A Life Without Purpose

Contrary to what you might have thought from my previous entries, I have no idea what I want to do with my life.

You know those workshops that are supposed to help you find a path, that have activities such as goal-setting. Where do you want to be in 6 months, a year, 5 years, 10 years? Honestly, I have no idea. I could probably sit down and figure something out, but I’d probably change my mind five minutes later.

life-in-ten-years

My goal for five years down the track: Be happy. Ok, they have a pill for that right? Seriously though, if you look at that goal, you might consider how to get it. First, I need enough money to live comfortably. What I mean by that is, to have my own money and be able to do the things I want. That’s not a lot if you think about it. I don’t need a nice car, or a house (although I would miss having a kitchen if I lived in a tent). I don’t need new clothes or shoes, I don’t need jewellery or fancy restaurants.

Second I would need to have good friends and know that they, and my family, are happy. Third, I would require good health, and lastly I would need a lifestyle where I am not, or where I do not feel, trapped. Maybe I’d also really like a fulfilling career, and possibly a family of my own.  Maybe I’ll keep that last thing for a bit later. Apparently people with my personality are the least likely to be happy in a relationship. It’s our tendency to believe in ‘happily ever after’, always wondering why our mates seem so determined to fall off the pedestal we put them on. I know I’ve certainly been guilty of it. By the second date you can count on me either planning the wedding and our entire future, or giving you the heave-ho if I don’t see one.

Yep, I’m a sucker for true love, even though logically I know it’s a fairy-tale. I’ve been doing a bit of research into Buddhism, trying to capitalize on some of their techniques for enlightenment. Two things really speak to me from what I’ve seen so far, that everyone experiences suffering and that the only constant is change. Now, you might say that these are pretty obvious, but I think that people too often are so wrapped up in their own lives, that they forget that other people have way more messed up lives than they do. Far fewer choices than they do.

I was walking along the river this morning, listening to a recording of ‘The Naked Buddha’ by Venerable Adrienne Howley, when I saw a whole bunch of kids on the playground, watched over by eagle-eyed parents. For a few moments I wanted to be one of those parents. I wanted a spouse, wanted children, wanted the instant bond that seems to arise between two mothers at a playground. I even wanted a dog. A cyclist passed me with the most beautiful dog I had ever seen, what I think was a husky, possibly crossed but still absolutely gorgeous. The track I was on was a loop so I was lucky enough to see it twice. When I thought about it some more though, it almost felt like there was a fist closing around my heart, and the feeling of being trapped came from there.

Even the thought of a dog makes me feel trapped, and I’m not one of those people that considers their dogs like children. In fact, people like that slightly scare me. Yes, I think that we should treat animals with respect and humanity, but at the same time we have to recognise that they aren’t humans. People feel safe ‘loving’ animals, especially dogs, because they can pretend they love them back, and the animal will never leave them, unlike humans who have a tendency to disappoint or leave. Don’t think that loving animals makes you a good person. Remember that Hitler loved animals and was even a vegetarian.

You might be, as I am, wondering how we got this far off-topic. To be fair, being judgemental is also part of my personality type and I’m working on it. Love everything, everyone, yourself and all that jazz right? Everything changes, and we have to make the right choices to get the changes we want. Sure, some things seem not to change. That friend of yours that’s still in that abusive relationship, you’re still stuck in the same boring job you had to take right after graduation, your mum is still after grandchildren even though you haven’t been in a relationship in two years (just kidding mum). Other change is sudden and most annoying, like a flat tyre when you’re alone at night and you forgot your phone at home.

There’s also that feeling of powerlessness you get when you can’t make a decision, when deadlines are forming all around you and all you want to do is curl up in bed and go to sleep, and wake up to find it was just all a bad dream. That in reality your life is perfect, you’re happy. There’s no project due tomorrow, you didn’t just break up with the one you love and you totally have enough money for next month’s rent and a quick trip to Fiji to get a few days on the beach.

My personality profile also says I’m artistic. Possibly with painting, drawing or other artistic endeavours, but typically our strength is in writing. Bet you guys totally did not see that one coming. I guess it’s interesting to note that the skill I have is linked to my personality type. See, like most people who are competent at something, I find it hard to understand why others aren’t. For me, writing is a talent I naturally have. I have done no study on it whatsoever, in fact I find it difficult to explain my own writing. It’s very different to the way I speak for example. When speaking I can’t think of what I want to say, and it’s a lot harder to go back and correct something.. the damage is done.

Writing is a much slower endeavour, especially since my prowess with the keyboard leaves much to be desired. You can delete whole paragraphs and nobody will ever know. Not that it really matters when speaking. Can you remember what you and your mum talked about 2 weeks ago? I can’t. Well, actually she was probably telling to get my head out of the sand and start acting like a responsible adult. In the nicest way possible of course.

The funniest thing is that when I came back here and wrote about the kids at the playground, I started thinking that it would be more fun to be one of them, somehow getting so much pleasure from sliding down a slide, and building sandcastles in the sand pit. Yet I can now have fun with my friends without having someone control my life for me. I can go wherever I like, do whatever I want to do, study whatever I like, eat and drink whatever and whenever and wherever I want. Guess what, the more choices I have, the more I want to curl up on my couch and watch re-runs of Criminal Minds (or whatever). Do I sometimes feel like punching myself in the face for this? Why yes, yes I do. That’s why I write these rambling blog posts. Because maybe by getting it all out there, I can finally figure out what I want to do. At least for the next few days though, you can find me on the couch. I have at least 4 more seasons to watch.