I have good news: Life is meaningless and then you die.
There will be moments where you feel you have discovered your purpose and feel important-even special. There will be moments when life feels so long you just want to lay down and let go. Both are part of this long schlog to no particular finish line.
We are not special. We were not “put here” to do a particular thing.
And here is the very good news: You have permission to do want you want. Here’s the even better news: for most people that means being healthy, happy and helpful.
Almost no one when given the chance to do what they actually want prefers to be a selfish jerk. That’s reserved for trapped people who are not happy.
Do as you wish, make yourself happy, create your own meaning. You have no God given authority or specialness and no debt to repay. You are alive–so do that–live and be happy. Not all the time because that would be boring and shallow–but be happy as much as you can.
Then we get to the hours of study, the volumes of self help books and psychology 101 classes, the years spent in devotion on a church pew or meditation hall to answer the question of how one becomes happy.
I have the answer. You ready?
Be brave, be bold and do what you actually want to do. Don’t make up excuses about duty or obligation or some set of rules which you claim confine you when you are just afraid. Just like me. I sat at a desk for three extra years hunkered down loathing myself out of terror.
Don’t get me wrong-you will make sacrifices for this freedom and happiness. You won’t have the piles of stuff, you may not buy new things, replace your technology every year, live in a giant house or have the kind of job that makes someone else think your cool. In exchange you’ll have just what you need, you won’t throw things away to sit in a garbage dump in someone’s country which doesn’t belong to you and instead of having a job someone thinks sounds cool, you’ll do work you think is cool.
With your extra time of not hanging around pretending to be busy for 9 hours per day doing nonsense that not even your boss cares about, you’ll be able to actually be of service to another person. You will find yourself feeding hungry people, holding babies and cleaning up the environment. You will have less stress because you will be running and hiking and swimming. You will be fit, so caring your older neighbors groceries in the house and staying for tea will be easy and enjoyable. You will stop and actually look and listen to people and discover that unvarnished reality is so much better than you imagined.
You will teach whenever you can, you will nurture relationships, you will stop and smell the flowers and notice the bees on them. You will discover you’re funny and the best part of your day will be doing someone else a favor. You will have time and energy and gratitude.
If you are inspired by a person who broke free and is living the kind of life you want–then go have that life. Be willing to spend the sleepless nights and work a little harder, be willing to hustle up the extra work when all you have is one nice suit and some confidence. Challenge yourself.
Whatever that thing is that you’ve been wanting to do–do it. Be kind, respectful, responsible and humble. Challenge your assumptions and treat your ideas like strangers–question them early and often. If you are supporting a family and think you need a lot of money to support them–make sure that’s what they also want. Children do not need a back yard pool, they need a happy, engaged parent.
So get out there and jump into this beautiful, unwieldy and uncontrollable life and love it up until it’s gone. Love everyone around you and love yourself.
If you’re scared. It’s okay. We all are. We’re all hanging by a thread and hoping. Sometimes it just feels better to let go of that thread and fall into reality.