Life Chat: Finding Your Purpose

A few nights ago, my suitemates and I found ourselves discussing the meaning of life. Interestingly enough, we all have very different ideas when it comes to explaining life’s purpose. One of us is set on the idea that every person has a set purpose and destiny in life while another is quite religious and believes in a higher presence, like God. Another firmly believes that life is just a cruel joke and that we are placed in our lives as a mistake or for no reason at all.

Despite our different ideas, this conversation brings an important message to my mind that I think a lot of people need to hear. I know that life is confusing and that it can be scary to think about, especially when contemplated too much. The fact of the matter is that we may never have the answers to anything beyond what is right in front of us, and we need to accept that. We can dream and imagine what comes after our existence but fearing it is only going to make the present unbearable.  

There’s a specific quote that I like to remember during times like these. It comes from the Japanese animated series, Fruits Basket, based on the manga by Natsuski Takaya. The main protagonist, Tohru Honda, says, “Because... because, in reality, there aren't any people who are born with reasons to live. I think that... that everyone has to find their reason to live. A reason to live.” This quote resonated with me as soon as I heard it.

If we don’t believe that we were born with a purpose, then I think that our lives become much easier. We don’t have to meet some invisible expectations. If we believe that we are in control of creating our own purposes, then the world is our oyster. The best part is that you don’t have to do anything. You can just do what you want to do and make that your purpose. You can love someone and make them one of your reasons for living, or you can practice a hobby and make it your destiny. You can dabble in a bunch of things and make them all a part of your purpose. I think that when the time comes, and you have done the things that you want, you won’t regret as much in the end.  

With that in mind, life seems more like an opportunity than a challenge. You have an opportunity to shape your life to fit your needs and desires based on your interests and morals. Your expectations are your own and no one else's. That isn’t to say that you can’t practice a religion. Perhaps your purpose is shaped by that religion, just as it may be shaped by your family or loved ones as well as your idea of what life is for. Maybe it's to give back to others, or maybe it's to make experiences. Just remember that your life is your own and that you are going to be the one looking back on it when you are older.

“I don’t think anyone is born to with a reason to live,” Tohru explains. “It’s just something you have to find for yourself.”  The thought eases the tension in my shoulders. If my purpose is something that I can find for myself, and I can take as much time as I need to do so, then I can relax a little. I can even change my purpose whenever I want. At the end of the day, if I just keep on living, my purpose might reveal itself on its own because I will have lived as I pleased.