things that once amused us don’t anymore. Some of us, in a sense, become jaded along the way. Others start finding purpose in other things. Maybe it’s something we love to do like playing the guitar, playing soccer or even going to school. We stick with that thing we love, and for a while it becomes our purpose, too.
This purpose keeps changing. One day it can be getting into our dream school or making the winning goal in a soccer game, and other days it could be seeing the smile on our niece’s face. One day it will be seeing the smile on a newborn’s face or our future wife or husband. Our purpose changes, and it’s supposed to.
The truth is that life is filled with exciting chapters that we should be excited to write. We should be grateful to even be able to turn that page.
My point is that we can’t go our whole lives pretending to be happy. We have to find happiness in whatever makes us… happy. Some people seem to complicate happiness and try to force it. But, you can’t do that, either.
Those 17 little words from EOTC could mean 17 different things to 17 different people. But, to me, they mean one thing. They mean that you can’t live your life on autopilot. You should always be doing something you love, and if you’re not, then change it. The only person standing between you the thing you love is you.
Change is inevitable, but we can control it.