Finding Your Life’s Purpose Is Overrated

What is my life’s purpose?

What’s your life’s purpose?

After years of searching and coming up empty-handed, I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe “finding my life purpose” is highly overrated. I didn’t grow up knowing I wanted to be a doctor or an astronaut or actress or whatever kids want to be these days. In fact, I still don’t know what my life’s purpose is and that’s fine with me.

(If you’re someone who has found their life’s purpose – good! I’m happy for you. This post is for the rest of us).

I feel like in the last few decades a huge emphasis has been placed on finding what you were meant to do in life. And if you can’t find that one thing, you’ve somehow failed. But what if that ONE THING isn’t just ONE thing? What if for some people, their life’s purpose is made up of various purposes depending on the season in one’s life? Could it be possible that your life purpose was one thing in your twenties and another thing in your thirties? Could a messy divorce, tragedy, or painful experience overhaul your purpose in life?

What if your life’s purpose isn’t a grand, find the cure to cancer, your name in the history books, legacy? What if your life’s purpose is *just* to be a good mother so one day your children can achieve something great? Or being a good spouse so that your partner will achieve their life’s purpose? I’m willing to bet Abraham Lincoln’s mother probably didn’t sit around wondering what her life’s purpose was. She instilled a love of learning in him and set a foundation of virtue and humbleness, earning him the future moniker, Honest Abe. She died suddenly when he was 9-years-old. Lincoln’s stepmother later helped pick up where his “angel mother” had left off, encouraging education and nurturing him into the man he became.

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Abraham Lincoln

Did Nancy Lincoln know that she had given birth to the future greatest president in U.S. history? Did Sarah Bush Johnston, Lincoln’s stepmother, know that she was raising “The Great Emancipator?”

So many people waste their entire lives searching and searching for this elusive “life’s purpose,” and totally missing out on life. I know this because I did it for a while, feeling like a total loser because I could never figure it out. I would wonder if I was the only person in life without a purpose. Until one day I decided that instead of spending time trying to find my life’s purpose, I would just do stuff. So I did. I thought it would be cool to try running. So I started running. I thought it would be kind of fun to start drawing, so I grabbed a notebook and some colored pencils. I thought it would be interesting to get a group of women together to support each other at all stages after divorce. Are any of these my life’s purpose? Who knows? Who cares?

[RELATED POST: Do What You Love and Other Ambiguous Inspirational Statements]

I know that one of my purposes in life is to raise an independent functioning adult who contributes to the world around her. Other than that, I’m just trying stuff out. If I find it interesting, I’ll explore it. If it sticks, it sticks. If that means taking a moment out of my day to give some advice to a struggling friend or join Toastmasters and giving an inspiring speech, if I find it interesting, I’ll do it. My life’s purpose might be a few moments and touch one life or it could last a lifetime and touch many.The point is, I’m not placing my life’s purpose in a box. It’s free to roam and explore at will.

Image by Anthony Thurston

It’s cliche, but LIFE IS SHORT. The other day I was thinking about how my grandmother passed away when she was 59 years old. That’s so young. I’ll be 40 this year. I plan on sticking around for a while but life’s not guaranteed. I could only have 19 more years left, or I could have 50 more, who knows. All I know is my life’s purpose is to live life, love people, collect experiences, and make sure I don’t waste too many moments trying to figure sh*t out.

So, are you searching for your life purpose?

Finding your life purpose may be overrated. Maybe your life’s purpose is to DO something right now. Maybe your life’s purpose is to BE someone right now. Maybe your life’s purpose is to LIVE LIFE.

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