In a few sentimental moments, my father has told me how he grew up with this “silly vision” of how he would meet his life partner. He was going to be 28 years old and cruising through the Greek Isles on a sailboat. In this fantasy, he would look to his right and there would be the woman he was going to marry (truth be told, he still has never been to Greece). Instead, he met my mom on a ski trip in Vermont when they were both 22 years old. That’s the same age that I am now. Both of them had expected that they would be much older when they met their life partner, but life rarely seems to mirror our expectations. Yet we hold onto them, hoping that the stories we tell ourselves will comfort and guide us as we navigate the unknown. But the great story of your life cannot be written before it has been lived.
Just this week on Twitter, I scrolled past a quote that read, “Life is about mission: You need one to live and to live productively.” It is human nature to search for meaning and invent explanations for things that we don’t understand. And yes, we all have our reasons for waking up in the morning. We have our dreams, goals, passions and we need them to propel us forward. But sometimes we fall prey to the insistent societal illusion that value only exists when it can be measured in dollars. When we put too much pressure on ourselves to figure it out before we’ve given ourselves the chance to live, we forget that there is inherent value in life itself — in having human experiences, in being here together, in relating to the world we share. Your life purpose could be as simple as, “I’m here to witness beauty.” Real and true value is defined as “the importance, worth, or usefulness of something” or “one’s judgment of what is important in life.” In essence, value is a personal measurement of anything that makes your life better. Joy, adventure or inspiration. Curiosity, love or even pain. If you gain something from it, then it is valuable.
Perhaps purpose is something that is revealed along the path of following our hearts. At the end of the day, the excitement of life is the journey of it. If the expectations you carry are too heavy to hold, lighten your load. Then choose for yourself. Only you can be who you are in this body, with that mind, with your heart and all of its passion. This is your life and you have the right to choose how you live it.